Steelers 2022 Training Camp Diary: Day Seven

Lower key practice today at Saint Vincent College. Team not working in pads, just shells, which I believe is NFL mandated. But team should be back in pads tomorrow. Great weather, good crowd, so let’s talk about what happened today.

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Camp Notes (Day Seven)

– Injury Report: Not practicing today included: RB Najee Harris (foot), RB Jeremy McNichols (shoulder, he’s reverted to IR), WR Chase Claypool (right shoulder), S Karl Joseph (personal), S Miles Killebrew (pec), LB Marcus Allen (hamstring), TE Pat Freiermuth (hamstring), CB Levi Wallace (illness), and OT Chukwuma Okorafor (unknown). Didn’t see Okorafor at the start of practice but he was on the field partway through. No visible sign of an injury that kept him out but he seems to be dealing with something. Freiermuth went through some of the TE drills, on the chutes and sled, at just a slightly slower speed than the other, fully healthy tight ends. He’s very close to a return. Claypool isn’t far behind and ran aggressively on the side during special teams sessions. Obviously he’s not dealing with a leg injury but moving his body around like that means he’s very close. Freiermuth could be back by tomorrow and it wouldn’t surprise me.

DL Cam Heyward and EDGE T.J. Watt were on the field but didn’t go through team sessions today. Healthy just proven guys who could use some breaks. Chances for younger guys to work. Derrek Tuszka got first team reps at LOLB, Isaiahh Loudermilk at RDE with the 1’s.

– Newly signed RB Master Teague III will take McNichols’ old number of 33. Teague worked full today and is a rocked up, huge running back. Just how Pittsburgh likes them.

– Referees were on hand for today’s practice. Imagine they’ll hang around the next couple of days.

– Despite it being 90 degrees today, as he almost always dresses, Mike Tomlin was in all-black. Long sleeves, long pants. His sign of solidarity with the team.

– With Okorafor out, Joe Haeg and Trent Scott rotated in at RT. Haeg got first crack but he didn’t run with the 1’s all day. Kevin Dotson worked 1st team LG to start with the 2nd team line looking like:

C.Green-K.Green-Hassenauer-Leglue-Haeg/Scott.

But there’s been a lot of mixing and matching and I saw Leglue work at left tackle today. He’s continuing to showcase his versatility.

– Even on warmups and in air, Matt Canada yelling out the fundamentals: “Ball security, ball security, ball security!” he called out.

– Mitch Trubisky briefly held for kicks during warmups today. No actual kicks but a rep or two in case of emergency, something that was needed last year.

– I’ll have to check my notes but Anthony Miller may have set – or at least tied – the punt return challenge today with seven footballs caught, falling down on his back on the seventh but making the play nonetheless. He didn’t even consider trying eight but it was a job well done.

– Frisman Jackson’s voice is easily heard during positional work with the receivers always working on the near field closest to the fans/bleachers.

“Get out of there!” he yelled to Tyler Snead, urging him to get vertical quicker on his go route.

– Finally, we have some punting info for you. Working in full today. Do want to note the first-team upback/wing combination saw Tre Norwood as the starting upback with Benny Snell as the left wing and Donovan Stiner as the right wing. Decent sign for Stiner. Jaylen Warren worked as second team upback with Anthony McFarland right wing and Javon McKinley left wing. Marcus Allen is normally the starting upback but is sidelined and watched during the session.

Ok, here are hangtimes and yardages for the punters. The first punt listed is from the offense’s 45, a more coffin corner/pin deep punt, so I don’t have yardage for that, though neither recorded a touchback. I have hangtimes for that. The rest are open air punts, one at the one yard line and the rest at the offense’s 21 where I have hangtime and yardage and any special notes for below.

Pressley Harvin III: 4.59, 4.72 (57 yards), 4.77 (48 yards), 4.69 (36 yards), 4.82 (47 yards), 4.66 (47 yards, ball landed out of bounds though), 5.05 (49 yards).

Cameron Nizialek: 4.29, 4.73 (60 yards), 4.72 (56 yards), 4.86 (52 yards, out of bounds), 4.66 (55 yards), 3.84 (30 yards, shanked out of bounds right sideline).

Nizialek had better distance, Harvin better hangtime and Harvin was a little more consistent. So I’ll give Harvin the edge here. Both were good, not great overall.

– Didn’t track kickers much today but Nick Sciba did hit one from 50 yards out. Looked like he had a good session overall with a solid leg.

