LATROBE, Pa. – It's been an unofficial theme of this training camp, quite possibly because it was something the Steelers didn't do well enough consistently enough during the 2009 season.
The Steelers ended up with a 9-7 record last season and didn't earn the spot in the playoffs they needed to have a chance to defend their Super Bowl championship, and in six of those seven losses they were either tied or in the lead at some point in the fourth quarter.
So, this camp has been about finishing. Finishing plays, finishing drills, finishing practice sessions. And now, finishing training camp.
"It has been awesome. There is no substitute for what we do here. The atmosphere is awesome," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "We appreciate the fans. It has been a great experience for us, and we just want to finish it the way that we should."
Wednesday marked the final practice session at Saint Vincent College that was open to the public, and the team has a morning workout scheduled for Thursday before breaking camp on Friday to go to New York for their second preseason game, against the Giants on Saturday.
"I like the energy and enthusiasm. I like the way guys finish," said Tomlin. "It's evident that we have some highly-conditioned guys out there, and that's a good thing because that's going to be what's required if we're going to go where we want to go. The physicality waned a little bit toward the end, but all in all I thought it was a good day's work."
Generally, Tomlin has said he has been pleased with the work done at Saint Vincent College, and while the Steelers will pack up and leave here in a couple of days their preseason will continue back in Pittsburgh. The roster cut to 53 isn't until Sept. 4, almost three full weeks away.
"The guys are working extremely hard and again, like I said, we have to guard against the finalities of preseason because camp is coming to an end," said Tomlin. "In reality we have three (preseason) games left. We have a lot of time to continue to develop the football team, and determine who that 53 is going to be and the roles within that 53. I stress that to the guys, and I think they have an understanding of that. This is just a part of the process as we continue to develop our team."
Throughout the Wednesday practice, Tomlin could be heard imploring his running backs and receivers to finish. Consider it reinforcing a point.
"It's just overall conditioning. Not only for those (offensive) guys, but when those guys are running they make the defense chase," said Tomlin. "I like how we finished today. We just need to continue to do that, and that is a big part of our development.
INJURY UPDATE: Said Tomlin, "Jonathan Dwyer was a limited participator and is still working his way back from his shoulder injury. Isaac Redmond limped to a finish there with some shin splints but other than that everything else is status quo."