(93.7 The Fan) - For the second straight practice, Ben Roethlisberger was mostly an onlooker.
Roethlisberger, wearing a black compression sleeve on his left leg, was seen with a slight limp while on the field Saturday.
At 37 years old, it probably should not come as a surprise that Roethlisberger, who did make a couple of throws during a goal line drill, is getting extra time off and could be feeling bumps and bruises just over a week into training camp. But Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says that Pittsburgh's starting quarterback is not dealing with an injury.
“We’re just creating more opportunities for guys like Mason (Rudolph) and Josh (Dobbs), particularly in the two-minute drill we did today,” Tomlin said. “We’ve seen Ben in enough two minutes and he’s going to have an opportunity. But, particularly, as we push into preseason football, the guys that can be in possession to execute two-minutes in week one or week two of the preseason are the guys that need the reps.”
The two minute drill was a massive success for Dobbs, who operated with the first team offense. It took three plays to find the end zone. Dobbs hit JuJu Smith-Schuster over the middle, then dropped a fade into Vance McDonald’s arms before hitting Smith-Schuster, who went over the top of Steven Nelson for the touchdown.
“The offensive line likes it when it goes quick,” Dobbs joked. “It was a smooth two-minute, for sure.. Now the goal is to replicate that going forward.”
Smith-Schuster, as he has done throughout camp, stole the show. In addition to taking a break to pet his dog, Boujee, who watched from under a tent, Smith-Schuster made a number of tough catches up against top defensive backs.
“JuJu has made combat catches ever since he’s gotten here,” Dobbs said. “We know that that’s the guy, if we have him one-on-one down the field, we just want to give him a shot to catch the football.”
Dobbs has seen Smith-Schuster’s development as a leader, too.
“Just ownership in the receiver room, helping the young guys come along, showing them what to do, whether it’s on the field or mentally with preparation, ” he said. “And obviously just making plays out here, as he’s been doing the past two years here.”
Dobbs did not partake in the team’s “seven shots” drill, which pits offense against defense from the two-yard-line. Mason Rudolph got the first three reps, throwing three touchdowns, including a diving grab by Smith-Schuster. Rookie Devlin Hodges threw a touchdown on three attempts, with tight end Christian Scotland-Williamson dropping a ball in which he was wide open.
On the injury front, Mike Tomlin said there were no new or significant updates. TJ Watt, Anthony Chickillo and Diontae Spencer all missed due to injuries. Ramon Foster was given a veteran maintenance day. Artie Burns, who would appear to still be fighting for a spot on the team, was given a rest day, according to Tomlin.
Tomlin was short when asked if he feels Burns is playing with more confidence this year.
"We'll keep watching," Tomlin said. "Early in the process."
The Steelers’ next practice will take place Sunday night at 6:30 during the team’s Fan Fest at Heinz Field.