The Pittsburgh Steelers technically reported to training camp on Thursday, but the only thing accomplished on that day, other than moving in and talking to media, was the mundane conditioning test.
Friday was when the fun began.
The Steelers took to the field for their first day of training camp, and although there wasn’t a ton of news leaving the fields at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, there were a few things certainly noteworthy.
One of the interesting aspects of the first day was how Ben Roethlisberger made it very clear he wanted certain things to change in 2019. The first change? Be on time.
3 Takes That Resonate from Practice No. 1: Ben expressed desire to start fast, starting at SVC, “being early to walk-thrus, early to meetings and just showing our love and dedication to be out here. I think that can transition into starting faster in the season.” Easier w/o ‘A.B’— Mike Prisuta (@DVEMike) July 26, 2019
While this seems simple, there was one particular player, who is now a member of the Oakland Raiders, who was constantly late for everything. While people talk about changes needing to be made, you can put this in a simple category that could make big changes.
Time to check in on some other news:
Keith Butler doesn’t like life without T.J. Watt
T.J. Watt is absent from practice with a slightly pulled hamstring, and you can count Keith Butler in as a man who doesn’t like not having one of his top playmakers on the field. Here is what Butler had to say not only about missing Watt, but also some other LBs on his defense:
2. DC Butler on life without Watt (Active/PUP List, hamstring): “I don’t like life without him, we need him.” On Chickillo: “‘Chick’ can play. ‘Chick’ is in good shape.” Butler also expecting better from more-experienced Dupree: “I think the key for us is how Bud does this year.”— Mike Prisuta (@DVEMike) July 26, 2019
Artie Burns not going down easily
So many fans want to write off Artie Burns, but almost all of the news coming out of the Steelers camp has been positive. While him resurrecting a once promising career might be a long shot, it isn’t impossible for him to become quality depth behind Joe Haden and Steven Nelson.
3. If Artie Burns is going down, it won’t be without a fight. Nelson hasn’t played slot corner, but plan is to take a look at him there in camp. Hilton No.1 slot for now, but doesn’t have lock on position. Burns has impressed staff with good spring, study of defense, work ethic.— Mike Prisuta (@DVEMike) July 26, 2019
JuJu now helps with gender reveals
Gender reveals are all the rage now, and while I didn’t do one with any of our five children, this young couple went to Steelers Training Camp and got JuJu Smith-Schuster to help with their own unique reveal.
.@steelers receiver @TeamJuJu helps a couple with the gender reveal of their baby after the first day of practice at St. Vincent College. @TribLIVE @TribSports @tribjoerutter @KGorman_Trib @C_AdamskiTrib @TimBenzPGH pic.twitter.com/36jFCNKoUq— Charles Palla (@ChazPalla) July 26, 2019
JuJu had himself a solid practice, outside of the gender reaveal
Don’t think JuJu Smith-Schuster hasn’t heard the noise about him not being able to be a No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL. It was only one practice, but JuJu put on quite the show.
JuJu Smith-Schuster with two spectacular deep catches down the sidelines during the first training camp practice. The first one he beat Steven Nelson and the second Joe Haden. @TheAthleticPGH— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) July 26, 2019
Spreading the love
Ben Roethlisberger was spreading the ball around during the team’s goalline drill during practice on Friday.
Ben Roethlisberger threw touchdown passes to JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Conner and Vance McDonald during a goal-line drill. Spreading the ball around is a priority for him. pic.twitter.com/bg83UvUCKS— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) July 26, 2019
7 Shots and Not-So-Good Dobbs
The Steelers offense won the first 3 out of 4 red-zone possessions with Ben Roethlisberger throwing touchdowns to multiple receivers, but when Joshuan Dobbs entered as QB2, he threw back-to-back interceptions and over threw an open Christian Scotland-Williamson on his third attempt.
Big Ben knows the Steelers will need his best QB work in a post-Antonio-Brown era pic.twitter.com/QF9sm9uFcq— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) July 26, 2019
Shaun Sarrett, leading a training camp practice for the first time as the lead OL coach pic.twitter.com/JBvoupNDka— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) July 26, 2019
It sure is good to be back. pic.twitter.com/LHmxDgXt9C— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 27, 2019
JuJu Smith-Schuster did not disappoint on Day 1, making several plays downfield to excite the Saint Vincent College crowd. He missed a play early in the session but was otherwise solid. pic.twitter.com/K3yFvtn2Hc— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) July 27, 2019
Mike Tomlin congratulating Eli Rogers, most likely for Rogers’ entrance on reporting day yesterday. pic.twitter.com/DJ2lQ6oyOI— Mike Prisuta (@DVEMike) July 26, 2019