Bruce Gradkowski activated! (& other personnel news)
Fresh off of PUP, Gradkowski participated a little bit in practice today, allaying the fears of scores of fans who were all but sure that Landry Jones would end up having to start in a regular season game. With Gradkowski's arm fully functional, the Great Landry Jones Experiment of 2015 is no longer a source of total panic and angst.
In other personnel move, the following players were either not participating or limited in practice: NT Steve McCLendon, LB Lawrence Timmons, Jordan Zumwalt, LB Vince Williams, WR David Nelson, DT Daniel McCullers, TE Cameron Clear, and RB Josh Harris.
With the injuries to Timmons, Williams, and Zumwalt, safety Ian Wild took a shot at ILB. Intriguing. Could this versatility and durability give Wild an edge when it comes to finalizing the 53-man roster?
Before any "Timmons is injured! Timmons is injured!" hysteria spreads, rest easy. Mike Tomlin clarified the severity of his injury, "I wouldn't tag 'significant' on it. I like Lawrence so I'm going to take care of Lawrence." Phew. Timmons was also out for Friday night's game. His injury was listed as "toe," which in Tomlin speak could mean he cut his toenails too short or that he is about to lose both of his legs. Thankfully, we've received clarification and it seems Timmons is out as a precaution.
Seven shots usually go well for Ben Roethlisberger, but today he was 0-3. The way the offense looked on Friday, I'm not worried about the poor performance in practice. Instead, it could be cause for celebration. 0-3 for Big Ben means the defense is doing its job. Specifically, Cortez Allen and Sean Spence each had a pass defensed. Well done, defense!
Tyler Murphy made an impression on Mike Tomlin who, according to Steelers.com, said during practice, "That kid is showing some wideout traits." The Steelers have become a veritable wide-receiver factory with Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Markus Wheaton all elite receivers and Dri Archer, C.J. Goodwin, Sammie Coates, and, apparently now Murphy all showing potential.
Safety Mike Mitchell had been out with an injury but was back at practice today for the second time working with Shamarko Thomas, who struggled with Cover 2 in Friday night's game. Mike Mitchell highlighted the importance of working with Thomas, saying via the Observer-Reporter, I think with anything the more you do things, the more you rep them, the better they get." Makes sense.
Special Teams appeared to be a weak link in both of the preseason games so far this year. Dale Lolley reported that heavy-hitter Roosevelt Nix has been "showing up quite a bit" on special teams. They need someone to show up, and preferable several people to show up all together in coordinated fashion.