Rookie wide receiver James Washington got his most extensive look of the preseason running reps with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tonight, but the Steelers’ practice at Heinz Field revealed there’s still more work to be done.
“That is the most I’ve worked with him since I’ve been on this team,” Washington said. “We just gotta keep working.
“It went all right. Just gotta get better, gotta clean up a few areas.”
An obvious example of that occurred during an 11-on-11 “Red Zone” drill. Roethlisberger fired a pass for Washington in the end zone but the No. 2 pick didn’t get his head around fast enough to look for the ball.
By the time he did, the ball had sailed out of bounds.
“It’s just a rookie move on me,” Washington said. “I gotta be more professional in some areas and just know his tendencies.”
Wide receiver Antonio Brown didn’t take part in 11-on-11 work during “Family Fest.”
Washington got on the field with Roethlisberger and wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Justin Hunter in three-receivers sets during “Seven Shots,” the Steelers’ practice-opening two-point conversion/short-yardage drill.
It was the same in 11-on-11 throughout the evening until the two-minute work that concluded practice.
Roethlisberger didn’t participate in that (Landry Jones and Mason Rudolph each ran a series).
Jones’ three receivers in the two-minute period were Smith-Schuster, Hunter and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Washington was used with wide receivers Damoun Patterson and Trey Griffey during Rudolph’s two-minute series.
Washington also went up and fought off the coverage of cornerback Jamar Summers and came down with a touchdown catch from Roethlisberger in 1-on-1 wide receivers/defensive backs drills.
Washington wasn’t as successful when he went against cornerback Joe Haden, whose press coverage helped induce an incompletion on a fade by Roethlisberger to the back corner of the end zone.
The revelation of a few areas to “clean up” didn’t make Washington any less appreciative of the chances to catch passes from Roethlisberger.
“It helps because you get those reps from a Hall-of-Famer and just a good mentor,” Washington said.
Check out photos from the second annual Steelers Family Fest at Heinz Field.
MEDICAL FILE: Running back Stevan Ridley (undisclosed), safety Marcus Allen (hamstring), cornerback Mike Hilton (undisclosed), running back Fitz Toussaint (knee), safety Morgan Burnett (undisclosed), center Patrick Morris (undisclosed), guard Ramon Foster (knee), offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor (shoulder), Brown (quad), tight end Xavier Grimble (wrist), tight end Vance McDonald (foot), outside linebacker T.J. Watt (hamstring), and defensive tackle Dan McCullers (hamstring) were among those who didn’t take part in 11-on-11 drills.
HOLD ON A MINUTE: Kicker Chris Boswell was 13-for-14 kicking field goals of various lengths with Kameron Canaday snapping and either punter Jordan Berry or punter Matt Wile holding.
Berry hit the left upright from 54 yards out but made a subsequent second attempt from that distance.
“If we miss one we’ll go right back to it because you don’t like to end on a miss,” Boswell said. “I hit the pole, came back and hit the other pole but it went in.”
Boswell also missed badly from 38 yards away with Roethlisberger holding, but Boswell described Roethlisberger’s hold as “perfect.
“We have some things to fix but it’s not on him, it’s on me,” Boswell insisted. “I gotta kick the ball through.
“We’ll get it handled.”
Center Maurkice Pouncey, Foster and special teams coordinator Danny Smith were among those who appeared to be laughing after Roethlisberger’s attempt at holding and the never-had-a-chance miss that resulted.
“His hold was perfect,” Boswell maintained. “I’m not going to say anything else.”
EXTRA POINTS: The offense won, 4-3, in “Seven Shots,” but not without controversy. A first-rep pass from Roethlisberger to Hunter was completed, but Haden got Hunter on the ground short of the goal line. The high school officials working practice called it a conversion/touchdown. “That’s why we have the referees out here,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “I can sit firmly on the fence and point at them. They said ‘touchdown,’ so I agree with them.” … The Steelers estimated the crowd at “nearly 20,000.” … Cornerback Artie Burns intercepted Roethlisberger in 1-on-1 work and safety Jordan Dangerfield came up with a diving interception of a pass by quarterback Josh Dobbs in 11-on-11 play.