The Steelers penultimate training camp practice featured some lively sessions and spirited hitting among the linemen on both sides, which Mike Tomlin indicated was fitting for the final camp practice in pads.
“Good spirited day up here today in full pads,” Tomlin said. “Our last full day here in Latrobe in full pads and there is a certain urgency with that. It’s just a captured moment and I thought the guys displayed that understanding with the energy that they brought to the drill work. I thought we had a really good day from that perspective.”
Sean Davis returned at free safety but several other veterans remain out, like Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro, Joe Haden and Vince Williams, along with rookie Devin Bush and tight end Zach Gentry, the latter Michigan men are dealing with soft tissue injuries (with the severity unknown). Tomlin said Pouncey might do some work tomorrow. B.J. Finney was carted off (“heat related” per Tomlin) which left first year man Patrick Morris running with the first team much of the afternoon.
Seven Shots was a 4-3 win for the offense, but a split for the first-teamers. Ben Roethlisberger was successful to Vance McDonald and JuJu Smith-Schuster but Terrell Edmunds broke up a pass intended for JuJu (failed to grab the deflection, though) then an end-around pass from JuJu intended for Donte Moncrief was a horrible throw was picked off by Mark Barron. Josh Dobbs was 2-for-3 with scores to Diontae Johnson. Dobbs also hit Xavier Grimble in the back of the end zone, but one of Grimble’s cleats was on the line.
Roethlisberger was sharp in both the 11-on-11 passing and Red Zone sessions but – other than a medium completion to McDonald – didn’t do much in the 1 minute drill and turned it over on downs as time ran out.
Mike Tomlin asked if it was the first time Roethlisberger has done those drills.
“Not in life,” Tomlin said. “I haven’t thought a lot about it (if he’s done those drills this camp). Obviously because of our rotation, particularly in stadium, we focused in recent weeks on the young guys. Those are the guys that are going to be in the game. We do want to keep him up to speed and growing and readying himself. So we did infuse him today.”
Then, in his turn, Dobbs airmailed a ball was easily picked off by Cam Sutton to end practice.
James Conner and Benny Snell each had a couple of decent runs, WR hopeful Johnny Holton missed a couple of big-play passes, while Tyler Matakevich and Bryan Allen both made some plays for the defense. Allen returning from a minor injury as the third year corner missed Friday’s preseason opener.
The Steelers will practice one more time at St. Vincent College Thursday at 2:55 then break camp which will add considerably to the late rush hour traffic heading west on Route 30.