The Pittsburgh Steelers have over a week of training camp practices under their belt now, and while there are times it is still considered “football in shorts”, the team has had plenty of news coming from these workouts heading into the preseason.
With the team’s first preseason game this Friday, the Steelers continued to put the final touches on their preparation for the upcoming exhibition game. Wednesday’s practice was also the final time fans will get to see the team before their game vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday at Heinz Field.
The team will practice Thursday, but it will be closed to the public. Nonetheless, there was news, outside of Joe Haden’s mysterious/not-so-serious injury, and it is now time to dive into that news...
Offense wins...again. Is this drill just a formality anymore? While there are occasions where the outcome is disputed, a quarterback sack or a player out of bounds, but the Steelers offense has dominated the defense in this goal-line drill. If my memory serves me, the defense has only won this drill one time, and Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t participating on that day. This is an aspect of the team I am anxious to see on Friday night.
Offense wins seven shots, 4-3. Roethlisberger went after Bush three straight times for TDs. But Kam Kelly ends it with an interception against Rudolph on a pass intended for Kevin Rader. #Steelers #dkps— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 7, 2019
P.J. Locke sighting
When the Steelers signed former Texas Longhorn safety P.J. Locke, everyone thought he could be a depth piece on a team needing help at the safety position. However, throughout training camp there has been little-to-no news surrounding Locke...until Wednesday. During the Seven Shots drill, it was Locke, and not Kameron Kelly, filling in for Sean Davis. Locke got an opportunity, but whether he seized that opportunity is up for debate.
Undrafted free agent PJ Locke took the 1st-team reps at free safety for Seven Shots today. Sean Davis still out with finger dislocation. Kam Kelly has taken his place with starters every practice since. Kelly was 2nd team today; he had an INT.— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) August 7, 2019
Boswell remains strong
Chris Boswell is, and should, remain a focal point of training camp. His success, or failure, will determine how the team handles his hefty contract/bonus at the end of the preseason. If the early portions of camp are any indication, Boswell has been rock solid, and he had another good performance on Wednesday.
Mike Tomlin did say Boswell and Matthew Wright will alternate kicks on Friday night at Heinz Field.
Boswell a perfect 6 for 6 including 52— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) August 7, 2019
Lot of pop in Chris Boswell’s leg today, bombing several thru from 53 that woulda been good from 60— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) August 7, 2019
Zach Banner impressing
Leading up to training camp everyone was talking about the right tackle battle between Matt Feiler, Chukwuma Okorafor and Jerald Hawkins. But there was another player no one was talking about, but was on the 53-man roster last year, and that is none other than the mountain of a man named Zach Banner.
Wednesday, it was made clear the depth at tackle involves Banner. Banner has drawn positive comments from Mike Tomlin, and with each poor practice Jerald Hawkins has it seems Banner might be paving his way to the 53-man roster for a second straight season.
Glimpse into QB rotation throughout preseason
If you are a fan who was trying to draw conclusions into Joshua Dobbs starting the game Friday night, think again. Tomlin typically gives his most seasoned backup the start in Week 1. He did this for Landry Jones, and is doing the same with Dobbs. What will be interesting to see is how he handles Weeks 2 and 3 with Dobbs and Mason Rudolph. Nonetheless, Rudolph spoke with ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler recently and gave an outline as to what the team might be thinking as the preseason progresses, in regards to the quarterback rotation.
With QB Dosh Dobbs starting Steelers' first preseason game, Mason Rudolph told me recently he wouldn't be surprised if all three backups, including Devlin Hodges, start a preseason game. "Probably somewhat like lsat year but I don't care, I'm ready to play and execute."— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 7, 2019