LATROBE, Pa. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Pittsburgh Steelers training camp:
Martavis Bryant continues to look like another rookie who will make an immediate impact for the Steelers. Bryant added another strong practice to his body of work on Thursday, catching a pair of touchdown passes, including a 24-yarder from Brendon Kay during a two-minute drill. The rangy and speedy Bryant also caught a perfectly thrown deep ball from Bruce Gradkowski during a sequence in which he made three consecutive receptions. Gradkowski had extra time to throw because linebacker Terence Garvin, who had a bead on the veteran quarterback, pulled up because there was no hitting. Gradkowski still led Bryant perfectly and the fourth-round pick beat cornerback Antwon Blake for the score.
It has been a tough camp physically for one of the young players who has been the talk of it. A week after Justin Brown broke his nose while blocking Shamarko Thomas, the second-year wide receiver appeared to hurt his left shoulder after getting dragged down by cornerback Brice McCain following a short reception. Brown resumed practicing after getting checked out by the trainers and made a couple of catches. But his shoulder appeared to be bothering him as the Steelers were winding down their final practice of the week.
No. 3 quarterback Landry Jones flashed the talent that made him a fourth-round pick in 2013 but also the inconsistency that hasn’t quelled questions about the former Oklahoma star. Jones threw a perfect spiral on a pass that hit Derek Moye right between the numbers during an 11-on-11 drill. A couple of plays later, he held on to the ball too long before taking off, causing offensive coordinator Todd Haley to say, “Throw that, Landry.” Jones also looked terrific at the start of the two-minute drill, completing three consecutive passes and moving the offense 27 yards to midfield. But the promising drive quickly fizzled and stalled on the defense’s 47-yard line.
Defensive end Cameron Heyward did not practice for the second consecutive day. With nose tackle Steve McLendon still out because of a concussion, Hebron Fangupo played nose tackle with the first-team defense with Cam Thomas at right end and rookie Stephon Tuitt at left end. Rookie nose tackle Daniel McCullers made a nice play during 11-on-11 when he crashed through the line and batted down a Kay pass.
Strong safety Troy Polamalu and wide receiver Antonio Brown were given the day off. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin did not address reporters after practice since he held a news conference Thursday morning, so there was no injury update. Tomlin, however, has said virtually nothing about injuries except when pressed about specific players. Even then, he has taken vague to a new level. Inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, whom Tomlin has twice said has a “boo boo,” missed his third consecutive practice since limping off the practice field Sunday with a right knee injury. Sean Spence again played weakside inside linebacker with the first-team defense in place of Shazier.
The Steelers will hold a walkthrough Friday morning and leave for the New York area in the afternoon. They play the New York Giants on Saturday night in East Rutherford, N.J. Kickoff for the preseason opener for each team is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.