The Pittsburgh Steelers were back out in pads again Tuesday, well shells, and head coach Mike Tomlin and crew were ready to get this new year started right. The light practice resulted in the team moving practice indoors, we’ll get to that in a second, but a constant which has been discussed throughout this strange training camp has been a specific fourth year defensive back.
A player who can seemingly do it all.
None other than Cam Sutton.
Whether it be Tom Bradley’s glowing remarks of Sutton Monday, Keith Butler giving props on Monday or Mike Tomlin’s quotes following Tuesday’s practice, Sutton is a man who can seemingly do it all.
“(Cam Sutton’s) best position might just be versatility,” said Tomlin. “I know that from a role standpoint he has embraced that with us. Cam [Sutton] is a guy who is outside corner capable, nickel capable, dime capable, safety capable and, really, he displays that just about daily and within the same drills. His versatility has been an asset to us. He really has earned his way into the rotation in terms of being a core component of our base defense inside and in the sub-packages. But that is just the means on which he got on the bus. I don’t want to put him in that box. He has a well-rounded skill-set and continues to prove to us that he is very versatile.”
The saying always is ‘the more you can do’, and in Sutton’s case it couldn’t be more accurate. Inside, outside, safety, sub package specialist. He can do it all, and it very well might pay off. Literally.
Sutton is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and he will get paid somewhere no matter what, the question is will it be in Pittsburgh? The Steelers will have to decide between Sutton and Mike Hilton, who is playing under a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) tender, at season’s end.
The more you can do...
There was other news from Day 7 of training camp practice...
Let’s get to it...
After Monday’s workout, the Steelers gave a couple players the day off to help preserve their bodies before the Week 1 game vs. the Giants. Those players were:
JuJu Smith-Schuster (second day in a row)
Previously injured players who remained out of practice were:
Wendell Smallwood (shoulder)
Chris Wormley (shoulder)
Terrell Edmunds (undisclosed)
Kevin Dotson (knee)
Diontae Johnson (undisclosed)
Chuks Okorafor (groin)
Derwin Gray (knee)
Anthony Johnson (knee)
Continuing to sit out practice for Steelers are Dotson (knee), Edmunds (undisclosed), Jarron Jones (new injury), Anthony Johnson (leg), Diontae Johnson (calf), Smallwood (shoulder), Wormley (shoulder) and Okorafor (groin). TE Vance McDonald had the day off.— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) August 25, 2020
Unfortunately, there were some new injuries for the Steelers during practice Tuesday. Ryan Switzer injured his foot and was unable to return, the same can be said about Kerrith Whyte Jr. (groin) and Alexander Myres (groin). They are all being evaluated.
Coach Tomlin said Ryan Switzer (foot), Kerrith Whyte (groin) and Alexander Myres (groin) are being evaluated.— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) August 25, 2020
As stated earlier, the Steelers’ were scheduled to practice at the friendly confines of Heinz Field, but decided to move practice into the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex’s indoor field. Why? There was a threat of inclement weather, and Mike Tomlin didn’t want to lose any more practice time after having to cut Saturday evening’s practice short.
Tomlin on why he moved practice: We got dumped on this morning with some rain. We also had some other potential lightning-like stuff on the radar. We didn’t want to combat that today. We lost a part of a day recently because of that. We exercised some precaution ..."— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) August 25, 2020
Make or break year for Big Dan
There is an ongoing joke among the Steelers fan base regarding how Daniel McCullers has stayed on the team for so long. I’ll spare you the details, but it seems as if McCullers is at the end of his rope with Keith Butler.
The defensive coordinator spoke with media Tuesday morning, and spoke about how it is now or never for McCullers as he hopes to claim the nose tackle position after Javon Hargrave jettisoned for the Eagles via free agency.
Keith Butler said this has to be the year for Dan McCullers to put it all together. He said with as big as he is, playing in the okie he is going to be over the center and has to push him back and put him in the QBs lap. Said it's a make it or break it year for McCullers.— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 25, 2020
More praise for Cam Sutton
Didn’t I say earlier that Tomlin wasn’t the only one to talk about Cam Sutton in a positive light? Butler also heaped the praise on Sutton, claiming he is “smart enough to play most every position in the secondary.”
Keith Butler on Cam Sutton: "He's smart enough to play most every position in the secondary."— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 25, 2020
Chase “stone hands” Claypool
Butler might be one of the best interviews on the Steelers’ coaching staff. His aw shucks southern vibe provides some great quotes. None greater than the way he described Chase Claypool when he first caught a glimpse of the team’s top draft pick.
“I thought he had brick hands early.”
All joking aside, Butler did say Claypool has turned it on in recent weeks, and how he can be a big-time player for the Steelers.
Keith Butler said Claypool makes it tough on his defense to defend him. Said he had some drops ("I thought he had brick hands early") early but has really turned things on the past week. #Steelers #dkps— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 25, 2020
Hand fighting 101
What makes T.J. Watt so dominant? His crazy work ethic certainly is one way, but the other way would be his ability to work on his hand usage. Being able to work your hands as a pass rusher is half the battle, and Watt’s work has shown since he was drafted.
He and Bud Dupree work on their hands as much as possible, mainly during special teams periods of practice.
T.J. said him and Bud Dupree "have been working on their hands like crazy" during ST periods of practice.— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) August 25, 2020
Said of Dupree: Just the intensity he's bringing...and he's made a ton of plays this #SteelersCamp.
Watt has high praise for Banner and Chuks
Just yesterday, we reported how Watt has been abusing both Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor, both right tackles, on a regular basis, but Watt was complimentary of both linemen’s work in practice. Then again, you didn’t think Watt would give them that much credit, did you?
TJ Watt complimentary of both Zach Banner and Chuks Okorafor for their work in practice. ... But a caveat at the end:— Will Graves (@WillGravesAP) August 25, 2020
"At the end of the day I trust my abilities and it doesn’t matter who they put out there.”#Steelers
Spikeball Championship coming up!
Last week the game Spikeball made its way into the Steelers’ locker room. These uber competitive athletes took to the two-man partner game quickly, and they have been competing all training camp.
It is a 2 vs. 2 game, and Watt and Tyson Alualu are preparing for a championship match vs. Stephon Tuitt and Cam Heyward.
Who will win? I’m sure we will hear about it sooner, rather than later.
T.J. Watt said @CamHeyward brought the Spikeball game in. He said they are all competitive individuals and him and Tyson Alualu are pointblank unstoppable. They have a championship match against Heyward and Stephon Tuitt tomorrow.— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 25, 2020
A recap of the day’s happenings, in audio form:
Live Look-In at Practice
Mike Tomlin Post-Practice Conference
With practice being moved, and no reporters available, there has been no video posted from practice Monday.