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Steelers training camp notebook: Offense shines under the Friday night lights

The offense had it’s best showing, and Kenny Pickett looks poised for the season ahead.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens (14) and quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) react between drills during training camp at Saint Vincent College. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Friday night lights practice is a great tradition of Steelers training camp. The players get a glimmer of nostalgia, riding to Latrobe Memorial Stadium in school buses to a hoard of fans that are ready to get their first look at what the season has in store.

In terms of what the fans saw, they didn’t leave disappointed, as the stars of the Steelers looked ready. Here are my three big takeaways from the Steelers’ Friday night lights practice.

The offense won the day

Throughout team drills, Kenny Pickett and the offense were in synch. In seven shots, the offense beat the defense 6-1, including a touchdown run from Pickett that saw him sneak the ball inside the pilon before avoiding a crowd of media members on the sideline and in the back of the end zone.

Pickett also tossed touchdowns to Diontae Johnson and Allen Robinson, before Mitch Trubisky came in and delivered a pair of touchdown passes of his own to Gunner Olszewski and Calvin Austin III.

In addition to seven shots, the receivers really owned the day. Allen Robinson made multiple circus catches, including an over the shoulder grab in the end zone while matched up against Duke Dawson in one-on-ones. George Pickens was his usual self, as well. He tipped a pass to himself in the end zone and caught the ball while falling to the ground. Although it was waived off due to the second-year receiver stepping out of bounds, it was a great effort that earned a nice crowd pop from the fans.

Overall, it was a day where it felt like on nearly every play, everyone on the beat would give each other that look of “Oh, well wasn’t that something?” Pickett looked poised, unphased, and alert to any pressure that got through, and he was getting the ball where it needed to go while his receivers made plays all evening- a big night for the offense.

Broderick Jones continues to ascend

It feels all but certain that Broderick Jones will be the Week 1 starter at left tackle at this point. He had another solid practice, especially in protection drills. He kept Nick Herbig in check, which is something that no one else has been able to do since camp started. He also did well in one-on-one pass rushing drills.

While Jones’ stock rises, Dan Moore continues to be inconsistent. He got beat multiple times, both in team drills and position drills. The left tackle spot has always felt like it would fall in favor of Jones, but now it really feels like Jones’ job to lose.

The defense looks deeper than expected

While the offense won the day, that doesn’t mean the defense didn’t have their own moments. And when the time comes, it’s going to be hard for the Steelers to let go of some of these defenders because a lot of them brought their best work to the table on Friday.

Defensive lineman Toby Ndukwe had a few nice showings in pass-rushing drills, beating offensive tackle Dylan Cook in one rather convincing rep. Isaiahh Loudermilk is another defensive lineman who also had a very productive day, busting through center Ryan McCollum in protection drills, and applying pressure during team drills, as well. Armon Watts had some flashes, too, flattening center Kendrick Green in position drills

In the secondary, cornerback Luq Barcoo had several pass breakups in one-on-ones. Elijah Riley continued his week of success by making a few nice plays on the ball, as well.

These are bubble guys that are showing up and making it harder to give them their pink slips. Having said that, having too many good players is a good problem to have.