Highlights from practice No. 17 of training camp:
- "The Joe Show" was at Heinz Field for a second consecutive day, but this time ILB Joe Schobert was here to participate.
- When the defense took the field for "Seven Shots," Schobert did so with the first-team unit.
- When the five-defensive backs "nickel' was needed, Schobert again lined up next to ILB Devin Bush.
- And in the first of two two-minute drills that closed practice, Schobert was the lone inside linebacker in the six-defensive backs "dime" alignment.
- "We're just trying to teach as much as we can," head coach Mike Tomlin explained of how Schobert was deployed during his first practice with the Steelers. "The best way to teach is to get him in competitive situations."
INTRODUCTION: Schobert, acquired in a trade Thursday night with Jacksonville, struck up a conversation with ILB Robert Spillane shortly after taking the field in a No. 45 gold jersey prior to practice. The two spoke in the vicinity of the upside down garbage cans used for the defensive walk-thru, a spot where the defensive linemen and linebackers congregate on a daily basis.
Schobert stood behind Spillane in formations that required two inside linebackers in the defensive walk-thru.
When the walk-thru was prepping the "dime," Schobert mirrored the movements of Bush, the lone inside linebacker deployed in such situations.
Schobert chatted initially with defensive coordinator Keith Butler on the sideline and then with senior conditioning coordinator Garrett Giemont at midfield during the special teams walk-thru.
SEVEN SHOTS: The first-team defense lined up for the first rep of the two-point conversion/short-yardage drill with Schobert next to Bush.
Non-starters included were CB James Pierre (playing for Joe Haden), OLB Jamir Jones (taking the place of Melvin Ingram III, who has been taking the place of T.J. Watt) and DE Chris Wormley (instead of Stephon Tuitt). Haden, Ingram and Watt didn't take part in 11-on-11 drills.
COVER ME: Schobert took four reps in a 2-on-2 pass route/pass coverage drill contested between the linebackers and the tight ends/running backs.
He covered TE Zach Gentry initially, and Gentry wasn't targeted.
On Schobert's second rep he surrendered a catch to RB Tony Brooks-James on a shallow cross.
TE Kevin Rader wasn't targeted on Schobert's third rep.
RB Anthony McFarland beat Schobert deep for a TD on Schobert's fourth rep of the drill.
TWO-MINUTE DRILLS: The offense was tasked with driving 55 yards for a touchdown in 1:48 and had one timeout with which to work.
QB Dwayne Haskins got the chance to throw to WRs Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster for the first time in such a sutuatiuon.
The offense was opposed by a "dime" unit that included Schobert as the lone inside linebacker, OLBs Alex Highsmith and Jones, and CB Cam Sutton, SS Terrell Edmunds, and FS Minkah Fitzpatrick in the secondary.
Haskins eventually got the offense into the end zone on a 5-yard touchdown pass to Claypool with less than 20 seconds left on the clock.
But Haskins' second pass should have been intercepted by Sutton but was instead bobbled and eventually grabbed by TE Pat Freiermuth for a 10-yard gain.
"You can't give signal callers another shot at you," Tomlin emphasized. "That was the lesson from that period.
"When the defense gets their hands on the ball, man, we gotta close it out."
QB Mason Rudolph ended the second two-minute drive (55 yards, 1:38, one timeout) with a 2-yard touchdown pass to WR Anthony Johnson with five seconds left.
Take a look at the Steelers training and preparing for the 2021 season at Heinz Field
MEDICAL FILE: Among those who either didn't participate or only took part in position drills or individual work due to a variety of reasons were Ingram, WR James Washington, WR Ray-Ray McCloud, Haden, CB Antoine Brooks Jr., C Kendrick Green, TE Eric Ebron, Watt and DE Stephon Tuitt.
X's & O's: Schobert spent some time during the first special teams period talking to Bush and then to General Manager Kevin Colbert on the sideline … The first-team offensive line included LT Chukwuma Okorafor, LG Kevin Dotson, C J.C. Hassenauer, RG Trai Turner and RT Zach Banner, the starting unit according to the depth chart … CB Arthur Maulet continued working as the first-team nickel CB in Brooks' absence … The defense won "Seven Shots" by a 4-3 margin. QB Ben Roethlisberger went 1-for-3 (a conversion/touchdown to WR Diontae Johnson on the third rep). QB Dwayne Haskins hit WR Rico Bussey in the end zone on the sixth and seventh reps … Haskins hit WR Isaiah McKoy on a deep ball down the sideline at CB Mark Gilbert's expense … Maulet got a hand on a sideways pass from Rudolph that could have resulted in a pick-six but wound up as an incompletion. Maulet responded with a backflip that would have fit right in during the Olympics … The pass of the day was a bomb the went for a touchdown from QB Josh Dobbs to WR Mathew Sexton, who beat CB Stephen Denmark deep in "First Down Run." The pair hooked up for another long-gainer moments later.