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Steelers Training Camp Nuggets: What you need to know from the 8/13 practice

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Getting you caught up on another training camp practice, one week before their second preseason game.

The Steelers were back at it again after their assigned day off, following their preseason victory against the Giants on Friday. Before the Steelers took to the field, there was definitely excitement in the air with the long awaited return of receiver Martavis Bryant, who was cleared by the NFL on Wednesday to participate in preseason activities.

In today’s session, Antonio Brown finally got the competition he was looking for, a highlight play by someone unexpected, and the return of several players from injury. So let’s get to it.

Injury Report:

Sunday was promising on the injury front, as several players who did not see action during the Steelers first preseason game, made their return to the field. The most notable return was cornerback Artie Burns, who was sidelined with a leg injury sustained during their ‘Friday Night Lights’ practice back on August 4th. The other notable return was Steelers third-round pick Cameron Sutton, who had not seen any action since sustaining a lower body injury on July 29th.

The Steelers other third-round pick, James Connor, participated in 7-on-7 and individual work; from what has been reported, he is well on his way to returning to team drills. Despite the concussion, receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster sustained on Friday against the Giants, he was back in pads and ready for action. The other returnees included Alejandro Villanueva (undisclosed), Sean Davis (undisclosed), and Justin Hunter (shoulder).

The players who did not participate in today’s session included: Ryan Shazier (hamstring), Senquez Golson (hamstring), Mike Mitchell (lower body), Sammie Coates (knee), Keion Adams (shoulder), and Demarcus Ayers .

Training Camp Action:

Notable Passes defended/intercepted during drills:

  • Cornerback Artie Burns interception vs. Antonio Brown
  • Cornerback Coty Sensabaugh interception vs. Darrius Heyward-Bey
  • Cornerback Brian Allen interception on Bart Houston
  • Linebacker Vince Williams pass breakup on Xavier Grimble
  • Linebacker T.J. Watt on pass breakup on Knile Davis

Notable Receptions/Touchdowns during drills:

  • Wide Receiver Antonio Brown touchdown on Artie Burns
  • Martavis Bryant reception on Brian Allen (Martavis had two receptions today).
  • Justin Hunter reception on Coty Sensabaugh
  • Tight End Jesse James goal line touchdown on Sean Davis

Notable Performers:

Artie Burns - During his absence, Antonio Brown was quite frankly having his way with cornerbacks Coty Sensabaugh and Ross Cockrell. After burning Cockrell for a 35-yard touchdown last week, he ran up to Burns and emphatically voiced to him how “easy it was out there” and his desire to have him back.

Brown got his wish, and Burns did not disappoint.

During one-on-ones, Brown did get the best of Burns in the first repetition with a touchdown. Burns then countered in the next two repetitions with an incompletion and interception. The receptions that Brown made were hard-earned ones, as Burns’ intention was to make life difficult for Brown. As it stands, none of the corners (Sutton remains to be seen), possess the skill set necessary to give Antonio Brown the competition he wants, except for Artie Burns.

Jesse James - James was credited with the best play of the day according to ESPN Senior Writer Jeremy Fowler. In his description, a goal line lob intended for James was tipped by strong safety Sean Davis. James was still able to catch the ball off the bounce and keep both feet inside for the touchdown. For the most part, James has not been overly impressive in camp, which is why his name has not been mentioned much. This particular day was a good one for him, which will hopefully lead to several more strong performances.

Brian Allen - Allen accounted for an interception and forced an incompletion on a pass intended for receiver Cobi Hamilton. From all reports, Allen is a quick study, and continues to get more acclimated with coverage. During the press coverage drill, Steelers analysts Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley noted how Allen stood by defensive backs coach Carnell Lake and listened to his instructions. This is true sign of a player that is looking to get better with every practice.