LATROBE, Pa. (93-7 THE FAN) – Day five of Steelers training camp came and went Thursday with what were probably the best conditions they’ve had all week, and if you had to score this one, it would be best described as a boxing match.
The defense reigned significant blows upon the offense, giving them the points in the early rounds, so to speak. One blow in particular came in the 11-on-11 live tackling drills, when Ryan Clark penetrated the backfield and laid an electrifying hit on Jonathan Dwyer that set the tone.
Things continued to go the wrong way for the offense, as Isaac Redman was stuffed consecutive times against the first-team unit. Later during the same drill offensive tackle Mike Adams was called offside by the officiating crew that attended today’s practice.
“You ain’t gonna get paid like that, 77!” head coach Mike Tomlin barked.
“I’m not going to ever describe Mike Adams’ performance in light of what happened. When doctors told us he had a clean bill of health and medical clearance, that is in our rear view mirror. I’m not going to judge him on a curve in regards to what happened,” he later elaborated. “He’s here to play football, earn a job, and be a positive contributor to our efforts. He gets no extra credit for that.”
The offense would later gain some momentum against the defense. In offensive-line-versus-defensive-line drills, Tomlin continued to test first-round draft pick Jarvis Jones. He went up against Adams in a blocking drill, and Adams fought off Jones three consecutive times.
That drill gave the linemen another opportunity to test the new blocking scheme employed by new offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr.–a scheme that seems to be coming naturally to rookie running back Le’Veon Bell.
“I feel like I’m an instinctive runner. I’m a patient runner. That’s something Michigan State really helped me [with],” Bell said. “So I’m kind of used to the inside-outside zone, and reading holes, and being patient at the top. I’m going to continue to grow as a player and get better with it.”
Linebacker Jason Worilds and rookie guard Nik Embernate both came out of the drill with injuries. Worlids limped off with what was described as “minor discomfort” in his big toe; however, Embernate was carted off with “a significant knee injury,” as Tomlin put it.
“Maybe limit him a day or two, we’ll see where that goes,” Tomlin said of Worilds.
In the final drill of the practice, the offense made up for their earlier lack of execution. In the no-huddle drill they capped off five consecutive passing plays on which quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit five different receivers, with the final four passes going for 20-plus yards.
Tomlin said he is overall pleased with what he’s seen so far here at camp.
“It’s about giving them the opportunity to play football. We got a lot of young guys, and we’ve got to find as many means as we can to sort those guys out. That is what it’s about.”
The Steelers will hold their annual nighttime public practice Friday at 5:30. Due to unplayable conditions at Latrobe Stadium, it will take place at Saint Vincent College.