For the last five days live contact has been a huge part of practice for the Steelers at training camp, and Coach Mike Tomlin is enjoying what others could consider to be the "dog days" of camp.
"I am enjoying them," said Tomlin. "I'm enjoying it. Not quite dog days for me."
Tomlin characterized Sunday's practice as "uneventful," not in a bad way as he was pleased with the body of work by the team.
"We introduced some other components of situational football and we'll continue to develop a red zone package, offensively and defensively, and work kickoff and kickoff return on special teams," said Tomlin. "It was really kind of more of the same thing.
"I like the energy and enthusiasm. The guys are really getting into the rhythm of this thing and we are seeing the results of it. They are developing the skill that is going to be required of us to be good, and just generally from an effort standpoint, they are doing a nice job of fighting through."
Tomlin reiterated after practice that the addition of live contact drills and any changes in camp have nothing to do with the team's 8-8 finish last year, but instead a result of having a young, competitive team.
"I'm just trying to provide this group of men what it is they need to be the best that they can be this year," said Tomlin. "We have a lot of young guys, a lot of competition, jobs and so forth. The only way to provide more opportunity is to roll the ball out and snap it, and play football. So that is what we are doing."
A handful of players were held out of practice on Sunday with what Tomlin referred to as "bumps and bruises that are associated with this time of year."
The secondary seemed depleted with Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown, Terry Hawthorne, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Ross Ventrone and Troy Polamalu all missing.
Tomlin was asked about Polamalu, and the good news is it doesn't appear injury related. "He has got a contusion to the birth certificate that is from the 70's," laughed Tomlin. "He will be okay."
In other words, sounds like the 11-year veteran was just getting a day off, something that isn't unusual.
The Steelers have an open practice on Monday at 2:55 p.m. at St. Vincent College. Parking lots and the UPMC Steelers Experience open at 12 noon.