By Dale Grdnic
LATROBE, Pa. — Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers had just one training camp practice Sunday afternoon, there was enough action to fill several sessions.
The 2 1/2-hour workout included a hurry-up drill with the first- and second-team units, another one-on-one competition between the defensive and offensive lines and the ever-popular backs-on-backers session, along with team, punting and individual position drills.
“It was a good practice this afternoon, and we got a lot done,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “Our first unit moved the ball fairly well (in the two-minute drill). Of course, those drills are structured for the continuity in the drill.
“I missed some of the things that happen in the backfield, and the defense always has a legitimate beef about getting to the quarterback.
“But what we’re looking for is to work on the situation and work the ball down the field and see if somebody can make a play at the end. We got that from our first team, but the second group we really didn’t get things going offensively.”
Ben Roethlisberger led the first-team offense and was 5-for-8 with several first downs during the 58-yard drive capped with a 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Heath Miller with just seconds remaining.
Roethlisberger connected with Arnaz Battle for a first down on first-and-10. He scrambled to the right and had to throw it out of bounds on the next play, but came back with a toss to Miller down the middle to move the sticks.
Battle had a pretty good day, as he caught a long touchdown pass from Byron Leftwich in the team drills later during the practice. He ran a simple out route, Ryan Mundy came up quickly to get a pick, but Leftwich’s gun got their first and allowed Battle to turn upfield with nothing but space in front of him.
On first-and-10 in the two-minute drill, Roethlisberger again hit Miller down the right sideline for eight yards with 34 seconds left. He appeared to be over the line after scrambling left and throwing downfield to Hines Ward, but the veteran wideout pulled it in for a first down to the 16.
There were 25 seconds left, and at this point the defense urged the small crowd in attendance to make some noise to help them out.
Roethlisberger had to throw the ball away on first and second down due to serious pressure from the linebackers, but once again he looked for Miller on third down with 12 seconds left. Miller beat James Farrior to the goal line and hauled in a perfect pass over his shoulder for the score.
Quarterback Byron Leftwich and the second-team offense, which was without guards Maurkice Pouncey (hamstring) and Ramon Foster (concussion), struggled to move the sticks let alone score. Adrian Jones and Kraig Urbik moved up from the third team to left and right guard, respectively.
The second team started with 1:41 on the clock, 10 seconds more than the first team. Leftwich was 1-for-4, completing a pass to tight end Matt Spaeth, but Spaeth also had a drop. Leftwich was off-target on another toss and also was victim of a drop.
Notes: Tomlin said that nose tackle Casey Hampton is day-to-day with a hamstring injury, while running back Jonathan Dwyer and Pouncey have mild hamstring issues. They will be evaluated again Monday.
Foster missed practice with a concussion. He performed well with all the testing Sunday, Tomlin said. “So, we’ll continue to monitor his situation and see where he’s at (Monday).”
Offensive tackle Chris Scott has a right foot injury and is out for an extended period, while outside linebacker Andre Frazier is day-to-day with knee problems.