Sunday Practice Notes
Team Session Drills
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger fired a wide-receiver screen to split out Mike Wallace on the opening play in 11-on-11 drills that quickly broke open for a long gain. Roethlisberger followed that with a shot across the middle that tight end Heath Miller pulled in among several nearby defenders for a first down.
Roethlisberger, who wore a No. 78 practice jersey to honor former Steelers left offensive tackle Max Starks, continued to be sharp in moving the ball down the field. Then, he attempted a long pass down the right sideline to Wallace, but cornerback Bryant McFadden read the play and picked it off.
“We were the last two from our draft class, and Max’s locker was next to mine for the past 7-8 years now,” Roethlisberger said. “So, when I saw his old jersey laying there I grabbed it and put it on in honor of Max. It’s a little big and kept riding up my neck, but that’s all right.”
Tomlin was so pleased with how hard the Steelers were working Sunday that he added a 10-minute team period to take the overall session to 5:30 p.m.
Two Minutes To Go
There were several team-oriented (11-on-11) drills, including a two-minute session with a first down from the Steelers’ 40-yard line.
Roethlisberger misfired to Tyler Grisham on first down, but came back with a nice toss to veteran Arnaz Battle for a first down.
Another incompletion apparently did not count, as Tomlin moved the ball into position for a first down. Roethlisberger couldn’t connect on a toss toward the end zone.
Roethlisberger’s best play in the drive was a scramble for some 20 yards, and it set up a touchdown pass to Grisham. Tomlin put the ball at the 1, and Miller was open across the middle for a TD-lob from Roethlisberger.
Offensively, Maurkice Pouncey was the center between left guard Keith Williams, this year’s sixth-round pick from Nebraska, and right guard Ramon Foster. First-year player Kyle Jolley and second-year pro Chris Scott continued to be the tackles on the front line.
Roethlisberger had Heath Miller and David Johnson as his tight ends, while Wallace, Battle and Antonio Brown were the top receivers. Running back Rashard Mendenhall did not take part in the two-minute, pass-only drill.
Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu were the safeties, while McFadden and fourth-round pick Cortez Allen from The Citadel were the cornerbacks.
Woodley, Farrior, Timmons and Harrison comprised the linebacking corps, while Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton and Brett Keisel were up front on defense.
Cornerback Donovan Warren, a first-year player from Michigan, was a fifth defensive back.
Injuries And Attrition
Tomlin said the following players were held out from Sunday’s practice: offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert (hamstring), the second-round pick, cornerback Keenan Lewis (heat-related illness), wideouts Limas Sweed (hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (foot) and cornerback Crezdon Butler (quad tightness).
The Steelers and media are off Monday, and no players or coaches are available. The club returns for a morning walk-through Tuesday, which is closed to the media and public, but then will go through another afternoon practice in full great beginning at 3 p.m. that is open to everyone.