How did the defense look?
Last year, the pass rush was of grave concern, but defensive coordinator Keith Butler appeared satisfied with what he saw today saying, "We want to be pretty good against the run and we were for the most part. We want to rush teh quarterback. When he has to hold onto the ball we want to be able to hit him. We want to be able to do that when we're rushing four."
More concerning than the pass rush has been the state of the secondary. Some good news: cornerback Cortez Allen picked off Roethlisberger for the second time in as many practices.
What was the offense up to?
It was obvious that Mike Tomlin has rubbed off on defensive coordinator Keith Butler when he explained the team's strategy of protecting Ben Roethlisberger from getting hurt. "Obviously," he began, "We're not going to hit him in these circumstances because he's making $100 million. So we're not going to hit him."
- DeAngelo Williams did sprints with the defense after practice
- Josh Harris made an impression on Jeremy Fowler who postulated that Harris will be the number three RB. I am taking that with a grain of salt since he also predicted AJ Green will be the AFC North MVP.
- During practice, Martavis Bryant was a frequent mid-field target
- Rookie TE Jesse James was a frequent target in the red zone.
Backs on Backers and other drills
The Steelers opened training camp with a fun drill during which special teams guys had to catch as many punts as possible without dropping any of the balls to the ground.
How many can @AntonioBrown84 catch at once? #50atSVC pic.twitter.com/FfP1DFhxld— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 29, 2015
The main event was the much-anticipated backs-on-backers drill. Tomlin was pleased with the way the drills went, commenting, "It's important that we have mutual respect, and you can do that by being competitive." What went down during the drill? Here are some highlights:
- Vince Williams took out DeAngelo Williams
- DeAngelo had success against Sean Spence
- Sean Spence knocked over Ross Scheuerman
- Jordan Zumwalt beat Scheuerman
- Scheuerman got revenge on Zumwalt twice after that
- Arthur Moats flattened Jesse James
- Backs didn't have much luck against Ryan Shazier or Lawrence Timmons
- Bud Dupree participated in Backers-on-Tackles during this particular drill.
Injuries and other absences
James Harrison, Heath Miller, Will Allen, and Mike Mitchell did drills on the sidelines instead of suiting up and taking hits (or inflicting hits, as the case may be). Cameron Clear was back on the field, while Ross Ventrone was hobbling around in a boot after sustaining a lower-leg injury earlier in the week. Cameron Clear suffered a heat-related illness on Monday. Today it was B.J. Finney who seemed to be stricken by the heat. Tomlin also disclosed that Vince Williams had some cramping.
Part of James Harrison's workout involved drills in sweats, obviously.
James Harrison doing drills on the far field -- in his sweats in 90+ degree heat, of course pic.twitter.com/JgGCPqQric— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) July 29, 2015
Has long-snapper Greg Warren paid a visit to the Steelers millinery shop recently? It sure seems like it. His choice of hat rivals selections by former offensive coordinator, the Bruce "Beret-Man" Arians.
Le'Veon Bell is clearly very proud of his newly reduced body fat percentage, as he strutted to the practice field with Big Ben while exposing his 14-pack.