The Pittsburgh Steelers were back out in pads again Monday, and head coach Mike Tomlin and crew were ready to get this new year started right.
There is an old adage which states certain things always start out faster than the opposition. In baseball, pitching always trumps hitting early in the season before batters settle in, and in football a defense is told to be ahead of the curve compared to the offense.
When you think about it, it makes sense.
New acquisitions, whether they are rookies or free agent pick-ups, take time to gel. The cohesion between an offensive line, quarterback and offensive weapons is something which takes time.
With that said, when you consider the veteran laden Pittsburgh defense, it is no shock the Steelers’ defense has been coming out on top of team sessions. But that doesn’t mean the offense isn’t starting to gain some ground.
“It’s a known fact that offensive cohesion probably takes a little bit longer (to develop) than defensive cohesion,” Mike Tomlin said after practice. “The timing and the ability to get a sense of that timing and work collectively is much more important. We’ve had a number of guys miss some time due to natural things that this process presents, so it’s good to see those guys coming together and I’m not surprised that maybe sometimes defensive collective maturation happens a little faster.”
But as you read the practice report from Monday, you see the Steelers’ offense is starting to gain some ground on the defense, and it all started with the two-minute drill.
“The Steelers started their competition period with a two-minute drill where the offense had to go 47 yards for a touchdown with 1:21 on the clock. Both the first and second-team offenses scored touchdowns. Roethlisberger got off to a slow start and used 12 plays before connecting with JuJu Smith-Schuster from 3 yards out. Rudolph needed nine plays before hooking up with Chase Claypool for a 3-yard score. Smith-Schuster caught a touchdown in the red zone later in practice.”
There was other news from Day 10 of training camp practice...
Let’s get to it...
With the Steelers back on the field, and several players returned to practice who had missed time prior:
Players who weren’t practicing were:
David DeCastro (lower body)
Anthony McFarland (concussion)
Kam Canaday (knee)
This per Missi Matthews of Steelers.com:
ICYMI on Training Camp Live...— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) August 31, 2020
Not practicing: Dave DeCastro, Anthony McFarland, and Kam Canaday.
In pads: Diontae Johnson, Ryan Switzer, Vance McDonald, Terrell Edmunds, and Chris Wormley #SteelersCamp
As noted above, the following players were back, in some capacity, and are working their way back.
Ryan Switzer (foot)
Chris Wormely (shoulder)
Wendell Smallwood (shoulder)
Terrell Edmunds (knee)
Vance McDonald (undisclosed)
Coach Tomlin said Ryan Switzer, Chris Wormley, and Wendell Smallwood are working their way back into practice participation. #SteelersCamp— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) August 31, 2020
Kerrith Whyte Jr.
Those who were previously injured and remained out of practice were:
Derwin Gray (knee)
Alexander Myres (groin)
Ryan Switzer (foot) (day-to-day)
Kam Canaday (knee)
Derek Watt (unknown) (working back)
After practice, Mike Tomlin addressed the media and said David DeCastro injury was labeled “lower body” but is hopeful he will be back sooner than later. To read more about the injury report, click HERE.
Bud’s got jokes
During Monday’s Zoom interview, Bud Dupree was very jovial with reports, even making a joke about how he turned down a 2-year, $200 million dollar contract. It was all in good fun, and you can check out the video below via Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Breaking: Bud Dupree and the Steelers almost came to an agreement to make him the NFL’s highest-paid player ever pic.twitter.com/xixUGp4y4U— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) August 31, 2020
Grievance not decided
Speaking of Dupree, there was the entire grievance his agent/representation filed over the position he is labeled for the franchise tag. The Steelers, as the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) states, label Dupree as a linebacker. However, Dupree feels he should be considered a defensive end/pass rusher. The difference? A couple million dollars. Dupree told reporters there was no news on the grievance front.
Bud Dupree says his franchise tag grievance on being classified as a LB vs. DE is still in the process right now. "In the type of defense that we play, I feel like d-ends and linebackers are all the same category. It's a new style that defense are playing in the NFL."— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 31, 2020
Inside linebacker coach Jerry Olsavsky spoke openly about a lot of players, and Vince Williams was one of those players. He answered the question of what keeps Williams hanging around...this per Brooke Pryor of ESPN:
What keeps Vince Williams around?— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 31, 2020
Jerry O: "Vince is a professional way, the same way Dr. Bradley is a professional and lawyers are professionals."
"He recognizes weaknesses and goes after them with a vengeance. "
Marcus Allen likes to hit
Why does Olsavsky like Marcus Allen being in the inside linebacker room? I’ll just let him tell you. This per Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
“(Safety Marcus Allen) likes to hit people, so he has no problem playing inside linebacker.” pic.twitter.com/PyHPDCQTYi— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) August 31, 2020
The Green Dot
Last season there was a weekly discussion as to which defender was wearing the green dot on his helmet. This dot is the communication helmet with the speakers in it for coach communication. Typically it is one of the inside linebackers who wears this helmet. Who will it be in 2020? Olsavsky isn’t sure just yet.
Mark Barron wore the green dot for communication last year. Jerry O says this year's wearer of that hasn't been decided yet: "The green dot is still up for grabs. That's for the coach Tomlin interview. I don't control the green dot."— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 31, 2020
Tomlin on Coach Thompson
The passing of former Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson hit Mike Tomlin hard. He talked about it after practice Monday.
Mike Tomlin on the death of legendary former Georgetown coach John Thompson, whom he called a “mentor”— pic.twitter.com/18PJP2bTln— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) August 31, 2020
A recap of the day’s happenings, in audio form:
Live Look-In at Practice
Today’s #SteelersCamp practice is #LIVE at @heinzfield!— SteelersNationUnite (@SteelersUnite) August 31, 2020
Watch Training Camp Live, presented by @FedEx, an exclusive daily live look-in at #SteelersCamp!
For more training camp coverage, watch NFL Network. https://t.co/ObHkgO9Wnd
Mike Tomlin Post-Practice Conference
#LIVE: @missi_matthews & @CraigWolfley wrap up what Coach Tomlin said in his post-practice media session, what they saw at #SteelersCamp and more on Training Camp Wrap Up, presented by @UPMCHealthPlan!— SteelersNationUnite (@SteelersUnite) August 31, 2020
For more training camp coverage, watch NFL Network. https://t.co/DLBN7UBsMq