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Practice Report: Aug. 17

LATROBE, Pa. – Up to this point, it had been a physical and rather relentless training camp conducted by Coach Mike Tomlin at Saint Vincent College, but on Thursday he relented. With the Steelers' second of three preseason games scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at Acrisure Stadium, Tomlin used the on-field session to lay some of the groundwork for what he wants to see from the team against the Buffalo Bills.

"We're excited about leaning in on our second preseason opportunity," said Tomlin during a news conference held before practice, "and a couple reasons why: First, it's a home game weekend. We're always excited about familiarizing ourselves with Acrisure Stadium and some of the good things and some of the challenges that come along with it. One of the challenges is defensive communication. Our home game venue is an asset to us in that regard, but it does present some challenges from a defensive communication perspective, and so that's one of our little agendas, if you will, in preparation for this game, making sure that we respect that component.

"We get one opportunity in the preseason to play at home, and so defensive communication in the midst of that is going to be big for us."

Players wore just helmets during a practice that lasted for a little less than two hours, and while there was no specific game-planning taking place, it did appear the team was using the kind of cards that make an appearance during the regular season to provide the look the coaches are interested in reviewing based on the upcoming opponent.

In fact, the pace and intensity of the workout was similar to what would happen during a typical Thursday regular season practice before a Sunday game. Any and all contact was avoided as much as possible, with defenders pursuing the football but stopping way short of colliding with the guy either carrying it or going for it.

Even 7-Shots was performed in a toned-down fashion, with Tomlin not even bothering to put the first units back on the field after the score became 3-3, as he had done the previous two times that had happened. And just for the record, a Mitch Trubisky incomplete pass into the end zone provided the stop that gave the defense a 4-3 victory.

"Just like last week, as I stand here today, we expect to play all healthy players. Three guys who are probably not going to play just based on their level of health right now are Larry Ogunjobi, Tre Norwood, because although he's been practicing in a partial capacity, we'll probably wait until next week on him, and Nate Herbig has missed a few days so it's probably not appropriate to put him in uniform."