Training Camp

Steelers’ 2022 Training Camp Diary: Day 16

One last lap around the Saint Vincent track. Today marked the final practice of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 training camp. Let’s talk about what happened on Day #16 of public practices.

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Camp Notes (Day 16)

– Injury Report: Not practicing today included: WR Calvin Austin III (foot), CB Arthur Maulet (hamstring), NT Montravius Adams (ankle), EDGE Alex Highsmith (ribs) and DL Larry Ogunjobi (undisclosed). Overall, a fairly short list for the last day of camp. ILB Marcus Allen and FB Derek Watt continued to work ln limited fashion. DL Isaiahh Loudermilk, hurt in individual work yesterday, returned to practice today in at least limited fashion. I can’t recall seeing him out in team drills though. SS Miles Killebrew worked full.  LB Marcus Allen and FB Derek Watt continued to be limited to individual sessions only.

Of course, the biggest news of the day is Cam Heyward and that ankle injury. I’ll walk you through what happened. 2:36 PM. Third play of seven shots, a non-tackling session today but the Steelers in pads. Jaylen Warren run left side. Big hole created and Warren scores virtually touched. Play ends but Heyward is on the ground, on his knees and in obvious pain. Trainers come out to check on him and the offense/defense stands around him, the session unable to even continue because Heyward is there on the goal line. He slowly gets up and walks off under his own power with a bit of a limp.

Head athletic trainer John Norwig examines him on the bench between the near and middle field. Heyward takes his left shoe off and has his left sock half-off while Norwig tests it for a few minutes, looking at his left ankle. Heyward puts his shoe/sock back on, gets up, walks around the bench briefly and eventually sits back down, taking his shoe off and elevating his left leg on the bench. Norwig walks away from him. Another trainer comes over and wraps and ices Heyward’s left ankle. She leaves and Heyward keeps his leg elevated for a time before resting his left foot on the ground. He takes his shoulder pads off and eventually changes into a black hoodie. Heyward’s in good spirits, talking with someone, I believe a family member of either his or someone else’s, who was on the sidelines, smiling and chatting with the individual.

At 3:18 PM, Heyward gets up, walks to the cart while carrying his shoulder pads, gets in, and is driven off. A common practice for even minor leg injuries due to the long walk up the stars and/or hill back to the team facility. Heyward returned to practice before the day ended and told reporters he was fine. It seems to be a mild ankle sprain. Doubt we’ll see him play Saturday and he’ll sit out the finale too, at least I imagine he will, but I think he’ll be good for Week One against the Bengals. Three weeks is enough time for him to get healthy.

– RB Master Teague (ankle) was waived/injured before practice. The team signed Max Borghi to replace him. He wore #38 and worked in full today, chatting with RBs Coach Eddie Faulkner before practice.

– WR Diontae Johnson the first player down the stairs today at 1:26, catching with an assistant coach before practice.

– DBs getting on the JUGS machine early before practice. Carlins Platel, Damontae Kazee, and Minkah Fitzpatrick the first three to hop on there. Tre Norwood, Cam Sutton, and James Pierre were the next three. Chris Steele and Donovan Stiner were the last two and lingered the longest.

– Second-team OL in warmups. Haeg-Green-Hassenauer-Leglue-Scott

– Tight ends, or really Zach Gentry and Pat Freiermuth, working with the rest of the OL on pass sets today. Watched them quite a bit. Working on different sets and two hand punches versus independent hand punches.

– Derrek Tuszka continued to do some long snapping early on in practice today. I assume he is the backup snapper to Christian Kuntz. John Leglue has also done it on the side last year. Gunner Olszewski, Mitch Trubisky, and Cam Sutton are backup holder options.

– Head Strength and Conditioning coach Garrett Giemont getting the crowd involved today. With a road game coming up, Giemont got the crowd to make a lot of noise as the offense broke the huddle in team sessions. The Steelers also had a white noise machine playing but Steelers’ Nation could hit much larger decibel levels.

– Four years into the league and Mike Tomlin still calls Zach Gentry “Big Blue” for his Michigan college roots.