– Some quick 7v7 highlights.

– CB Ahkello Witherspoon had a nice breakup on an underneath throw for Calvin Austin III.

– Kenny Pickett put on the money to TE Jace Sternberger for about a 15-yard completion over the middle, hitting him perfectly in stride and in a tight window.

– Buddy Johnson with a quick flash, breaking up a Hank route (curl) for Sternberger. Nice play there.

– Chris Steele high-pointed and broke up throw deep down the left sideline from Trubisky intended for Tyler Snead, who nearly still caught it on the way down but didn’t.

– Alright let’s talk team sessions.

First Team Session (Seven Shots)

1. Moore-Dotson-Cole-Daniels-Haeg the first team OL. 12 personnel with Zach Gentry and Kevin Rader. Mitch Trubisky in at QB. Cody White and George Pickens the two starting receivers. Devin Bush in at ILB, Benny Snell the RB. Trubisky looks to fire right side but the pass is tipped at the line of scrimmage and falls incomplete.

2. Empty set. Trubisky hits Anthony Miller on a speed out for the score working away from Arthur Maulet. First offensive TD Trubisky’s had in awhile.

3. Good zip on a throw in the back of the end zone from Trubisky to George Pickens against Ahkello Witherspoon. I thought he caught it but others say it was a drop. So I’ll defer to them for now and if that changes, I’ll update this post.

4. Mason Rudolph in at QB, one rep earlier than normal. Empty set. Delontae Scott rushes in free from his LOLB spot for a would-be sack. Rudolph throw in the back of the end zone for Steven Sims is incomplete.

5. Playaction with Rudolph rolling right. This time complete to Sims on a diving score.

6. Rudolph still in, empty set. Jaylen Warren split out slot left. Quick out to him is complete against Ulysees Gilbert III for the TD.

7. Kenny Pickett with the rep to finish things out. Mataeo Durant in at RB. WR Javon McKinley out wide as the X receiver, Tyler Snead the F/slot receiver. Shovel pass from Pickett to Connor Heyward who runs over the goal line for the score. Faked a throw in the left flat to Durant who was running out the flat right before the snap of the ball.

With the Pickens drop, offense still wins but it’s tighter, a 4-3 decision in their favor.

Second Team Session

1. Ball on the offense’s 18. Chris Wormley-Montravius Adams-Isaiahh Loudermilk the base defensive line. Robert Spillane and Devin Bush the ILBs, Derrek Tuszka and Alex Highsmith the OLBs. Damontae Kazee and Terrell Edmunds the safety pairing with Trent Scott running first team RT. Kendrick Green in at LG. Cody White and George Pickens the WRs. Benny Snell up the middle with Adams getting off a block to get hands on him. No tackling today in pads. Gain of three.

2. Snell another carry right side. Gain of three. Damontae Kazee fills the alley well.

3. Snell one more time for two. Run session less interesting in shells.

4. Carlos Davis and Henry Mondeaux the DTs. Justin Layne and James Pierre the outside CBs with Arthur Maulet inside. Trubisky boots right and hits Calvin Austin for five. Delontae Scott got free pressure in Trubisky’s face. “Good job, Delontae!” someone called out.

5. Anthony McFarland the RB. Pony look with Anthony McFarland and Benny Snell on the field. Jet run right to left for McFarland for two before Pierre from his RCB spot tags him up.

6. Joe Haeg working 2nd team RT. DeMarvin Leal and Henry Mondeaux the DT pairing with Delonate Scott at LOLB and Genard Avery at ROLB. Buddy Johnson and Ulysees Gilbert III the ILBs. False start by half the line and they reset. Mason Rudolph in at QB. Warren runs left side. Good flow by Leal and it’s only a gain of two or three.

7. 12 personnel. Master Teague hoping into team drills and gets the carry right side. Carlos Davis got off a block and forced a cut. Teague spins off a defender and finishes the run 20 yards downfield, trying to make a good initial impression.

8. Donovan Jeter and Khalil Davis the DT pairing. Kenny Pickett in at QB. Tyler Vaughns false starts on Pickett’s hard count and is taken out of the drill, replaced by Cody White. Warren up the middle on a RPO for two.

9. Offensive line of Leglue-Dixon-Gilliam-Owens-Tucker. Mataeo Durant carry up the middle. Good flow by the defense. Mark Robinson fills his gap.

