The Pittsburgh Steelers returned to the practice field on Saturday, but it wasn’t just another training camp practice — it was their first padded practice of the 2018 season. If you were wondering the anticipation of this practice, SteelCityInsider’s Jim Wexell put it perfectly:
High expectations for this first practice in pads by a team that’s been called soft for six months after giving up 45 points in a playoff loss.— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) July 28, 2018
The boys were ready to hit, and no drill puts this into perspective more than the famous, and at times vicious, backs-on-backers drill. For those who don’t know, this is a drill where a pass rusher goes one-on-one with a running back or tight end who has to try and stop them from getting to the quarterback.
This drill is heavily slanted towards the defenders, considering the blockers are not allowed to cut down the pass rushers, but shows a lot about heart, toughness and the willingness to do the dirty parts of the job to get the job done.
Check out some of the names beat reporters were talking about after the first round of this infamous drill:
Big winners of Backs on Backers:— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) July 28, 2018
Rookie RB Jarvion Franklin
CB Mike Hilton
TE Ryan Malleck
As expected, novice pass protector Jaylen Samuels struggled in backs on backers. Jarvion Franklin and Matthew Thomas started slow and finished strong, were moved up competition ladder.— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) July 28, 2018
Ryan Shazier with a front-row view (almost as good as Mike Tomlin’s) for the much-anticipated ‘Backs On Backers pic.twitter.com/HMgjpL1r8P— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) July 28, 2018
This is typically a celebrated day for the Steelers. Pads are popping and it seems all is right with the world. That is until a starting offensive guard goes down with a leg injury.
Ramon Foster’s injury certainly dampened the spirit of the practice, at least in the short-term, but even though the severity of the injury isn’t know yet, practice continued with players realizing a lot can change for an individual, a team and an organization in a split second.
That wasn’t all the news during this Steelers’ training camp practice, check out some other nuggets of information, photos and videos from the most recent practice:
When you put the pads on, tempers are bound to flare from time to time. It didn’t take long for two players to go at it, and those players were outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo and rookie offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor.
According to reports, like this one from DKonPittsburghSports’ Dale Lolley, suggest the fight was legit:
Okorafor and Chickillo have the first real camp fight. Chickillo rips off Okorafor’s helmet. Throws it at him. Several guys step in. #Steelers #dkps— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) July 28, 2018
#LIVE: Coach Tomlin addresses the media following our first day in pads at #SteelersCamp. https://t.co/ikVRxgxUbZ— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 28, 2018
How is he adjusting to Pittsburgh?— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 28, 2018
What can you expect to see from him on the field?
What has he learned from @RyanShazier?@JonBostic covers all of this and more. #CampLife pic.twitter.com/2bejPR94Zp
.@steelers @_BigBen7 helps @RamonFoster on to a cart after Foster went down during practice pic.twitter.com/MfBAzqkCAv— Charles Palla (@ChazPalla) July 28, 2018
Ben Roethlisberger helping injured Ramon Foster get situated in the van.— john walker iv (@realjohnwalker) July 28, 2018
Great teammate you are, Mr. Roethlisberger. pic.twitter.com/14TsqDKgzs
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger consoles offensive guard Ramon Foster. pic.twitter.com/bo6NpTYXV9— Peter Diana (@peterdianapghpg) July 28, 2018
So many incredible catches in one photo. pic.twitter.com/pLAhygjFbT— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 29, 2018