Where it began: Rookie receiver Chase Claypool was the talk of training camp, and for those who weren't able to catch the rookie in action then, he is showing on game day why he was the hot topic.
Claypool pulled in an 84-yard touchdown reception from Ben Roethlisberger against the Broncos on Sunday, his first NFL touchdown. The catch is tied for the fourth-longest by a rookie in Steelers history. Claypool has five receptions for 127 yards through two games and has also shown what he can do on special teams with three tackles.
Coach Mike Tomlin said he and General Manager Kevin Colbert got a good feel for what Claypool could do when they attended the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama in January, an opportunity to get an up close look at it.
"It started for Kevin and I in Mobile," said Tomlin. "We have an opportunity to go to the practices in Mobile. You know how we covet those opportunities to get down on the field and get close to the draft class and watch them work and receive instruction. We were just really impressed with him as a football player no matter what was going on there, whether it was special teams drills and he was playing gunner or blocking drills. He showed the type of football character that we covet, a guy that is a competitor in all circumstances. And obviously we liked his wide receiver talent. It started there for us."
Strong blood lines: The Steelers locker room is filled with players who come from strong blood lines. This week the talk is all about T.J. and Derek Watt, who followed in the footsteps of their older brother, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt with impressive NFL careers. But it's not just them. Terrell and Trey Edmunds, whose brother Tremaine plays for the Buffalo Bills, followed the footsteps of their father, Ferrell Edmunds, a former All-Pro tight end who played for the Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks, while Devin Bush Jr. followed the path of his father, Devin Bush Sr., who was the No. 1 pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 1995.
"Just in terms of the lineage aspect of it, a lot can be benefited by being around this game at this level and having those close to you have experience in that area," said Tomlin. "I think there are less unknowns when you come from the circumstances (of those players). I think they have a better perspective of the challenges that lie ahead. I think all of that allows them to work more efficiently, be surprised less, and to be better prepared from the neck up in terms of meeting the challenges.
"Your dad's exposure, your brother's exposure doesn't make plays for you, but it does educate you and hopefully raise the floor. I think it's helpful from a knowledge, exposure and expectation standpoint."
Mask up: Tomlin has been seen at every practice, starting back with training camp, and on the sidelines on game day, wearing a face covering. It's something that has become second nature for him because he understands the importance of it first, to protect others during the COVID-19 pandemic, and second because it sets an example that he hopes others will follow.
"I'm just thankful to be working," said Tomlin. "A lot aren't able to in this pandemic. I don't take that for granted. I just want to show a good example and show I am thankful for working. I try to be as diligent as I can."
He said it:
Tomlin on what he has seen from Ben Roethlisberger through two games:
"I like where he is. I think there is more meat on the bone. I am excited about him continuing to knock the rust off and finding his All-Pro form."