10. Durant flashes a burst of speed left side for seven. Chris Steele first man there. Predictably, Durant has looked his best on outside/perimeter runs.

11. Teague carry right side for three to conclude the session.

Third Team Session

1. Ball on the offense’s 21. Trubisky starting off at QB. Trubisky climbs, looks to throw, and ends up tucking and running.

2. Dotson in at LG. Adams and Loudermilk the DTs, Tuszka and Scott the EDGE rushers. Short throw from Trubisky to Gentry complete for five.

3. Mason Rudolph now in at QB. Rudolph to Cody White right side is complete for about ten. Witherspoon on the coverage.

4. Another completion Rudolph to White for about ten.

5. Trubisky rotates back in. Trubisky to Anthony Miller complete for seven left side.

6. C.Green-K.Green-Hassenauer-Leglue-Haeg the offensive line. Trubisky complete to Connor Heyward on a Hank/over the ball route for nine.

7. Leal/Mondeaux/Carlos Davis the defensive line. Scott and Avery the OLBs with Robinson/Gilbert III the ILBs. Pony personnel. Rudolph’s back shoulder throw left side intended for Steven Sims is broken up by James Pierre, who drove on the ball.

8. Leal and Carlos Davis the DTs with Gilbert and Buddy Johnson the ILBs. Rudolph complete to Miller on a curl for seven. Justin Layne on the coverage.

9. Jake Dixon at left tackle, Chaz Green at left guard. Kenny Pickett in at QB. Doug Costin and Khalil Davis the DTs. Pickett’s throw for Vaughn on a curl is incomplete right side.

10. Linden Stephens at LCB, Chris Steele at RCB, Carlins Platel in the slot. Pickett complete this time to Vaughns for five, Stephens on the tag.

11. McKinley the Z receiver with Connor Heyward slot left. Jace Sternberger the attached tight end in a two-point stance. Low snap from center and Pickett has to reach down for it. Pass is tipped at the LOS. Not sure by who – may have been Costin, who has been active at the LOS this camp. But I’m not quite sure.

12. Robinson and Johnson the ILBs. Pickett throws right sideline to McKinley, who boxes out Stephens but can’t come down with the catch as the refs move in to signal the incompletion.

Fourth Team Session

1. Trent Scott in at RT. Trubisky in at QB. Ball at the offense’s 33. Witherspoon and Sutton the outside corners with Maulet in the slot. Kazee and Edmunds at safety, Tuszka and Highsmith at OLB. Carlos Davis and Montravius Adams the DTs. Devin Bush and Robert Spillane the ILBs. Trubisky immediately runs left on what looks like QB power, though I don’t know if anyone pulled in front. He seemed determined to run from the get-go so I don’t know if this was designed or not. But certainly things that couldn’t be done last year.

2. George Pickens the Z receiver. Empty set, hard count. Trubisky complete to Zach Gentry for six against Devin Bush. Calvin Austin III in the slot.

3. Mason Rudolph coming in with the completion to Austin for three on a short curl against Maulet.

4. Derek Watt sidecar to Rudolph. Throw to Heyward on a dig is off Heyward’s outstretched hand. Good coverage by Robert Spillane to force a tight throw that fell incomplete, landing a couple feet in front of Witherspoon who was hoping for a better bounce.

5. Leal/Loudermilk the DTs. Gilbert/Johnson the ILB pairing. Rudolph throw short right side. Gilbert III with tight coverage. Didn’t get a hand on the ball but get in McFarland’s way and the ball hits off McFarland’s hands. I’ll call it a drop.

6. Layne and Pierre the outside corners with Platel in the slot. Gilbert and Johnson the ILBs. Mason Rudolph in at QB. Complete to Boykin on a crosser working on Layne for a gain of six.

7. Trubisky back in at QB. Nothing available for him with someone on the defense yelling out “We got ’em!” Trubisky finally rolls right and hits Warren underneath for a gain of four.

8. Gunner Olszewski in the slot. Complete to Tyler Vaughns left side for seven. Delontae Scott beat Joe Haeg inside and forced Trubisky to move to his right. A good route by Vaughns to create space at the top and Frisman Jackson let him know about it. “Good route, give me some!” as Jackson gave him a high-five as Vaughns jogged back to the huddle.

9. Kenny Pickett in at QB. Shovel pass to Olszewski up the middle but Henry Mondeaux is right there and Olszewski bounces off him like a brick wall. Loss of one.

