Camp Blog: Week 4 recap

Proving himself: Guard Kevin Dotson is slowly working his way back onto the field after missing significant time in training camp and the Hall of Fame game against the Cowboys due to a nagging ankle injury.

And in the process of slowly working his way back, has done so with the second-team, despite being listed as a starter on the depth chart.

Coach Mike Tomlin was asked about it over the weekend and said he 'has done nothing to earn first-team reps.'

And that is simply because injuries have prevented him from earning the reps.

"I have not legit done anything," said Dotson. "There is nothing to look at for my body of work. I have not practiced once. Yesterday was my first half practice. He wasn't lying.

"I still have to prove myself. I am not a No. 1 proven guy. I still have to prove myself.

Dotson said he has been cautious to not rush back from the ankle injury, wanting to make sure he is fully healed and avoid a long-term injury. But he is confident he can catch up and be ready to go soon.

"It kept lingering," said Dotson. "It's one of those things where you don't want to go out there and hurt it more. If I am hurt, and you put me up against Cam (Heyward), it's going to make me look worse. I took as much as I can to get back, to get right. I feel like I will be able to get back in it. I am feeling 100 percent, or close to.

"The frustration is me not being able to prove myself. All of the work I did in the offseason, to be hurt, not be able to show my stuff. To watch my teammates do run drills, one on ones, some of my favorite things."

Take a look at the Steelers training and preparing for the 2021 season at Heinz Field

Take a look at the best photos from Week 2 of the Steelers training and preparing for the 2021 season at Heinz Field

Weather woes: Monday was hot and sunny. Let's just say Tuesday was the complete opposite. Storms hit the Pittsburgh area beginning early on Tuesday morning but there was a hope it would clear out in time for the Steelers to practice at Heinz Field.

They weren't that lucky.

The team came out for practice at their normal time of 1:30 p.m. but lasted only minutes before leaving the field because of lightning. They returned for about 20 minutes to do '7 shots' around 3 p.m., but storms continued and forced the cancellation of practice.

Monday, August 9

Dog days if summer: There are many times when Coach Mike Tomlin will come off the practice field and seem happy with the work the team did that day.

Monday wasn't that day.

Monday was one of the hottest day of Steelers training camp, with the thermometer in Pittsburgh hitting 90 degrees, and if you listen to Tomlin following the Steelers padded practice at Heinz Field, not everyone fared well.

"It's kind of the dog days of summer today," said Tomlin. "Some guys were thriving, some guys were surviving, and that's just a part of this process. It's good to challenge them openly along those lines and see who can respond to those challenges. The guys that were thriving, can they continue to do so tomorrow in the face of some of those circumstances? The guys that were in survival mode, they've got to step it up. It's just part of it.

"The mental aspect of this journey is a significant one. We're not going to run away from it. Today wasn't a good enough day. We'll see what tomorrow holds for us."

Tomlin didn't point to anyone in particular in his evaluation of the day, not giving anyone a pass and not calling anyone out.

"I was painting with a broad brush to be honest with you," said Tomlin of his 'survivor' comment. "Young guys can be susceptible to it, veterans can be susceptible to it. We've just got to come out of here with a can-do attitude in spite of circumstance sometimes, and I didn't feel like enough guys fought through it today."

Take a look at the Steelers training and preparing for the 2021 season at Heinz Field

Added on: The Steelers signed guard Malcolm Pridgeon on Monday.

Pridgeon entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2019 NFL Draft with the Houston Texans. He was released before the start of the season, and then signed to the Cleveland Browns practice squad.

Pridgeon signed a reserve/future contract with the Browns in the 2020 offseason, but he didn't play at last season, opting out because of COVID-19 concerns. He was released by the Browns this past February.

Pridgeon played on two Big Ten championship teams (2017-18) for Ohio State, playing in every game those two seasons and starting 14. He missed the 2016 season with an injury. His college career began at Nassau Community College where he played two seasons (2014-15), before he transferred to Oho State.

In a related move, the team waived/injured defensive lineman Calvin Taylor.

Sunday, August 8

O, Canada: Offensive coordinator Matt Canada gave his take on a bunch of topics following practice, from fullback Derek Watt, to receiver JuJu Smith Schuster, and many more.

Here are a few of the highlights.

On what he sees from Watt and the plan for him:
"Derek's got a great skill set for us, and I think we feel really good about. He has made some great plays in camp. Obviously, we are going to start to utilize him as we get going through the preseason. It wasn't part of our plan in the first one. You guys have been around preseasons games, every game is kind of working on this and working on that. So, I think he has a great skill set. Derek's matchups in certain. You know, every game is different, so we are going to fight very, very hard to find the matchup that works for us against a team. I think Derek is going to be a big part of what we do in certain games."

On if there is an active effort to get Smith-Schuster more vertical:
"I think there is an active effort to use all of our players and make sure we are utilizing their talents to the best of their abilities. Make sure we are using their flexibility when we can, so I don't want to say just for that one thing I don't think I can say that. JuJu [Smith-Schuster] is certainly talented, the way he plays and how hard he plays. I am a huge fan of JuJu, and we are very fortunate to have him back and we are going to utilize everything we can out of it."

On Dwayne Haskins' decision making:
"I thought his decision making was pretty good. I talked to Dwayne [Haskins] and we will continue to work on making sure his accuracy is where we want it to be. But I thought for his first time playing for us and doing the right things-- the bottom line is we have to take care of the football. Ball security is a big, big deal, you have to put it in our hands, and if not in our hands, then nobody's hands and that's for all our quarterbacks. We were happy where Dwayne was, there are a lot of things to improve but day one it was a good start."

Take a look at the Steelers training and preparing for the 2021 season at Heinz Field