– Benny Snell and Jaylen Warren worked as first-team upbacks on the kick return team today. Cody White and Christian Blake rotated in as second-string.

– James Pierre and Miles Boykin seeing plenty of gunner work during special teams drills. Marcus Allen worked as the upback in a skeleton session with Donovan Stiner and Mataeo Durant as second-team wings. Tre Norwood was the starting upback with Jaylen Warren and Benny Snell the wings.

– Ok let’s talk seven shots, which returned for a final time after being skipped yesterday.

First Team Session (Seven Shots)

1. Kendrick Green in at LG. T.J. Watt and Genard Avery the starting EDGE rushers. Chris Wormley and Cam Heyward the DTs. Myles Jack and Devin Bush the ILBs. George Pickens and Diontae Johnson on the outside with Chase Claypool in the slot. Najee Harris the RB. Mitch Trubisky at QB. Throw right side for Harris out of the backfield is incomplete, possibly tipped, but the ball hits the ground all the same.

2. Trubisky fade left side for George Pickens against Levi Wallace. Pickens almost makes another great snag, initially pulling the ball to his chest in the air, but it squirts loose as he hits the ground. Incomplete.

3. Trubisky under center. Good push by the line and Jaylen Warren runs over the goal line for the score. This is where Heyward got hurt.

4. Slant left side complete from Trubisky to Pat Freiermuth for a touchdown.

5. Kenny Pickett in the game, empty set. Bubble screen thrown left side to WR Christian Blake. It’s a little low but he catches it and is stopped around the goal line. I think got in but it was close. For now, I’ll give the offense a TD.

6. Quick curl left side by Miles Boykin and Pickett hits him for the score.

7. Mason Rudolph in at QB. Benny Snell the RB, Tyler Vaughns the X receiver, Kevin Rader the Y tight end. Speed out from Rudolph hits Tyler Snead left side against Tre Norwood for the score.

– Have the offense winning 5-2. Maybe 4-3 if Blake didn’t get in but regardless, offense wins the session.

Second Team Session

1. Ball on the defense’s 20. Trubisky hits Diontae Johnson left side for a 15 yard gain working on Cam Sutton. Good throw and catch.

2. Kevin Dotson in at LG. Najee Harris in at RB. Good pocket provided by the offensive line and Trubisky hits Pickens for a gain of ten.

3. Trubisky under center. Ball at the five. Trubisky playaction and Chase Claypool is wide open right side for an easy score.

4. Connor Heyward in at FB with the ball now on the two as part of the structure of the drill, working high to low red zone. Trubisky with the playfake and Heyward leaks out into the right flat, again open, for the score. Buddy Johnson is trailing but nowhere close to making the play.

5. Ball back on the opposing 20. Pickett in at QB. Fires down right sideline and Gunner Olszewski makes the catch over/through I believe Linden Stephens, the LCB on the play, and it’s a 20-yard TD.

6. Would-be sack of Pickett and he has too much muscle on the throw, firing out of the back of the end zone in Freiermuth’s airspace, who was well-covered on the play.

7. Pickett complete in the right flat for Warren a five-yard gain, with him turning up into the end zone, though I’m not counting this as an actual TD pass.

8. I-Formation with Heyward as the fullback. Ball on the two-yard line. Benny Snell follows behind for the score.

9. Mason Rudolph in with the ball at the 25. Anthony McFarland in at RB. Rudolph’s pass on an over route for Freiermuth is high and out of his reach. Second-year safety Donovan Stiner covering.

10. Rudolph complete to Tyler Vaughns for ten yards with Justin Layne covering, the pass complete over the middle.

11. Rudolph’s attempt to Cody White left side is high, off his hand, and incomplete.

12. Ball on the five. TD from Rudolph to Miles Boykin on a slant. Think he was working against Justin Layne here.

Third Team Session

1. Empty set. Pickett completes to Vaughns for six yards against Sutton.

2. Pickett scrambles. Hits Christian Blake for a short four-yard gain as a checkdown option.

3. Mataeo Durant on the carry for 2-3. Tyson Alualu fills his gap and is in on the stop. Again, not much tackling or contact here today as the team gets ready for its second preseason contest.