10. Costin/Jeter the DTs. Pickett has Tyler Snead open over the middle. Snead doesn’t have a big frame and has to reach out for this throw but makes a nice diving/falling grab for 13.

11. Pickett screen right to McFarland. Witherspoon there and tags him at the LOS, no gain.

12. Robinson and Johnson the ILBs. T.D. Moultry at LOLB. Pickett rolls left and hits TE Jace Sternberger for five. Moultry showed bust off the edge while Leglue at LT got walked back into the pocket on a bull rush. Not sure who was on the other end.

Fifth Team Session

1. First two-minute drill of camp. Offense gets one timeout with the ball on their 47. “Officials are administering the drill,” Tomlin says. May have waited until the refs arrived for the first two-minute session. Trubisky in at QB, Benny Snell RB. Chaz Green at LT. He’s in my notes for some reason.

First pass is complete down the right sideline to Pickens to the defense’s 36, a gain of 17. Pickens ducks out of bounds to stop the clock.

2. Bunch left. Trubisky complete to Austin who sits down against zone at the 30 for six. Devin Bush on the tag.

3. Trubisky fires left sideline for Cody White. Incomplete with Cam Sutton providing tight coverage. Ball hit off White’s hand high in the air and over his head.

4. 3rd down. Connor Heyward as the Y tight end. Trubisky checks down to Benny Snell left side with Sutton greeting him with a hard thud for this padless day. Initially ruled 4th down but coaches get the “chain gang” to flip to first down. Ball at the 27.

5. Trubisky hits Austin over the middle who runs into the end zone in this non-tackling drill but the ball is placed at the six. So call it a gain of 21.

6. 1st and goal, 26 seconds left. Cody White makes the catch against Sutton in the end zone but Sutton pushes him out and the pass is incomplete.

7. 2nd down. Trubisky hits Pickens in the back of the end zone for the TD against Witherspoon. Nice drive by Trubisky

– Mason Rudolph comes in with the 2’s. Same scenario. Ball on the 47, one timeout.

1. Complete to Steven Sims left side, James Pierre on the tag. Seven yard gain.

2. “Tornado” is the call for the team’s no-huddle. Good way to describe speed. Completion to Gunner Olszewski for seven more.

3. Throw down the middle of the field to an open Kevin Rader. Rader makes a great catch over his head, full extension, before crashing to the ground. Gain of 20.

4. Rudolph checks down to McFarland for three.

5. Rudolph spikes the ball.

6. Olszewski in the slot. Third down. Rudolph fires for Jace Sternberger but Ulysees Gilbert is on top of him and helps force the incompletion. Ball pops out of Sternberger’s chest, who didn’t catch it away from his body.

7. 4th down. Again complete to Olszewski to the seven against Platel. Gain of ten. Timeout occurred somewhere around here, either after this play or #6.

8. 1st down. Jaylen Warren in at RB. Rudolph’s throw to the back of the end zone is a tough one and Sims can’t make a diving grab. Pierre covering. Sims working as the X receiver. Incomplete.

9. Rudolph throw is high and basically out of the end zone. Steelers’ receiver made a fruitless effort to catch the ball but had no chance. Felt more like a throwaway with not much available.

There is no visible clock at SVC (it’s on the field and facing away) like Heinz Field last year so I don’t know exactly what happened. But it appears time ran out because it wasn’t 4th down and the horn blew to end practice. Rudolph’s drive stalls out at the seven.

– Notes from WR/DB 1v1s. Reminder this is a drill very much tailored to the offense. Receivers with all the time and space in the world.

WR/DB 1v1

1. Anthony Miller gets on Cam Sutton’s toes and beats him inside for the grab.

2. Gunner Olszewski runs vertical and makes a nice catch off Arthur Maulet’s back shoulder, who couldn’t locate the football.

3. Nice route by George Pickens, who quickly breaks down and creates space against Ahkello Witherspoon, who can’t quite match him, and makes the grab on a curl route. Really good route that we saw on his college tape.

4. Steven Sims beats Carlins Platel vertically but Sims stumbles out of his break on a corner route to the left pylon. Pass is incomplete.

5. Tyler Vaughns makes a nice combat catch against Justin Layne.

6. Calvin Austin bursts away from Maulet and makes the catch.

7. Nice throw and catch on a backshoulder frame against James Pierre along the left sideline.

8. Tyler Snead plucks the ball away from Platel. Good rep and catch.

9. Another nice catch with Miles Boykin reaching out in front of him on this in-cut to make the grab against Linden Stephens.

