Monday, August 4, 2014
Steelers Camp Report: Day 9
By Scott Brown
LATROBE, Pa. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Pittsburgh Steelers training camp:
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looked sharp in leading a nine-play, 58-yard touchdown drive in the 2-minute drill that highlighted the Steelers’ sixth consecutive padded practice. Roethlisberger completed 6 of 8 passes and he capped the drive with a 5-yard scoring toss to Antonio Brown with no time left on the clock. The signature play of the drive, which came against the first-team defense, was a 27-yard catch by Markus Wheaton down the left sideline. The scoring drive may have received some assistance from Garrett Giemont. The Steelers’ conditioning coordinator negated a turnover when he ruled an incomplete pass instead of a fumble after safety Will Allen hit Dri Archer following a catch and jarred the ball loose.
Archer continues to flash his extra gear as well as his ability to cut and make people miss. Archer caught a ball in front of linebacker Lawrence Timmons in a one-on-one passing drill, put on the brakes as Timmons flew past him and then accelerated up the field. Later, in the same drill, Archer caught a pass in front linebacker Terence Garvin and showed such a burst in racing past Garvin that it seemed like one of those video games where there is a button for a turbo charge.
Shaun Suisham banged a 57-yard field goal that had more than enough leg and he may not have been the most impressive special-teams performer on Monday. Brad Wing, who is trying to win the punting job over eighth-year veteran Adam Podlesh, registered excellent hang time with some of his kicks. A handful of Wing’s punts were in the 5-second range as far as hang time. Anything over 4 1/2 seconds is generally considered quality hang time. Wing, who signed a futures contract last January, is still the only punter in camp. Podlesh has yet to report to St. Vincent College with the birth of a child imminent.
Rookie Stephon Tuitt played left defensive end with the first-team defense for the second consecutive day as Cam Thomas bumped over to nose tackle. Thomas has been filling in for Steve McLendon, who has missed the last two practices with what coach Mike Tomlin said was a minor injury.
Rookie inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, who appeared to hurt his right knee near the end of practice on Sunday, was held out of drills. Tomlin said the injury isn't serious. Also not practicing were center Maurkice Pouncey, cornerback Ike Taylor and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (concussion). Taylor was given a rare day off by Tomlin.
Starting free safety Mike Mitchell practiced for the first time at camp. Mitchell took part in drills the same day the Steelers took him off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Mitchell had been on the PUP list since July 25th because of a groin injury. Returning to practice from their respective injuries were linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (groin) and tight end Rob Blanchflower (ankle).
The players are off on Tuesday. They return to work on Wednesday and will practice from 2:55 to 5:30 p.m. ET.