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Coates under the microscope

LATROBE, Pa. _ Wide receiver Sammie Coates was back and head coach Mike Tomlin wasted no time stressing the need for urgency upon Coates' return.

"You gotta grab that, one-four," Tomlin emphasized after Coates made contact with a pass from quarterback Joshua Dobbs but failed to finish a combat catch while working against cornerback Greg Ducre in a wide receivers/defensive backs, 1-on-1 drill.

The play was similar to one Coates hadn't made while working against Ducre in "Seven Shots."

Coates, activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list this morning, also heard from Tomlin after wide receiver Justin Hunter went up for a ball and came down with a toe-tap touchdown along the sideline in the end zone in the wide receivers/cornerbacks 1-on1 work.

"Sammie, he's grabbing that," Tomlin said. "You gotta start grabbing that.

"Two dogs, one bone; I'm going to start applying pressure."

Coates caught a touchdown pass working against cornerback Artie Burns in the drill.

On his last rep, Coates went up and extended for a catch but came down just out of bounds while working against cornerback JaCorey Shepherd.

MEDICAL FILE: Wide receiver Demarcus Ayers, cornerback Cam Sutton, safety Mike Mitchell, cornerback Senquez Golson, linebacker Ryan Shazier, center Maurkice Pouncey, guard Ramon Foster, outside linebacker William Gay and outside linebacker Keion Adams were among the players who didn't practice or were limited due to injury or a coach's decision.

Quarterback Landry Jones and outside linebacker Bud Dupree were among those who returned to practice, along with Bryant.


SEVEN SHOTS:** The offense won the drill, 4-3, on a conversion/touchdown pass from Dobbs to wide receiver Eli Rogers at the goal line. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit conversion/touchdown passes to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (a shovel pass), wide receiver Martavis Bryant and wide receiver Antonio Brown on the first three reps. Roethlisberger threw incomplete for tight end Jesse James on his final rep.

Dobbs was unable to hook up with Coates and wide receiver Landry Jones before the pass to Rogers.

BEAT THE CLOCK: The Steelers worked on the two-minute drill for the third consecutive practice. The offense was tasked with moving 68 yards for a touchdown in 1:43, with two timeouts at its disposal. Dobbs and the second-team offense got it done against the first-team defense on a drive that finished with a fade to Rogers over cornerback William Gay on a snap from the 3-yard line with five seconds remaining. Quarterback Bart Houston's series ended on consecutive passes defensed by cornerback Mike Hilton on throws for wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.

QUICK HITTERS: Running back James Conner got reps with Roethlisberger's group in "Seven Shots" and in a third-down dill. Conner also got multiple carries in the 11-on-11 "tackle football" period. His first three attempts lost a combined 5 yards but he eventually broke free for a gain of about 15. Conner was also used extensively in a red zone drill and participated in both two-minute series … Safety Jacob Hagen intercepted Dobbs in 11-on-11 work … Former Steelers tight end Matt Spaeth was among the visitors to Saint Vincent College.

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