DEPAOLI’S CAMP REPORT
With the extra week of training camp due to playing in the Hall of Fame game next week, Mike Tomlin continued to give veterans the practice off on Day 6 of training camp.
Among those who didn’t suit up today included James Harrison who has yet to practice, Cam Heyward, Ramon Foster, Steve McLendon (shoulder), Mike Mitchell, Matt Spaeth, DeAngelo Williams, Ross Ventrone (foot) and Martavis Bryant (elbow).
The extra week of camp has been somewhat of an instructional week for the staff, implementing the cover-2 and also putting backups into more prominent roles that sometimes you don’t always see.
Landy Jones continues to see significant work with Bruce Gradkowski sidelined and the staff has put him in situations all week of going up against the one’s.
Jones has gradually gotten better as the week has progressed, solid day in red-zone drills today, and his big test to finally show something will be in the Hall-of-Fame game where we’re going to see a heavy dose of Jones and he may even start as there’s been no decision on whether Ben Roethlisberger will suit up.
Heyward-Bey earns praise from Tomlin
Darrius Heyward-Bey drops a lot of passes and is not a strong route runner despite his speed and it’s among the reasons he became a bust as a first round pick, but he appears headed towards finding a niche with the Steelers.
“He’s a hard worker. He’s a football player first and a wide receiver second,” head coach Mike Tomlin said today. “He contributes in all areas [Special Teams]. He’s having a good camp.”
Heyward-Bey putting the time and work in to be a special teamer first is leading him to becoming a Tomlin favorite and just maybe he can give the Steelers something in the passing game as a No. 4 with the Steelers in no need to rush Sammie Coates into the mix.
Heyward-Bey is making plays through the first week of camp.
“He’s making combat catches and doing so consistently,” Tomlin said of Heyward’s work this camp at wide receiver.
Heyward-Bey had an excellent catch today in the no-huddle drill from Ben Roethlisberger down the sideline in-between Cornerback Antwon Blake and Safety Alden Darby.
BOYKIN TRADE POPULAR
The Steelers are earning praise tonight for their acquisition of Brandon Boykin who fell out of favor with Chip Kelly because of Kelly’s desire to have bigger cornerbacks in the mix.
Former NFL executive Louis Riddick.
Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc, a former NFL scout, is also a fan of the move
MORE PRACTICE NOTES FROM SATURDAY
[Lawrence Timmons again received a heavy dose of Le’Veon Bell in the backs on backers coverage drill. The two went head to head six times in the drill, with Bell winning four of them. Although, in a drill that seemed impossible for Timmons to win, he did hold his own.
Dri Archer also impressed in the drill and in team drills, using his speed and agility to gain separation on numerous occasions. Archer made a nice run and catch later in practice when he caught a short pass and made a defender miss on the way to a long touchdown.
Shamarko Thomas laid a big hit on Cameron Clear in team drills, but Clear was able to hold onto the ball despite juggling it several times.
Chris Hubbard took reps with the first team offense with Ramon Foster getting the day off.
Tyler Murphy continues to get plenty of reps at quarterback, more so than Tajh Boyd. Saturday’s practice featured a lot of Landry Jones and Murphy.
There were a few minor injuries reported by head coach Mike Tomlin that cause some players not to finish practice. They were Ryan Shazier (lower back), Jarvis Jones (bicep), Shamarko Thomas (shoulder), Josh Harris (shoulder), Ross Scheuerman (left achilles).] — Kris Lancaster —