Playing by the rules

LATROBE, Pa. _ The Steelers got down to business this afternoon.

Official business.

A crew of five men in back-and-white striped shirts visited Saint Vincent College and worked practice. Among them were Down Judge Mike Spanier, Umpire Bryan Neale and Field Judge David Meslow, who will be bringing a combined 33 years of experience into the 2019 season.

The purpose of such annual visits is to interact with players, coaches and media and provide updates on rules changes and points of emphasis.

The crew identified offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins reporting as an eligible receiver.

They signaled “good” on field goals.

And they made calls such as offside and offensive pass interference.

Head coach Mike Tomlin pretended to protest after a back-shoulder catch along the sideline by first-year wide receiver Tevin Jones on third-round cornerback Justin Layne on a well-thrown ball by quarterback Mason Rudolph.

“I’m gonna challenge that for OPI,” Tomlin said, before adding “I’m just practicing.”

Responded Spanier: “Be careful what you wish for.”

MEDICAL FILE: Safety Sean Davis (finger), inside linebacker Mark Barron (undisclosed), linebacker JT Jones (undisclosed), linebacker Bud Dupree (undisclosed), guard Fred Johnson (undisclosed) and outside linebacker T.J. Watt (Active/PUP List, hamstring) were among those who didn’t practice. Long snapper Kameron Canaday (groin) didn’t finish practice.

COVER ME: Fourth-round running back Benny Snell Jr. caught passes against first-round linebacker Devin Bush on three of three 1-on-1 matchups in a pass route/coverage edition of Backs-on-’Backers. The pass rush/protection version of the drill is weighted heavily in favor of the defense (running start, no cut-blocking). In this configuration the backs and tight ends have the advantage, as there’s no pass rush and the quarterback can wait as long as he cares to for the would-be pass catcher to get open.

Bush bounced back with a pass defensed that denied running back James Conner near the end of the drill.

SPLITTING THE UPRIGHTS: Kicker Chris Boswell was 3-for-3 on field goal attempts from between 32-34 yards, 2-for-2 from 39-41 yards out and hit a 52-yard effort during a kicking period. Boswell also converted from 38 yards away at the end of practice. He’s 15-for-15 in camp.

Kicker Matthew Wright made five of his six attempts, including the 52-yard try. The exception was a bad snap that compelled holder Ian Berryman to collect the ball and run. Wright also was successful from 38 yards at the end of practice (he’s 14-for-15 overall).

EXTRA POINTS: The offense won “Seven Shots,” the practice-opening, short-yardage/two-point conversion drill, 4-3. Bush had a pass defensed against wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on the first snap but the offense converted on the next four (receptions by Smith-Schuster, wide receiver Eli Rogers, wide receiver Diontae Johnson and wide receiver James Washington). Safety Jordan Dangerfield came up with an interception on a ball that had been deflected by cornerback Cam Sutton … Rookie tight end Trevor Wood (on punts) and tight end Vance McDonald (on field goals) long snapped in Canaday’s absence. McDonald is considered the back-up at the position … Wide receiver Brandon Reilly, picked up on waivers on Wednesday, made it to campus and practiced … Nose tackle Javon Hargrave was quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s latest victim on a hard count (Roethlisberger has been getting the defense to jump with regularity) but another such hard count induced a false start from Johnson. “What are you doing 18?” Roethlisberger barked … The Steelers are watching cornerback Artie Burns, who continues sharing snaps with first-team cornerback Joe Haden, closely. Former Steelers cornerback William Gay, who is working with the receivers in camp, noticed what he apparently thought was a sag in Burns’ enthusiasm at one juncture. “Body language, Artie,” Gay encouraged. “Body language.” … Defensive end Stephon Tuitt had a “sack” of Rudolph in 11-on-11 work.

Take a look at photos from the Pittsburgh Steelers 6th day of training camp

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