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...
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been at training camp for weeks now, and they haven’t had any players holding out for any reason. If they are under contract, they are there at camp, whether it is at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex or Heinz Field. However, there is one player who has been in attendance, but hasn’t been a full participant.
By now, you should know I’m referring to T.J. Watt.
Watt showed up to camp on time, and has been at every single practice, but has not participated in any hitting/team drills. He has been working hard, but no one knew why he wasn’t a full participant in all facets of camp.
When defensive coordinator Keith Butler spoke with media after practice Saturday, he admitted the reason why Watt hasn’t been fully participating is due to his contract. In his 5th year option, the mega deal for Watt seems like a foregone conclusion, but Watt isn’t going to be participating fully until that deal gets done.
Keith Butler acknowledges that TJ Watt isn’t practicing because he has yet to sign his contract.— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) August 7, 2021
This is interesting from Steelers DC/OLBs coach Keith Butler on TJ Watt, who hasn't been in team drills at camp: "That's none of my business. I hope he signs a contract. When he gets that done, we'll talk."— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) August 7, 2021
Asked if that's why Watt is limited. Butz: "I don't blame him for that."
Butler, as a former NFL player, understands the contract aspect of the game, and just hopes the deal gets done sooner, rather than later.
As a former player, Butler says he doesn’t blame Watt for not being full go while waiting to get his deal done.— Tom Reed (@treed1919) August 7, 2021
Now for the other news from camp practice Saturday...
For the daily update on the ‘7 Shots’ drill, the offense came out of the gate extremely hot. Chase Claypool showing he is only going to get better, and that’s scary for defenses.
Chase Claypool just Moss'd Joe Haden in the corner of the end zone. Not much the CB could do there.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 7, 2021
James Washington with a monster combat catch over Justin Layne in back of the end zone in 7 shots.— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) August 7, 2021
Mason Rudolph went 2/2 in 7 shots, first on the completion to Washington, then hit Pat Freiermuth between Miles Killebrew and James Pierre.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 7, 2021
1-on-1 TE vs. LB
The Steelers then went into a 1-on-1 drill which put a tight end vs. a linebacker in coverage/space. For Devin Bush, his athleticism showed. For Melvin Ingram, not so much.
Melvin Ingram just took a coverage rep against Pat Freiermuth. Did not go well for the OLB/DE/edge-rusher, but ya know, iron sharpens iron.— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) August 7, 2021
OLine starting to take shape
While Watt remained out, the Steelers’ offensive line started to come together. For the first time in training camp, the projected book end tackles returned to the lineup. Chuks Okorafor at left tackle and Zach Banner at right tackle. In just one week, the offensive line has the look of what fans expected heading into 2021. The lone player who remains out is Kevin Dotson at left guard.
Chuks Okorafor and Zach Banner on the field for first-team in team run. This is the first time both have been on the field during team this year. Still no Dotson.— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) August 7, 2021
2 min Drill
The Steelers ran the two-minute drill during Saturday’s non-padded practice, and the first team offense’s drill was very short. However, the second string picked up the slack.
The backup offense 2-minute drill was far more successful. Biggest play was Mason Rudolph putting a deep ball on the money to UDFA wideout Isaiah McKoy along the right sideline, down to the 11. False start backed them up to the 16 but three plays later, 5-yard TD to Mathew Sexton pic.twitter.com/cg9hwUoXab— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) August 7, 2021
The Steelers continued with the competitive drills, this time with 7-on-7. There were some big plays to take place during this session.
James Pierre gets a forced fumble on Ray-Ray McCloud in 7-on-7. Mike Tomlin praises his “ball search” on that one, which is a buzz word from the Steelers defensive staff to encourage forced fumbles. Ball security on O, ball search on D.— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) August 7, 2021
During the Steelers Hall of Fame game, the team struggled on third downs. Mike Tomlin was asked about those issues after practice Saturday, and his response was all about situational football and preparedness.
BTSC Training Camp Recap Podcast
The @steelers are back at @heinzfield for practice!— Steelers Live (@SteelersLive) August 7, 2021
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#LIVE: Hear from @josh_dobbs1 and about everything that happened at today’s practice at @heinzfield on Training Camp Wrap Up, presented by @UPMCHealthPlan.— Steelers Live (@SteelersLive) August 7, 2021
For more Training Camp coverage, watch @NFLNetwork https://t.co/YqOJCarA1q