LATROBE (93.7 the Fan) - Not as many fans for the Steelers’ third practice in pads at St. Vincent College – perhaps all riveted to their radios, computers and phones anticipating a flurry of Pirates moves at the only MLB trade deadline this season.
Turns out there was more to see at Chuck Noll Field, including the first camp fight – between veterans Alejandro Villaneuva and Cam Heyward. Of course, that dust-up was quickly broken up and soon forgotten, although the players were more fired up during the next few plays.
David DeCastro was today’s veteran lineman who did not practice so BJ Finney got most of the work at right guard which means Finney has run with the first team for 3 straight days at 3 different positions – C, LG, RG.
The (mostly) passing period began with a series of Ben Roethlisberger completions but when he tried to hit JuJu Smith-Schuster deep middle he threw into triple coverage and the pass bounced off a few hands before falling incomplete to the vocal displeasure of Mike Tomlin who – obviously – needs more turnovers from his defense.
Ben and JuJu provided today’s entertainment when - backed up at the one-yard line - Roethlisberger faked a sneak and ran around right end as everyone had stopped and continued running toward the end zone, then lateraled to JuJu and they crossed the goal line before Ben spiked it much to the delight of the crowd … although maybe not the coaches since, to keep things moving, Josh Dobbs took the next couple of first team reps.
As for the 7 Shots, Roethlisberger was 3-for-4. Devin Bush broke up a pass intended for James Washington but then Ben hit Xavier Grimble, Vance McDonald and Diontae Johnson – Johnson after a lengthy scramble that was probably unrealistic in a real game. Dobbs was 2-for-3, hitting Washington and Johnson sandwiched around a Brian Allen PBU that Tomlin felt should have been intercepted.
Washington had a good day, making several plays including a slick move to lose Joe Haden, as he took advantage of Donte Moncrief’s absence nursing a finger injury. The rookie Johnson also got more first team looks as did Eli Rogers after Ryan Switzer tweak a quad and missed the last half of practice.
The Steelers will practice again Thursday afternoon at St. Vincent College then go under the lights at Latrobe Memorial Stadium Friday night at 7:00.