LATROBE, Pa. _ Welcome to the NFL, No. 1.
That, at least, is the message the Steelers’ offense appeared to be sending to No. 1 pick Devin Bush this afternoon during “Seven Shots,” the Steelers’ practice-opening, short-yardage/two-point conversion drill.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, in particular.
Roethlisberger, by coincidence or design, went at the rookie inside linebacker three consecutive times, and the offense won the rep on all three occasions.
The first was a conversion/scoring pass to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, after which Bush responded with an expletive.
The second was a completion to running back Jaylen Samuels in the end zone, after which someone on the defensive sideline hollered “get there, 5-5.”
The third was a connection to 6-foot-4 tight end Vance McDonald that sailed right over Bush (5-11) on the way to McDonald, who finished with another conversion/score.
Other developments from the drill:
-Wide receiver Donte Moncrief was back at it in 11-on-11 work and was targeted on the first rep, but dropped the pass in the back of the end zone.
-On all four of Roethlisberger’s reps the Steelers opened with a player lined up in the backfield who then motioned out to create a five-wide receivers look (running back James Conner, wide receiver Ryan Switzer, Samuels and Switzer again).
-Quarterback Mason Rudolph finished up with a conversion/score to wide receiver Diontae Spencer, an incomplete pass to first-year wide receiver Trey Griffey and an attempt for first-year tight end Kevin Rader that was intercepted by first-year safety Kameron Kelly.
-Kelly could have/would have taken his INT all the way back for a pick-six or a pick-two, depending on the circumstance.
MEDICAL FILE: Third-round wide receiver Diontae Johnson, safety Sean Davis, cornerback Joe Haden, cornerback Artie Burns, cornerback Brian Allen, third-round cornerback Justin Layne, first-year running back Ralph Webb, sixth-round outside linebacker Sutton Smith, outside linebacker Bud Dupree, center Maurkice Pouncey, offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins, guard David DeCastro, guard Ramon Foster, offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, defensive end Cam Heyward, and inside linebacker Vince Williams were among those who either didn’t practice, didn’t participate in 11-on-11 drills or didn’t finish practice due to either injury or a coach’s decision.
SNAP, HOLD, KICK: Kicker Chris Boswell hit field goals from 33, 52, 39, 51 and 41 yards. Rookie kicker Matthew Wright, who once again alternated attempts with Boswell, was short on the 52-yard try. Both kickers made an additional 33-yard kick that was characterized as an extra point.
Two “Mayday” kicks _the field goal team running onto the field and trying to beat the clock _ were attempted at the end of a practice-concluding two-minute drill. Boswell was successful from 45 yards away, but tight end Xavier Grimble didn’t get onto the field and lined up properly prior to the snap. Wight’s “Mayday” was good from 46 yards away and appeared to get off cleanly in the 14 seconds made available.
The Steelers also repped the desired reaction to bad snaps on field goal attempts. Second-year defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux caught passes from punter Jordan Berry and from rookie punter Ian Berryman on consecutive bad-snap simulations. On the second Mondeaux extended to make a catch down the field before tumbling to the ground.
The crowd cheered.
BOTH ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM: Smith-Schuster’s day included a leaping catch over tight coverage from inside linebacker Mark Barron, and a ball from Roethlisberger that bounced off Smith-Schuster’s face mask. Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner gave Smith-Schuster a fist bump after the latter.
EXTRA POINTS: Wide receiver Johnny Holton caught a long TD pass from quarterback Josh Dobbs and a long-gainer from quarterback Devlin Hodges in 11-on-11 play … The offensive line for the first 11-on-11 period of the day following “Seven Shots” consisted of left tackle Chukwuma Okorafor, left guard Matt Feiler, center B.J. Finney, right guard Fred Johnson and right tackle Zach Banner … Rookie safety P.J. Locke took reps with the first-team defense, beginning with “Seven Shots,” along with Terrell Edmunds … Cam Sutton took snaps at cornerback with the first-team defense after Haden exited practice ... Outside linebacker T.J. Watt was the latest defender to fall victim to Roethlisberger's hard count.
Take a look at photos from the Pittsburgh Steelers 11th day of training camp