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'Hard coaching' motivates Martavis

Posted Aug 13, 2014

Coaches are pushing the rookie receiver to improve at a faster pace

LATROBE, Pa. – Midway through his first professional training camp Martavis Bryant let it be known that “hard coaching” was something he appreciates.

“It motivates you,” Bryant said. “It drives you to keep working.”

Ask and ye shall receive.

Asked about Bryant after the fourth-round draft pick had turned some heads on the practice field on Tuesday, Coach Mike Tomlin pulled no punches.

“He made a couple of plays today, but we know he’s capable of that,” Tomlin said. “I’m looking for him to grow in all areas and have the type of detail in his work where we can rely upon him. Like a lot of young guys he’s moving toward that, not at a quick enough pace for us, not at a quick enough pace for him. So we’ll continue to work.”

That was evident in the Steelers’ preseason opening, 20-16 loss to the New York Football Giants.

“I had some positive, I had some bad,” Bryant assessed. “I just have to get better this week, put that game behind me.”

The 6-foot-4, 211-pound wide receiver from Clemson finished with one catch for 19 yards. But his fumble at the New York 27-yard line after hauling in Landry Jones’ attempt on fourth-and-6 turned the ball over with 1:14 remaining and sealed the Steelers’ fate.

Bryant initially stumbled to the turf after the reception – the Steelers unsuccessfully challenged that he had been downed by contact – before getting up and having the ball knocked from his grasp on the subsequent tackle.

“I have no clue,” Bryant said. “I don’t know how it came out. It just happened so learn from it, get better from it. I’m taught to pop up off the ground when you’re touched. I was just doing what I was taught to do; could have had better ball security, though.”

The two other times Bryant was targeted in the game he drew pass interference penalties that moved the chains.

“Yeah, but you still want to catch the ball,” Bryant said. “You don’t want to just draw fouls.”

Practices with the Buffalo Bills today and Thursday at Saint Vincent College will present an opportunity to make amends, as will the Steelers’  preseason game against Buffalo on Saturday night at Heinz Field.

“Got all the jitterbugs out now,” Bryant said. “I can go out and be more relaxed now and just have fun with it.”