4. Pickett boot right side. Hits Cody White on a comeback right sideline. He makes the catch and the crowd cheers but the catch was close to the bleachers and White’s foot was on the line. So I’m calling it incomplete on what would’ve been about a 15-yard gain. White not showing the best awareness here.

5. Borghi his first carry in team left side. Delontae Scott is free backside and makes the stop for roughly no gain.

6. Rudolph in at QB. Boots left but misses TE Jace Sternberger. Should’ve been picked but Genard Avery fights the ball and it bats off his hands and incomplete.

7. Durant on the carry for two yards with the hole closing pretty quickly and the defense swallowing him up.

8. Rudolph playaction, hitting Vaughns right side against Chris Steele. I’m not remembering the play well in my head but I have this is as a gain of 30 here.

9. Chris Oladokun receiving reps this scout team session. Durant carry left side. Nice job by OLB James Vaughters to make the stop around the line of scrimmage. “Good job, Ham!” someone yelled out. Not sure what he did but it was apparently good.

10. Oladokun out of the shotgun. Pressure and he throws off his back foot. Pass intended for WR Cody White but the pass is short and skips at White’s foot. Carlins Platel covering.

11. Oladokun under center. Borghi carry up the middle for two. Mark Robinson with a pretty good pop to end things.

12. Empty set for Oladokun. Throws over the middle on an over-the-ball route to TE Jace Sternberger but Robinson is there and knocks it away, incomplete.

Fourth Team Session

1. Ball on the offense’s own nine. Khalil and Carlos Davis the DTs. Myles Jack and Devin Bush the ILBs. Delontae Scott and Derrek Tuszka the EDGE rushers. Trubisky bac under center. Boots right and looks for Zach Gentry on a deep over route but it’s over/past him and incomplete. Terrell Edmunds covering.

2. Empty set this time. Great throw by Trubisky on a slot fade to Chase Claypool left side, he sees it all the way, and places it in the bucket working on Sutton here. Gain of 31.

3. Trubisky hits an open Diontae Johnson on a post route against a potentially blown coverage deep downfield. This is a gain of 51 this time.

4. Devin Bush and Robert Spillane the ILBs. Harris the RB. Ahkello Witherspoon and Levi Wallace the outside corners with Sutton inside. Trubisky finds Claypool again for a gain of 11 as he sits down against zone coverage. Bush bumps him and takes him to the ground.

5. Kenny Pickett under center. Jaylen Warren carry and he cuts back right side for roughly four yards.

6. Steven Sims gets aligned on the line of scrimmage pre-snap, a little too far forward before backing up. Pickett hits Connor Heyward on a slant/angle route over the middle for a gain of six.

7. 11 personnel. James Pierre and Linden Stephens the CBs with Tre Norwood in the slot. Damontae Kazee and Donovan Stiner the safety pairing. Pickett scrambles and completes the ball right side to a player I don’t have listed. Buddy Johnson with the tag/stop.

8. Mason Rudolph at QB. Miles Killebrew replacing Stiner as the safety pairing. Justin Layne and Chris Steele on the outside with Carlins Platel in the slot. Rudolph complete to Tyler Snead for a gain of seven in the left flat, Stiner closing and tagging.

9. Rudolph shotgun set. Complete to Vaughns right side for six with Johnson making a quick stop.

10. Rudolph’s throw medium-right side nearing the sideline is a little short. Snead tries to run under it and dives out but can’t come down with it, a little upset at the end of the play.

11. Nine-yard completion from Rudolph to Heyward, Heyward making a nice snag in front of his frame.

Fifth Team Session

1. Ball on the defense’s 30. Pickett in at QB. Weird/new one here, a potential zone read with Pickett pulling the ball out of Durant’s belly and keeping it himself. No gain here. Maybe some scout team stuff for Saturday.

2. Tyson Alualu and Chris Wormley the DT pairing with Heyward out. Pickett under center. Jordan Tucker in at LG, J.C. Hassenauer at center. Toss left to Durant. Cam Sutton good run support and we’ll call it a loss of three here.

3. Pickett again under center, Heyward in at FB, Strong I formation. Durant up the middle. Wormley comes off a block and makes the tag, a gain of one.

