Steelers Camp Report: Day 8


LATROBE, Pa. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Pittsburgh Steelers training camp:

  • Rookie inside linebacker Ryan Shazier limped off the field at the end of practice but Steelers coach Mike Tomlin dismissed it as “a little boo boo.” Shazier, the Steelers’ first-round pick in May, hurt his lower leg after making a nice stop on running back Le'Veon Bell in a red-zone drill. A Steelers trainer appeared to be looking at his right knee but Tomlin sidestepped a question on whether Shazier had indeed hurt the knee. Tomlin said the Steelers came out of practice with “just normal bumps and bruises.”

  • Dri Archer, as fast as he is, is not just a straight-line speedster. The rookie proved that with one of the most impressive plays of camp. Archer flashed through a hole on the left side during an 11-on-11 tackling drill and turned around several defenders with sharp cuts on the way to a long gain. “Uh-oh, Danny Smith!” Tomlin said after the run to the Steelers’ special teams coordinator. Archer will return kickoffs, and his big-play potential could allow the Steelers to use Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown only as a situational punt returner.

  • Tauren Poole also ripped off a long run during the 11-on-11 tackling drill, and the overall success by the Steelers’ ground game during that period left veteran defensive line coach John Mitchell fuming. “They’re knocking our [butts] back,” he said to his players at one point.

  • Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was given his first day off at camp, providing more work for Bruce Gradkowski and Landry Jones. Jones made a bad throw early, waiting too long to pull the trigger on a pass to a wide-open tight end Bryce Davis and then throwing it behind him. Jones rebounded with several nice throws later when he had time to go through his reads. The No. 3 quarterback was also part of the most impressive play of the day after Archer's run. Jones threw a pass that a leaping Justin Brown caught in the back corner of the end zone. Brown, who practiced for a second consecutive day with a visor protecting his broken nose, received a shout out from Tomlin for the catch in the red-zone drill. Rookie wide receiver Martavis Bryant also made a superb grab, showing his speed and length by tracking down a long Gradkowski pass down the left sideline and reeling it in with outstretched arms.

  • Rookie Stephon Tuitt played left defensive end with the first-team defense with Cam Thomas playing nose tackle for the second consecutive practice in place of Steve McLendon. McLendon was given another day off by Tomlin. Linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (groin) and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (concussion) did not practice. Rookie cornerback Shaquille Richardson returned to practice after sitting out drills Saturday because of groin tightness.

  • The Steelers practice Monday from 2:55 to 5:30 p.m. ET. The players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday.