Ray Jr’s Steelers Training Camp Recap
( Pittsburgh, Pa ) It was 83 degrees at Saint Vincent’s College, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp in Latrobe Pa. Because of the sun and humidity, it honestly felt like it was 93 degrees. For the first time that I could remember, I had to put on sunscreen. But nevertheless, it was a beautiful day for football.
It was a no-pad day for the Steelers, so there was no hitting allowed. Some of the players (Like RB James Conner) wore shorts, while others wore the standard practice pants. To quote head coach Mike Tomlin’s description of OTA’s (Organized Team Activities) it was almost ‘Football in Shorts.’
As in every Training Camp, the team broke off in separate fields for offense, defense and special teams. I stood near backup QB’s Mason Rudolph, Joshua Dobbs, and 2019 undrafted free agent Devlin Hodges. I snapped a few pics of Rudolph passing the ball to Hodges (with Hobbs in the background) and I heard a voice say “You took a pic of a bad throw. Take it again!” And he repeated himself. When I put my phone down, I didn’t realize it was 2018 1st round pick Terrell Edmunds who shouted that and it was to me. I pointed at the young Safety and grinned. Edmunds laughed as I took another pic.
The team eventually joined on one field to perform 2-minute drills. The goal was that the QB would complete a touchdown pass with the defense covering inside those 2 minutes… Rudolph, Dobbs and Hodges each got their turn.
Rudolph threw TD passes to TE Xavier Grimble (did that redeem his ugly end-zone fumble last year? Hardly) WR Ju-Ju Smith-Shuster and rookie RB Benny Snell. Rudolph impressed me with his ability to move out of the pocket (a la Ben Roethlisberger) and complete the pass to Smith-Shuster. Many media types say that Rudolph is strictly a pocket passer. I saw it with my own eyes’ folks: This kid can move.
Dobbs fired TD passes to rookie undrafted free agent Dionate Spencer and practice squad member Tevin Jones. He also scrambled and ran for one. Hodges misfired on a few passes but eventually found WR James Washington for his TD.
In another session with Dobbs, someone pulled him aside to give him a few instructions on his passes and it was none-other than “Big Ben” who even stepped in and threw some passes in his lesson to Dobbs. Rothleisberger wasn’t in uniform and when asked if there was a reason why number 7 was not in uniform for 2 straight days, Tomlin replied “No. We are just creating more opportunities for Dobbs and Rudolph, particularly with the 2-minute drill we did today. We’ve seen Ben in enough 2-minutes.”
Speaking of Tomlin, he had this to say about Saturday’s practice: “It’s really been a good weekend up here with the officials. Friday Night Lights we focused on some points of emphasis relative to lowering the head and delivering a blow and did some drills like backs on backers and o-line/d-line pass rush and they gave us a good opportunity to get a good exchange and
knowledge in those areas..today we came out in helmets, we really worked some elements of the passing game that highlights the point of emphasis in OPI (Offensive Pass Interference) and DPI (Defensive Pass Interference)..We’re excited about getting back into town tomorrow and working at Heinz Field.”
When asked about a catch by Snell that was ruled out of bounds, Tomlin replied with a laugh “It was inside 2 minutes. I will keep my opinion to myself.”
So, there you have it folks, my recap of my time at Steelers Training Camp. Stay tuned for Sunday’s Family Fest and their first Preseason Game Friday August 9th at Heinz Field.
Notes: In addition to Roethlisberger, Rookie WR Dionte Johnson and CB Artie Burns did not practice.
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