4. OL of: Tucker-K.Green-Hassenauer-Leglue-C.Green. Heyward again at FB. Borghi carry up the middle. Scott in the backfield and it’s a loss of two.

5. Mason Rudolph checks in. 18-yard touchdown from Rudolph to White who legitimately makes one of the best catches of camp. Broke his route back outside but Rudolph’s throw was behind him. White reaches back and grabbed the ball with one-hand, tucked it, and turned upfield into the end zone for the score.

6. Rudolph’s boots. A would-be sack with a lot of pressure enveloping him. Throw into the end zone for Christian Blake is incomplete, closed on well and broken up by James Pierre.

7. Ball on the opposing five. Durant carry up the middle. Vaughters works free and tags him for no gain.

8. OL of: Haeg-C.Green-McCollum-Dunkle-Tucker. Cody White and Tyler Vaughns on the outside with Tyler Snead in the slot. Rudolph boots right and hits Vaughns for a TD from three yards out against Chris Steele.

9. Oladokun coming in. Empty set. Whistle blows as Tre Norwood is late getting on the field. They reset things. Seems like the ball came out of Oladokun’s hand weird and it’s a total lame duck, falling yards away from supposed intended target Miles Boykin. Incomplete. A throw of a man who has not had many of them this summer.

10. Borghi in the backfield. Oladokun’s throw right side incomplete for White. Not sure if this was a drop or just off-target. Think it was the latter.

11. Oladokun now under center. Throw on a crosser to Tyler Snead is behind but Snead reaches back for it and scores from three yards out. Stiner trailing. Oladokun’s first TD pass.

12. White and Vaughns on the outside with Snead in the slot. Borghi gets the carry and scores from two yards out. TD.

Sixth Team Session

1. Ball on the offense’s own two. Trubisky under center. Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick the safety pairing. False start by Kevin Dotson and he’s removed from the play, Kendrick Green replacing. Harris carry right side, Myles Jack on the tag for about one. Very slow pace of play at this point.

2. DeMarvin Leal and Donovan Jeter the DT pairing. Johnson and Pickens on the outside with Claypool in the slot. Trubisky hits Claypool over the middle, making a catch above his head for a gain of 17.

3. Trubisky in at QB. Complete right side to Steven Sims for a gain of six. Fitzpatrick first man there.

4. Ball now on the offense’s own 29. Trubisky under center. Fitzpatrick down near the box. Toss right to Harris for four, Devin Bush striding over and making the tackle.

5. Kenny Pickett now in. Johnson and Claypool the two receivers with Gentry and Kevin Rader the TEs. Playaction, pass complete to Johnson on a comeback against Sutton for a gain of ten.

6. Heyward in at FB, Warren at RB. Pickett under center. Warren carry right side with John Leglue pulling frontside, a G-Lead play. Nice job by Warren to follow his blocks.

7. James Pierre and Chris Steele on the outside with Tre Norwood in the slot. Pickett looks for his favorite target Gunner Olszewski on an over route but Tre Norwood tracks it and bats the ball away.

8. Pickett hits Olszewski this time on a slant for a good gain. I have it down as 12 but the non-tackle session makes these more inexact.

9. Mason Rudolph in and under center. Benny Snell up the middle for two. Khalil Davis got off a block and clogged things up.

10. Miles Boykin and Tyler Snead the outside receivers. Don’t have yardage here but Mason Rudolph complete to Miles Boykin.

11. Rudolph good progression read and he hits Connor Heyward. Unsure of yardage here, too.

12. Ryan McCollum in at center. 12 personnel. Snell runs behind Kevin Rader, knocking him over as Rader goes to the ground.

13. Anthony McFarland carry right side for three. Delontae Scott makes the tag.

Seventh Team Session

1. Ball on the offense’s 19. Alualu and Wormley the DTs. Pickett in at QB. Completion deep down the right side for Cody White goes for a big gain, 46 yards. White beat Ahkello Witherspoon but this is a low-key session and Witherspoon didn’t make a serious effort to try to contest or chase White down.

