It seemed more like a fall evening than a mid-August one at St. Vincent College on Wednesday, but despite the cool temperatures it is still training camp and things are as competitive as ever.
"We did good work today and were back in training camp mode," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "Practice was Steelers versus Steelers, a little situational football, some two-minute. We had good, spirited exercise and some competition periods. It was much of the same that we have been doing."
Among the highlights in practice was a long completion from Ben Roethlisberger to Emmanuel Sanders along the sidelines, but the biggest cheer came when kicker Shaun Suisham hit a 60-yard field goal during a special teams period.
The Steelers have been focusing on special teams in practice but Tomlin said it has nothing to do with the unit's performance against the New York Giants.
"It is just an emphasis because special teams is one thing that you don't practice out here in full speed," said Tomlin. "The relationship, the amount of grass the guys have to play in and so forth, you really don't get a litmus of where you are until you step into a stadium. Obviously, we are not where we need to be, so we work with a different mindset based on the knowledge that we acquire from in stadium work and we put guys in better positions. Hopefully guys will make better decisions and play smarter this week. I look forward to provide them opportunity to do that."
There was a change on the depth chart at running back on Wednesday, with the starting running back listed as Isaac Redman or rookie Le'Veon Bell.
"I just wanted it to represent how we intend to work in the game," said Tomlin. "Obviously, we haven't gotten into a detailed discussion about reps but we will dole out the number of reps. We do have some semblance of groups in which people are going to work in. I wanted to represent that with the depth chart. It speaks for itself."
Cornerback Curtis Brown was back on the field for the first time since injuring his ankle, and other injured players like cornerback Terry Hawthorne continued to get work after returning to the field on Monday.
"it is good to continually get guys back participating, more fully, the guys that have been limited," said Tomlin. "Curtis Brown was one of the highlights today. It was good to have him back out there as a full participant. All the others that have come back in recent days have had no negative consequences in their participation, so that is positive. Those that are still out, of course are working diligently to get back. Hopefully they will do that and do that soon. That will help their cause and ours."
The news wasn't as good for offensive lineman Justin Cheadle who suffered a hamstring injury on Monday.
"He is out with a hamstring injury," said Tomlin. "It's a significant one, so we are talking week-to-week as opposed to day-to-day."
The Steelers are in the home stretch of training camp at St. Vincent College, with only three practices remaining. The team will practice on Thursday (Aug. 15), Friday (Aug. 16) and Saturday (Aug 17) before breaking camp. Campus and the UPMC Steelers Experience will open at 12 noon each day and practice begins at 2:55 p.m.