10. Anthony Miller makes the grab here to the left sideline but he can’t get both feet in. Refs rule him out of bounds. Maulet covering.

11. McKinely runs a slant to beat Witherspoon.

12. Olszewski stumbles on this in/out route and the pass clips off his hand, incomplete. Platel on the coverage.

13. Physical battle between Tyler Vaughns and Chris Steele. Steele high points and bats the ball away.

14. Austin shakes Maulet and makes the grab but it’s out of bounds.

15. Pass for Cody White is incomplete, Pierre on the coverage. Kind of a weird, prolonged route with White running to his right, standing in the back of the end zone for a moment, then working back to the back left corner.

16. Sims makes a back of the end zone catch against Platel.

17. Nice high point and grab by Boykin against Layne.

18. Good close by Maulet to bat the ball away from Snead.

19. Refs throw the flag on Stephens as he’s all over Vaughns. Pass is incomplete but a clear penalty.

20. Looks like the refs called OPI on George Pickens, don’t see that often in that drill, as he got a hand in Ahkello Witherspoon’s facemask off the line. Pass was incomplete anyway.

21. They go one more time, Pickens and Witherspoon. Pass caught out of bounds, a common theme of the drill.

Camp Summary

– QB rotation picking up. Every day until now, they’d neatly work the full team sessions (not seven shots) in groups of four. One QB gets plays 1-4, next gets 5-8, final one gets 9-12. Not today. Trubisky and Rudolph were switching out every two reps plays 1-8 until Pickett got the final four. Planned, of course, but sort of crystalizes the starting battle between Trubisky and Rudolph.

– Two-minute drill stats.

Mitch Trubisky: 5/7, 53 yards 1 TD
Mason Rudolph: 5/9 47 yards 0 TDs

– WR Tyler Vaughns didn’t test well coming out of USC but he’s a better mover on tape. He’s flashed with his body control and route running.

– Nice to see Kevin Rader pop up in my notes with probably the catch of the day in team drills during that two-minute session. He’d been pretty quiet to this point as a steady but known player.

– Definitely interesting to see Trent Scott rotate with Joe Haeg at RT today. Didn’t expect that but Scott has a long history with Pat Meyer so that may be helping his cause. Elsewhere on the line, rookie Jake Dixon has lined up all over so far and is trying to increase his versatility, as John Leglue did a year ago.

– He’s had some battles with Alex Highsmith but overall, a nice camp for Dan Moore Jr., who is entering a big 2022 season.

– Should’ve mentioned this in my report yesterday but definitely see the bend around the edge for OLB Genard Avery, who registered a 6.90 three cone out of Memphis and was regarded as a plus athlete. He’s got some mass to him, too. Not a small, skinny dude. Delontae Scott keeps stacking good days.

– It can be a little hard to tell in the middle but Montravius Adams is having a nice first week of camp. Explosive first step.

– Another good day overall for Ulysees Gilbert III. At least in coverage.

– Ahkello Witherspoon and Cam Sutton doing well this summer. Arthur Maulet made plays in 1v1s. He’s best in short areas and driving on routes as opposed to defending anything vertical.

– Carlins Platel an overlooked name benefitting from extra reps. Ran 2nd team slot corner today behind Maulet thanks to there being no Fitzpatrick/Joseph/Wallace. All trickles down to Platel seeing more time. His play hasn’t been too great/terrible but reps are there. And that’s big.

– He hasn’t been bad but I swear Terrell Edmunds never shows up in my notes. I think I’ve written about him like, once, over the first seven days that wasn’t me just saying he was running 1st team SS. Just a random thought I had today.

Saint Vincent Snapshot

Quick snap of the seven shots session.

Twitter Camp Question

That’s a little tough to gauge. Short answer, better. Trubisky and Rudolph have flashed the best deep ball by far in terms of strength and placement. It’s a younger, more mobile group, without the 85-year old knees like Ben had. So I see the arm strength and vertical pass game improving, though I think that’s pretty obvious. Again, it’s a question of how much better. A small step isn’t good enough.

Random Steelers’ Fact

The Steelers have had the #1 pick just three times in franchise history. They used those picks on Bill Dudley, Gary Glick, and Terry Bradshaw.

George Carlin’s Quote Of The Day

“Some people have no idea what they’re doing, and a lot of them are really good at it.”

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