Thursday saw the first appearance of the no-huddle during the 2014 training camp and had NFL refs officiating throughout practice. While Le’Veon Bell made a partial return to practice, he didn’t participate for much of practice. With LeGarrette Blount sitting out for the day, the younger backs got more touches throughout practice.
During the no-huddle session, it was Tauren Poole and Dri Archer who spent a lot of time in the backfield with Roethlisberger under center. I half expected the first no huddle run through to have a good amount of rust, but that wasn’t the case. The offense had a positive play on every snap, with Ben displaying quick releases and lots of accuracy.
Later on, RB Miguel Maysonet was the work horse. He would end up taking his fair share of punishment from safeties Shamarko Thomas and Jordan Dangerfield. Dangerfield laid a monster hit on Maysonet, in fact, Dangerfield has been dishing out quite a few big hits so far this camp. While I don’t see him making the roster with the talent ahead of him, he’s a strong candidate for the practice squad. I liked Maysonet a lot coming out of Stony Brook. I could see his potential for success in a ZBS. The Steelers must have seen it, too.
During pass rushing drills, rookie outside linebacker Howard Jones got by Mike Adams twice on the outside. Adams has been the topic of discussion the past few days as he’s had some embarrassing moments, but those were during positional drills. He’s looked better in team drills. Veteran RT Marcus Gilbert has been quietly having a solid camp. A coach once told me as a lineman “if you don’t hear your name shouted, you’re probably doing it right.” According to Craig Wolfey, Gilbert has changed his stance with the help of Coach Munchak, and it’s making a difference. Coincidentally, Shamarko Thomas knocked Maurkice Pouncey down while blocking on a wide receiver screen Thursday.
NT Steve McLendon was very active against the run, and stuffed several runs at the line of scrimmage. NT Daniel McCullers was also putting his power on display. Landry Jones saw time leading the second team offense again. It might not mean anything, but there’s been more than one day where I’ve heard about his release being slower than that of Bradon Kay. Justin Brown spent time with the first team receivers during 7 on 7 drills. On one play, he drew cheers from onlookers when he contorted his body to make a catch in bounds over Anton Blake.
TE Eric Waters left practice early with a lower back of some description according to Coach Tomin. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey also left early after taking a knee to the helmet during a passing drill. Tomlin didn’t have any details about his injury, but said only that he was being evaluated. One reporter speculated concussion symptoms. We’ll have to wait and see.
The Steelers resume practice Friday night at 7:00 at Latrobe Memorial Stadium. Friday Night Lights always draws very large crowds. Coach Cowher used to close Friday Night Lights with goal line drills, but it’s not something Tomlin does. Typically the hard hitting goal line drills happen on Saturday or Sunday.