Steelers Training Camp Update: Defense Holds Its Own Against Rookie RB Bell
LATROBE, Pa. (93-7 THE FAN) — The first full week of Steelers training camp continued Wednesday, and the day began with an 11-on-11 team drill devoted chiefly to the team’s running game.
The defense, for the most part, had the better of play in this drill, but rookie rusher Le’Veon Bell did rip off two consecutive long gains. The first came up the middle against the first-team nickel grouping, and the second was a cutback against the second-team base (3-4) defense, showing he appears to have the sort of instincts on which the Steelers like to rely.
The following team drill was pass-oriented, and Ben Roethlisberger went a solid 4-for-4. The first completion was on a deep sideline route to Antonio Brown despite good coverage by William Gay, followed by a shorter play made by Jericho Cotchery.
Emmanuel Sanders caught Big Ben’s third pass when Ike Taylor slipped on a comeback, and, finally, tight end David Paulson made a nice one-handed grab against the grain.
Rookie receiver Markus Wheaton received loud props from head coach Mike Tomlin (“Nice finish, 1-1! Nice finish! Nice ball security!” he called out to the Oregon State product). It was a tougher day, however, for rookie quarterback Landry Jones; Tomlin showed displeasure with him for a fumble forced by Troy Polamalu–even though the play was dead–and he misfired to receivers David Gilreath and Derek Moye on a couple occasions.
Among the other highlights of the passing drill was a play on which Roethlisberger avoided throwing to Sanders despite seeing him open because the former was unsure where the safety was. It is believed the Steelers will run that play again later this week.
On another interesting play, Roethlisberger got Stephenson Sylvester to bite on a play-fake and audibly frustrated the young linebacker by hitting tight end Matt Spaeth in stride.
As the sun gave way to a steady drizzle at Saint Vincent College, the day concluded with offensive-line-versus-defensive-line drills. Rookie free agent Joe Long held off outside linebacker Jason Worilds–who has looked good in camp thus far–twice in a row, so Tomlin ordered a third rep.
Worilds responded by humbling Long with an inside spin maneuver.
Tune into The Fan Morning Show (5:40-10:00 a.m. weekdays on SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan) with Gregg Giannotti, Paul Alexander, and Jim Colony Thursday for more Steelers training camp coverage as we broadcast live from Latrobe.
(Jim Colony contributed to this report.)