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...
For the Steelers’ first round pick, Najee Harris, it has been so-far-so-good for the former Alabama product. Every test he’s been given, he has passed with flying colors.
- Handling the media — CHECK
- Getting the fans to love you — CHECK
- Rookie Minicamp — CHECK
- Organized Team Activities (OTAs) — CHECK
- Mandatory Minicamp — CHECK
- First padded practice of Training Camp — CHECK
But on Friday night, when the Steelers practiced in front of thousands at Heinz Field, Harris had his first rookie moment. No, not fumbling the football, but in the ‘backs on backers’ drill. In the first padded practice Harris was lauded for his work done against players like Marcus Allen and Robert Spillane.
Friday Mike Tomlin wanted to ramp it up and test Harris with Alex Highsmith and Jamir Jones. Let’s just say it didn’t end well for the 24th overall draft pick.
Just read some of the live tweets from practice:
Jamir Jones had his way with Najee Harris on a backs-on-backers rep. On the do-over, Harris was flagged for holding when he grappled with Jones, a former Notre Dame linebacker— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) July 30, 2021
Najee Harris was just embarrassed by Jamir Jones in backs on backers. Harris called for holding on the re-do— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) July 30, 2021
Jamir Jones put Najee Harris flat on his back in backs-on-backers. Next rep, Harris fared a little better, but he was flagged for a hold.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) July 30, 2021
It wasn’t the first mistake Harris has made so far in training camp, James Pierre stripped the ball from him Thursday, but it was the first time Harris didn’t step up to the challenge. Anyone who thinks this will somehow set him back, or means he won’t be a productive NFL player, doesn’t understand every player has these workouts.
Better to have these moments in training camp, compared to the regular season. Harris is still learning, and he will continue to learn and develop as a professional. The key at this point is does he improve and learn from his mistakes made Friday night.
Now let’s get to the rest of the news from Friday’s practice...
Mike Tomlin on the mic
Mike Tomlin welcomed fans to Heinz Field, and talked about how far everyone has come in the last 12 months.
Full pads again!
This was the second practice where the Steelers were in full pads. This would just set the scene for 11-on-11 work, and a very physical practice.
And yes, the Steelers are in full pads tonight. Will be working some red zone.— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) July 30, 2021
For this practice the Steelers welcomed NFL officials to help players realize what they would, and would not, be calling when they are in stadiums this season.
There are officials here for this evening's Steelers practice at Heinz Field.— Ray Fittipaldo (@rayfitt1) July 30, 2021
Who’s in? And who’s out?
First, the players who are returning to practice, in some way...
Kevin Dotson is in full pads tonight. Looks like he'll practice. That would be a first.— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) July 30, 2021
But, Dotson also is in shorts. He doesn't have any leg padding on. So, perhaps he'll just do individual work.— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) July 30, 2021
Now, the players who are still out...
JC Hassenauer still out for Steelers. But he's getting closer to a return.— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) July 30, 2021
TJ Watt still not practicing tonight— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) July 30, 2021
Cam Heyward getting the night off, as is Stephon Tuitt. Tuitt still hasn't practiced in this camp.— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) July 30, 2021
Eric Ebron still out, as well.— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) July 30, 2021
Jaylen Samuels not practicing tonight. He left practice early Thursday.— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) July 30, 2021
Now for your daily update on the Steelers’ ‘7 Shots’ drills. For those who don’t know, the ball is placed at the 2-yard line and 7 plays are run. Here is how it played out..
Defense wins 7 shots, 4-3. Rudolph had a nice fade to Claypool, but was picked by James Pierre on a fade on the other side intended for Diontae Johnson.— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) July 30, 2021
Haskins had a TD to Zach Gentry on an inside screen, but missed Benny Snell on his next pass.— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) July 30, 2021
Haskins went 1/2 in 7 shots, scoring a TD on a TE screen to Zach Gentry. Next one, he escaped the pocket, but missed Benny Snell on the run.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) July 30, 2021
Dobbs had a keeper up the middle, a shovel pass to Rader that was negated & hit Rader in the back of the EZ, but officials say he was out
Big run of the day belongs to...
This is the type of news Steelers fans love to see. Not only seeing how Anthony McFarland had a huge run, but also how it was Derek Watt used to help spring the speedy back for a 40-yard run.
Anthony McFarland had a 40-yard run. FB Watt on the wing led him through the hole. There was some pre-snap motion that seemed confuse the linebackers (Allen and Johnson). Opened a big hole.— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) July 30, 2021
Najee Harris knows how to run
While McFarland had the biggest run of the day, it isn’t as if Najee Harris didn’t have some decent runs. During a tackling run drill, Harris had 20 yards on 3 carries, with a long of 12 on his final carry.
Najee Harris got three carries, gained 20 yards, including 12 on his final carry. But he also dropped a pass in the flat from Mason Rudolph off play-action.— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) July 30, 2021
Chippy practice session
Considering this was just the second fully padded practice, there was obviously some frustration lashing out from players. It is typically this time of camp when the team is sick and tired of hitting each other. The Cowboys game next Thursday can’t come soon enough.
Live run drill ends with Kalen Ballage and Calvin Bundage going at it. Bundage blew up FB Trey Edmunds on a block, tackled Ballage hard in the backfield. Hilarity ensued.— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) July 30, 2021
At least 3 fights/scuffles already tonight— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) July 30, 2021
For those who were wondering how Chris Boswell has been doing, he and Sam Sloman practiced kicks from 28-41 yards. See how they did:
Chris Boswell and Sam Sloman alternated kicks of distances varying from 28-41 yards. Boswell was 7 of 8, Sloman 5 of 7. Percy Harvin was the holder for two of the misses. Jordan Berry was the holder when Sloman hit the upright from 36 yards.— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) July 30, 2021
BTSC Training Camp Recap Podcast
#LIVE: Hear from Tyson Alualu & then Missi & Bob wrap up this evening's practice at @heinzfield on Training Camp Wrap Up, presented by @UPMCHealthPlan.— Steelers Live (@SteelersLive) July 30, 2021
For more training camp coverage, watch @NFLNetwork. https://t.co/GJe9V4jj06