On Day 2 of padded practices at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, the Pittsburgh Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin found themselves dealing with quite a few post-whistle skirmishes Tuesday on Chuck Noll Field.
After a chippy close to the first week of camp featuring some roster bubble guys, Monday and Tuesday in Latrobe featured some more prominent players going at it after the whistle, especially on Tuesday as guys like T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward found themselves in post-whistle fisticuffs with the likes of Calvin Austin III and Benny Snell Jr., while rookie DeMarvin Leal and veteran John Leglue went at it in the trenches.
Still, despite a practice filled with chippy moments, the Steelers still put some good work in on the field, getting a chance to grow and improve with the pads on for a second straight day, which Tomlin praised during his post-practice media session, according to video via Steelers.com.
“Man, I was really pleased with the day’s work. I thought the competition, the level of urgency was improved,” Tomlin said to reporters following practice, according to video via Steelers.com. “And I think that’s just a natural thing, man. Second day in pads and guys, particularly the new guys, are getting accustomed to the things that we do culturally, and in the nature in which we compete under those conditions. So, really exciting. There’s gonna be a lot to learn from on this tape.”
The first day of pads for any team at any level can be a bit overwhelming overall, especially trying to get back into the flow of things and competing at the highest level rep by rep after months without pads on and crashing into other players at full speed. On the second day though, that tempo and overall familiarity with fully padded practices often comes back for everyone, which leads to much more productive days overall.
That was the case for the Steelers on Tuesday, but obviously also brought some tempers into the mix, which isn’t a surprise. Though you’d like to see some of that chippiness disappear quickly, especially in key padded practices where the fights really only waste time and are unproductive, it’s good that the Steelers are showing some urgency across the board early, itching to get after it when the games really matter, rather than battling each other day after day.
We’ll see what Day 3 and beyond brings for the Steelers in full pads. So far, so good for the black and gold in Tomlin’s eyes.