Another day, another intense practice took place this afternoon at Saint Vincent College. This session feature the return of a few players, the emergence of a player that we have not heard much about, and a familiar face that continue performing at a high level.
Let’s do this.
Although the were was still a sizable list of players that sat out, a few players showed indications that the were set to return back to the field. James Conner who has been sidelined with a AC joint injury in his shoulder, was seen today in pads; he did not participate in any of the physical drills, but is improving with every passing day. Another encouraging sight was wide receiver Sammie Coates who was seen running sprints; he is likely to come off the PUP list at some point in the near future. Both defensive end Stephon Tuitt and outside linebacker Bud Dupree were dressed in their pads, and participated in physical drills which was a great indication that the defense is getting healthier. The remaining list of players did not participate due to injury or other unspecified reasons: Justin Hunter (shoulder/arm), Cameron Sutton (hamstring), Mike Mitchell (foot/ankle), Senquez Golson (hamstring), Alejandro Villanueva (concussion), Maurkice Pouncey (unknown), Jerald Hawkins (excused absence), Keion Adams (shoulder), Martavis Bryant (awaiting reinstatement), James Harrison (for the sake of everyone who is still healthy).
Even though offensive lineman Mike Matthews as in attendance at today’s practice, he was waived earlier today, and former North Carolina Tar Heels center Lucas Crowley was signed in his place.
- A player that hasn’t been spoken of much but had a good showing today was wide receiver Canaan Severin. Severin, who was noted as being one of the top undrafted free agents last year, had a couple of touchdowns, one courtesy from a deep pass from Joshua Dobbs, according to ESPN Senior Writer Jeremy Fowler. He has had a few good practices, in all likelihood could be on the practice squad when all is said and done.
- With Justin Hunter not practicing, it was the JuJu Smith-Schuster show today. It seems that every practice he makes some type of highlight-worth catch. During the 7-on-7 drill, he made a diving grab which Fowler dubbed as the ‘catch of the day’. In addition, he accounted for a touchdown during the seven shots drill, was breaking tackles and was reprimanded for a false start, but overall was very impressive.
- If you asked me which player’s stock has risen the most since the beginning of training camp, it would be Mike Hilton. Hilton has been a revelation with his intensity, football IQ, and ball skills (which his scouting report noted as being “just okay”). Today he had strong showing in practice which included yet another pass breakup on receiver Cobi Hamilton. I, like many Steelers fans, are anxious to find out if he can translate these strong performances into the upcoming preseason games.
Photo of the Day:
Writer Teresa Varley said it best when she noted “this is what Steelers football is all about”. Artie Burns has been seen around Steelers legend, and hall of famer, Mel Blount quite often in the last few days. It is apparent that Burns Jr. looks up to Blount (literally, and figuratively, speaking ). If you are not familiar with Burns Jr.’s story, his mother died overnight after suffering a heart attack, and his father has been serving a 25-year sentence for cocaine trafficking since 2013. Having a positive role model like Blount in his life could be essential to Burns Jr.’s personal growth, which can pay dividends on field. Enjoy this one.