2. Witherspoon and Wallace on the outside with Sutton in the slot. Pickett finds Blake on a crosser for seven.

3. Pickett complete to Snead over the middle for a gain of five.

4. Dime defense. Witherspoon and Wallace on the outside with Sutton in the slot and Norwood the dime defender. Complete for ten from Pickett to Olszewski on a crosser.

5. Mason Rudolph in at QB. Hamilcar Rashed Jr. free off the edge so Rudolph throws hot to Broghi for a gain of ten in the right flat.

6. Leal and Mondeaux the DT pairing with Rashed Jr. back in his LOLB spot. Rudolph complete to Snead for 12 on a crosser with Stiner tagging him late.

7. Pierre and Steele on the outside with Platel in the slot. Robert Spillane now the dimebacker. Rudolph uncorks one deep down the right side for Blake but Pierre blankets the route and it’s incomplete and uncontested. Along the offensive line, RT Trent Scott did a nice job to bury the LOLB here.

8. Stiner and Kazee the safety pairing. Rudolph nice throw down the right seam complete to Heyward, who plucks the ball working against Johnson. Gain of 20.

9. Oladokun checks in and hits his favorite target TE Jace Sternberger for ten, again working on Buddy Johnson.

10. Killebrew and Stiner the safety pairing. Stephens, now playing corner again, the LCB with Layne as the RCB and Platel in the slot. Mark Robinson and Buddy Johnson the ILB pairing. Oladokun pressured and he dumps the ball off to Blake for a gain of five.

11. Borghi in the backfield. Oladokun under pressure, drifts right a bit, resets, and airs it out deep down the right sideline for Snead. But it’s thrown basically into triple-coverage with Stephens, Stiner, and Layne all in the area. Incomplete and overthrown.

12. Last rep. Donovan Jeter and Khalil Davis the DTs. James Vaughters and Hamilcar Rashed Jr. the EDGE pairing. Oladokun complete to Sternberger right side for a gain of ten. Horn blows and that ends camp.

Camp Summary

– Chris Oladokun has gotten reps the last two days and his sample size is obviously small. But what I’ve seen isn’t great. His accuracy in particular has been poor. Of course, he’s probably pretty rusty not throwing in team since perhaps rookie minicamp. But if you’re wondering how he looks with his 20-ish reps the last two days, it’s been poor.

– Being an effective special teamer is a different thing but Jaylen Warren has gotten a lot of burn there. He’s trying to show more value than just a running back and his size/frame/mentality all bode well to be say, a starting wing on the punt coverage unit.

– Connor Heyward hasn’t been perfect but he’s had a good camp. Natural catcher of the football, something we saw at Michigan State, who doesn’t body catch. He’s a good athlete with burst at the top of his route.

– Not much to note along the offensive line the last two days with shells/limited contact and no OL/DL drills.

– Buddy Johnson hasn’t been good enough in coverage. Always a step late and doesn’t make enough plays on the ball when he’s in good position. He’s just gotta be a little quicker and find the ball in the air better.

– Tre Norwood’s had a nice camp. They trust and like him a lot in coverage and he’s worked as the dime defender all camp. His physicality and tackling have always stepped up from a year ago. He’s free safety/slot corner versatile.

– I did not chart hangtimes today but it was a good day for Pressley Harvin with the half-dozen or so punts he booted during one of the special teams sessions.

– Appreciate you all following us this camp. So happy to be back at Saint Vincent College and hopefully you enjoyed our coverage. See you next year.

Saint Vincent Photo

Rookie RB Jaylen Warren still carrying the football around, a reminder of his ball security issues.

Random Steelers’ Fact

The first Steelers’ kicker to hit a 50+ yard field goal was Lou Michaels in 1961, hitting from exactly 50 yards out in the second quarter in an eventual tie against the Philadelphia Eagles. No Steelers’ kicker would connect from 50+ yards for 34 years when Norm Johnson hit from 50 against the Bengals in 1995.

George Carlin’s Quote Of The Day

“I think we’re part of a greater wisdom that we will ever understand; a higher order, call it what you want. Know what I call it? The Big Electron. It doesn’t punish, it doesn’t reward, it doesn’t judge at all. It just is.”

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