It isn’t Saint Vincent College, but it hasn’t been Latrobe, PA since 2019. The Pittsburgh Steelers are taking in their 2021 Training Camp between Heinz Field and their UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the Southside of Pittsburgh.
What went down during the latest training camp practice? That is where this article comes in. Check out all that was said, as well as photos and videos from the day’s workouts.
Here we go...
There were several positions which can be deemed as weak entering the 2021 offseason. Tight end might not be atop the list, but it would certainly make the cut. And this isn’t breaking news. Fans knew it, coaches knew it and so did the players. That was a driving force behind the Steelers taking Pat Freiermuth in the 2nd Round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and the focus on the position remains in training camp.
In fact, the primary tight end tandem Eric Ebron and Freiermuth were in front of the media, and they are focused on changing the perception of the position in 2021. In fact, their tight end room has a nickname, courtesy of new TE coach Alfredo Roberts, and it is “the bad asses”.
This year’s Tight End room nickname - The Bad Asses - brought to you by new TE coach Alfredo Roberts.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) July 27, 2021
Ebron: “Tight ends, we should be bad asses. We should block ass. We should be able to run badass routes. And we should be able to score on anybody in a badass way.” pic.twitter.com/LGWKGD7CZZ
They say admitting you have a problem is the first step, and that would describe where the team’s tight end depth chart currently resides.
Now onto the other news from Monday’s practice at Heinz Field...
No Big Ben
Fans who constantly criticize the Steelers giving Ben Roethlisberger days off won’t like this news, but Mike Tomlin excuses Roethlisberger from practice Monday for personal reasons. He is expected back for the first padded practice of camp Wednesday.
No Ben Roethlisberger today at practice. Tomlin said that he excused him for personal reasons.— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) July 27, 2021
Mike Tomlin said QB Ben Roethlisberger was excused from practice Tuesday for personal reasons. He is expected to practice Wednesday when the pads come out and fans are in the stands.— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) July 27, 2021
Injury Update...sort of
If you were looking for an injury update, this is about as close as we go from head coach Mike Tomlin after Monday’s practice:
“Had a number of guys that missed some work for a variety of reasons, most of which we’ve been talking about. I gave Ben (Roethlisberger) the day off for personal reasons. He’s been excused by me. We look forward to getting him back tomorrow. Other guys that are working their way back, getting back to us, we’d expect those guys to be back in a short number of days.”
A lot still to prove
A huge part of the issues surrounding the tight end position has been their blocking, or lack thereof. Freiermuth has been flashing his pass catching/play making abilities throughout camp thus far, but with pads being donned soon, fans will soon know what their 2nd round pick can do, from a blocking perspective.
TE Pat Freiermuth can catch. Can he block?— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) July 27, 2021
"It's hard to show you can block with (only) helmets on. My job is to make catches and block ends and block LBs. I've had a good couple days but the real work starts tomorrow when the pads go on and I've got to prove I can block D-ends."
We don’t draft first round picks to not block
Don’t think Eric Ebron doesn’t know what drafting Najee Harris being drafted in the first round means for the tight ends. Just watch...
Fun exchange I had just now with Eric Ebron here. I’ll have a Steelers column up later. pic.twitter.com/lLALudv9o0— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) July 27, 2021
How good were the TEs at blocking last year? Try terrible...
Speaking of Ebron’s honesty, is there anything more honest than his comments on how poor the tight ends were last year?
"... all should do better, including myself. Yeah, if you want to get paid and you want to perform and you want to be amongst the best, you've got to be able to block. Yeah, that's a pivotal part of our focus this year." 2/2— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) July 27, 2021
BTSC Training Camp Recap Podcast
#SteelersCamp practice is #LIVE at @heinzfield!— Steelers Live (@SteelersLive) July 27, 2021
Watch Training Camp Live, presented by @FedEx, an exclusive daily live look-in at #SteelersCamp!
For more training camp coverage, watch @NFLNetwork. https://t.co/6INOD7G0qy
#LIVE: Hear from Coach Tomlin and about all that happened at today’s practice at @heinzfield on Training Camp Wrap Up, presented by @UPMCHealthPlan.— Steelers Live (@SteelersLive) July 27, 2021
For more training camp coverage, watch @NFLNetwork. https://t.co/8vurOP2357