clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Steelers 2021 Training Camp Recap, Day 10: The return of Zach Banner is met with open arms

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back at Training Camp, and it is time to check out what went down during the latest practice!

Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

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 are fan favorites, then there are the players who will have the support of the fan base no matter what. These two categories are quite different, in my opinion, and right tackle Zach Banner would fall into the latter.

Maybe it was the “eligible receiver” player who captured fans’ hearts, the player who was willing to have some hard conversations after the horrible shooting of the Tree of Life synagogue or the player who won the right tackle job only to have his season take away after tearing his ACL in Week 1.

No matter what Banner does, the fan base just seems to be rooting extra hard for the former USC Trojan. Banner’s return to the team has been slow and steady, by design. Banner spoke at mandatory minicamp about the organization putting a “leash” on him and forcing him to take it slow upon his return.

That return started on Monday when Banner dressed for practice and participated in the short yardage drills during the padded practice. It was a small step, but a good step forward not just for Banner but the offensive line. It shouldn’t be a shock the line performed better with one of their anchors back in the trenches.

It is likely the Steelers don’t even dress Banner, but the fact the offensive line took a step forward with Banner in the lineup gives hope for the players up front. Expect Banner to get ramped up even more after the first preseason game vs. the Dallas Cowboys this Thursday.

Now onto the other news and notes from training camp practice Monday...

Banner Returns

As stated above, Banner’s return was a welcome sight. He stepped in and finally was able to put his hand in the pile, as Mike Tomlin would say.

Injury Update

No new injuries of note from Monday’s practice, but several players remained out for various reasons.

7 Shots

The famed drill which puts the football at the two-yard line and has the offense run seven straight plays saw the offense win the contest. See how things played out:

1-on-1

With every padded practice comes those 1-on-1 drills. Whether it is backs-on-backers or the open space drills. Today’s drill was geared to helping the ball carrier. The running back/fullback would be given the ball in space, and the linebacker/safety would have to make the play.

Bounce Back

Speaking of 1-on-1 drills, it was a edge setting drill which saw rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth get beaten badly Saturday. Monday the former Penn State Nittany Lion did better against Alex Highsmith.

Cam won’t be stopped again

In case you missed the report from Saturday, but there was a play where Cam Heyward pierced the interior of the offensive line, only to whiff on Najee Harris. It was a noteworthy play, but the Steelers’ defensive captain wasn’t about to be fooled again, and on Monday he proved that by bringing Harris down to the turf.

JuJu on the outside?

Every time JuJu Smith-Schuster was interviewed this offseason, which shockingly wasn’t often, he talked about playing more outside. The first few weeks saw him primarily in the slot, but Monday he got his shot, and he made the most of it. As Tomlin always says...the more you can do to help the team win.

Let the dust-ups continue

Another padded practice, another camp scuffle. This time it wasn’t just Dan Moore Jr., but it was also Kendrick Green who got into the mix. The two rookies were blocking Cam Heyward longer than the veteran defensive lineman liked...and he had something to say about it. Heyward is getting the best out of the rookies, and the rookies aren’t backing down. Iron sharpens iron.

When Snell is away, Ballage makes the plays

Benny Snell was missing from practice getting an injury evaluated, and Kalen Ballage stepped up in a big way. If Snell’s injury is considered long term, Ballage could find himself with a roster spot with the dust settles.

Aggressiveness on display

All offseason Adrian Klemm, and the players who play for him, talked about how the offensive line will be aggressive. The passive style won’t exist in the Canada/Klemm offense. And this wasn’t just a coach blowing smoke, he meant it. So far, the offensive line has been living it. For what they lack in experience they will make up for in tenacity. Not necessarily a bad approach.

Freiermuth continues to WOW

Another day, another big play by Pat Freiermuth. This is when everyone says, “But can he block?”

Big Ben deep passes

Are you one of the fans who has serious concerns about Ben Roethlisberger’s arm? Do you think he will continue to struggle with those deep/intermediate passes again in 2021? So far throughout training camp he hasn’t just shown the ability to make the throws, but has shown more accuracy. Both good signs for his play this upcoming season.

Rico does it again...

Rico Bussey is making a name for himself, and another one-handed catch Monday helps the Bussey legend grow.


BTSC Training Camp Recap Podcast


VIDEO


PHOTOS