MONDAY’S CAMP RUNDOWN
By Dale Grdnic
LATROBE, Pa. — After a long week of banging helmets together in full pads with live tackling drills included, the Pittsburgh Steelers went through a much lighter workout Monday afternoon during training camp at Saint Vincent College.
“We changed our attire today (to shorts and shells), really trying to maximize our off day (Tuesday), so that we can get bodies back,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “Then, we can have a productive Wednesday and continue on with our work week.”
That culminates with the first preseason game against the New York Giants Saturday night at 7:30 at Heinz Field, and the Steelers hope to be ready.
“I believe we took a step in that regard, because we got a number of guys back participating today,” Tomlin said. “We got Alameda (Ta’amu) back off of PUP and participating fully. Larry Foote was participating fully.
“Matt Spaeth (right knee), Nick Williams (left knee), Le’Veon Bell (left knee), and I’m sure when we come back Wednesday after the off day that number will continue to increase as we continue with the team development process with an eye toward getting ready to play the New York Football Giants.”
There was one player who tried to return and eventually had to leave again. Cornerback Curtis Brown, who missed two days with a left hamstring problem, suffered an ankle injury, according to Tomlin.
Cortez on the Mend
Steelers projected starting cornerback Cortez Allen is still watching from the sideline since an Aug. 2 right knee surgery that Tomlin believed would keep him out for the remainder of training camp. Allen gave an update, of sorts, Monday.
“It’s doing well, but it’s a day-by-day thing,” Allen said. “I just have to continue to do rehab and be smart about it. (Since) it’s a day-to-day thing, I can’t really give a time period on it. The way I stay in shape is to just continue to do my rehab and follow the instructions of the training staff. (But) it’s not a setback, and I try to stay as positive as possible.
“While I can’t be out there physically, the mental aspect of it is still very important. So, I just want to continue to build on that. Of course, it’s disappointing when you’re not able to do what you love. But I pride myself on always being positive and staying in good spirits and everything. So, I just take it for what it is and do my best to get back on the field.”
Allen might play by the end of the preseason and be ready for the regular-season opener against the Tennessee Titans Sept. 8 at Heinz Field.
As far as Shaun Suisham was concerned, his outlook for training camp brightened when the Steelers hired Danny Smith to be their special teams coordinator. Smith and Suisham worked together for parts of four seasons with the Washington Redskins.
“All the yelling and running around, that’s Danny Smith,” Suisham said. “But when you watch him to that stuff, watch the players around him and how well they relate to him. All the guys are involved, locked in, listening and learning.”
Suisham also said to expect some razzle-dazzle on the Steelers special teams this season, but he would not elaborate to what degree.
Neither Mike Adams nor Marcus Gilbert knew where they would be playing when the Steelers open preseason play against the New York Giants Saturday night at 7:30 at Heinz Field.
After playing left and right offensive tackle, respectively, Gilbert and Adams have switched spots the past four days. Tomlin would not say if the move was temporary, and neither player provided any insight.
“I’m more comfortable at left tackle, but I’ll play wherever they want me to play, wherever I can help the team,” Gilbert said.
“I’m happy to get a shot at left tackle, but I have no idea whether or not I’ll stay there,” Adams said. “If that’s what Coach wants me to do, I’ll play there, but if he wants me to move back to the right side I’ll do that.”
Gilbert added that it wasn’t a surprise that the move occurred in camp, since he believed it would have happened during OTAs had Adams not been injured in a stabbing incident June 1. However, that was quite late in spring drills, so Gilbert was on the left side and Adams the right nearly the entire spring.
Play of the Day
Quarterback Landry Jones launched a pass about 60 yards in the air, which is impressive on its own merit, but unfortunately the receivers were only in the 50-yard range and safety Robert Golden secured the interception.
Similar to the annual run test to open camp, the Steelers lined up on one goal line and ran to the other, then went back and forth several times. After a long week of practice, the coaches just wanted them to stretch it out a bit.
Sgt. Doug Vitale, a disabled veteran, was an invited guest of the Steelers. Nearly every player came up to him after practice to sign autographs for him. “Wild” Bill Wichrowski from the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” television show also made an appearance at practice.
A handful of Steelers did not practice, along with the usual walking wounded. The new group included Jarvis Jones, Lawrence Timmons, Troy Polamalu, Emmanuel Sanders and Plaxico Burress. Tomlin expected all to return this week.