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Steelers

Steeler Rookies Wage Individual Battles In First Padded Practice

By Matt Popchock
Jarvis Jones

Linebacker and top 2013 draftee Jarvis Jones put his skills to the test Monday in “backs-on-backers” drills at Steeler training camp. (Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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LATROBE, Pa. (93-7 THE FAN) — The highlight of the first day in pads was the “backs-on-backers” drill in which a running back and an occasional tight end has to pick up a blitzing linebacker.

The top two draft picks–linebacker Jarvis Jones and running back Le’Veon Bell–got the most reps, especially Bell. The rookie from Michigan State struggled at times, which can be expected since the linebackers have momentum, and the running backs aren’t allowed to cut block against the mostly bigger rushers.

The most jarring play was made by Jason Worilds, the fourth-year outside linebacker from Virginia Tech and Jones’ chief competitor. Worilds pancaked tight end David Paulson, prompting head coach Mike Tomlin to exclaim, “Come on D.P., that’s [B.S.]!” He ordered a do-over in which Paulson was able to redeem himself.

Bell, incidentally, looked better in the team drills running and catching the ball, and he earned snaps with the first team in the final session of the day.

That said, were those snaps of any significance?

“None…but you guys will run with it anyway, so go ahead,” Tomlin chuckled.

Tomlin also branded scrappy 5’7″ running back Curtis McNeal a “mean little sawed-off S.O.B.”

Meanwhile, offensive linemen seemed to get the better of their defensive counterparts in one-on-one drills. Linebacker LaMarr Woodley was floored on back-to-back reps, though nose tackle Steve McClendon schooled three-time Pro-Bowler Maurkice Pouncey when they went head-to-head.

MONDAY CAMP QUOTES:

“You think it’s only defensive guys? You can’t prove football in shorts, so it’s nice to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”

–Guard David DeCastro on wearing pads and hitting at practice on Monday.

“It doesn’t matter if they drafted someone or not, I feel like I have something to prove off of last year–to prove something to myself, to prove something to everyone around here and around the NFL that I can play in this league. I want to be great, I don’t want to be average. I want to be the best of the best.”

–Running back Jonathan Dwyer with The Fan Morning Show.

“I don’t think we care about what anybody thinks about us, the only thing that matters is what the 53 guys on our team think.  We know what we are working with.  We know what we need to do and that’s all that matters.”

–Offensive tackle Mike Adams on expectations following a non-playoff year and notable roster attrition.

(Jeff Hathhorn contributed to this report.)

RELATED LINKS:

KDKA-TV Steelers Training Camp Guide

Training Camp Coverage On The Fan Morning Show

More Pittsburgh Steelers News

More NFL News

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