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Practice Report: July 29

Highlights from practice No. 7 of training camp:

  • The first two-minute drill of camp turned into a coachable moment for QB Mason Rudolph.
  • The offense was tasked with moving the ball 54 yards in 1:18 for a game-winning touchdown, and had one timeout at its disposal.
  • Rudolph completed his first five passes and advanced the ball into the red zone. But with the timeout spent and time running out, Rudolph opted for WR JuJu Smith-Schuster on the wrong side of the goal line.
  • The offense was unable to line up and spike the ball before time expired.
  • "At 15 seconds (remaining) we gotta take shots at the end zone," head coach Mike Tomlin emphasized. "When (free safety) Minkah (Fitzpatrick) tackled that guy (Smith-Schuster) in the field of play right there the game's over, and we gotta have that level of awareness."
  • Smith-Schuster wasn't actually tackled (the Steelers weren't wearing shoulder pads today).
  • Still, Tomlin's point was made, as it had been prior to meeting the media.
  • "It was annoying, yes, but I also acknowledge that the learning is part of this," Tomlin said. "It's an opportunity to teach, but some of those guys have been around a little bit.
  • "I expressed that feeling."

TAKING THE BUSSEY: The second two-minute series covered 52 yards and ended on a 30-yard touchdown pass from QB Dwayne Haskins to rookie WR Rico Bussey on first-and-10 with 17 second left.

Haskins, who looked sharp for a second consecutive day, flushed right and found Bussey uncovered at about the 5.

Bussey had a day, as well. In addition to the practice-ending TD catch, he tipped a ball that CB Justin Layne appeared to have a shot at intercepting and then came up with the catch by grabbing the carom, and also hauled in a reception on a deep ball at the expense of CB Stephen Denmark.

SEVEN SHOTS: The offense won again, but this time by a 4-3 count.

QB Ben Roethlisberger went 2-for-3 on attempted scores/conversions in the two-point/short-yardage drill.

Roethlisberger's first pass found Smith-Schuster in the back of the end zone, where Smith-Schuster attempted to make a diving catch in bounds. He got a foot and a knee down but the ball was bobbled as he slid out of bounds and the play was called incomplete.

The next two passes went to WR Chase Claypool for conversions/scores. Claypool made a combat catch against CB Cam Sutton on the first, avenging to a degree plays Sutton had made on Claypool under similar circumstances each of the previous two days, including one in Wednesday's "Seven Shots."

Rudolph was "sacked" by CB Arthur Maulet and then hit WR Ray Ray McCloud over the middle on a play-action bootleg left. Rudolph and McCloud had what appeared to be a detailed conversation following the play, implying things may not have gone exactly according to plan.

Haskins found WR Tyler Simmons in the end zone and then threw incomplete to TE Dax Raymond (the ball hit Raymond in the helmet).

The starting offensive line remained unchanged: LT Dan Moore Jr., LG Rashaad Coward, C Kendrick Green, RG Trai Turner and RT Joe Haeg.

The first-team defense included CB James Pierre opposite Sutton, ILB Ulysees Gilbert (opposite ILB Robert Spillane), and OLB Cassius Marsh (opposite OLB Alex Highsmith). CB Antoine Brooks Jr. was the nickel.

The offense has converted nine of 14 reps over the last two days in "Seven Shots."

MEDICAL FILE: The list of players who either didn't participate or only took part in position drills due to a variety of reasons included OLB Melvin Ingram III, WR Cody White (hamstring), CB Joe Haden (day off), ILB Devin Bush, C J.C. Hassenauer, OG Kevin Dotson, OT Zach Banner, OT Chukwuma Okorafor, TE Eric Ebron (elbow), OLB T.J. Watt and DE Stephon Tuitt.

Raymond was banged up late and RB Jaylen Samuels "limped off,"according to Tomlin, and also didn't finish.

X's & O's: The Maulet "sack" of Rudolph in "Seven Shots" came against a formation that included RB Anthony McFarland and RB Kalen Ballage. Two-back sets beyond the standard running back-fullback tandem have been noticeable each of the last two days … Rookie S Tre Norwood intercepted and overthrow from Rudolph in an 11-on-11 third down drill (Norwood also had a pick in a WR/DB drill) … Tomlin offered up a "wow" after one of rookie P Pressley Harvin III's better efforts during what appeared to be a hang time display during a punting drill. "He looked like Ray Guy a time or two, didn't he?" Tomlin said. "Those guys (Harvin and incumbent Jordan Berry) have been battling, and we respect all the battles that are going on out here." … Smith-Schuster also dropped a deep ball from Rudolph in 11-on-11 play on what would have gone for a long touchdown (the ball hit him in the face mask). Rudolph came back to Smith-Schuster on the next two snaps and consecutive completions resulted … Rookie RB Najee Harris caught a pass over the middle in 7-on-7 but Pierre forced a fumble and Fitzpatrick recovered.