Trial and error

Rookie James Washington made the right read when he said his reps with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the first-team offense were on the rise at the outset of this week.

The next step will be to get the Steelers' second-round wide receiver seeing things with such clarity a little more often.

"He's gotten more reps," Roethlisberger confirmed. "We've seen him in there. I've asked for him a couple times to be in, in part, sometimes, to give guys a break, but that's also an opportunity.

"He shouldn't look at it as, 'Oh, I'm just a fill-in.' He should look at it as, 'All right, this is my chance,' and I think he's done that."

For the most part.

The combat-catch aspect of Washington's game has been apparent since OTAs.

But mistakes have likewise been made.

One occurred on Sunday night at Heinz Field, when Washington admittedly didn't look back for the ball fast enough in the end zone.

Roethlisberger identified another in Tuesday afternoon's practice.

The Steelers will continue working with Washington to minimize instances "like that particular play on Sunday," Roethlisberger stressed, in advance of Saturday's preseason game against Tennessee and through the regular-season opener on Sept. 9 at Cleveland.

"There was a play today where he made a rookie mistake again," Roethlisberger continued after practice on Tuesday. "I told him to get out (of the huddle), I don't want him back in for right now. Those are part of the learning curve. It's nothing against him personally.

"(Tuesday) was one that I really feel like he shouldn't have made. I don't think he'll make it again because we had a good talk about it after."

In such situations, the details of execution are just as significant as hands that double as Vice-Grips.

"The thing that made me the most frustrated is we literally just talked about this particular defense, what the Titans do and what we want that receiver position to do," Roethlisberger explained. "'Cover 2,' get outside, we're going to try to hit you just past the corner before the safety gets there.

"Well, he beat the corner because the corner was sitting in 'Cover 2.' He thought he beat him, so he's just running as fast as he can down the field. I threw it into that little area between the corner and the safety and he wasn't looking when I threw it. I said, 'What's disappointing to me is we just went over this on film.' He's like, 'I thought I beat him so I was just trying to run deep.' I said, 'That's fine, two things are going to happen. The ball's either going to get intercepted or you're going to die because the safety is going to kill you.'

"Hopefully, he learned from it and won't make the mistake again."

Mistakes are anticipated.

For a rookie such as Washington, making the corresponding corrections is critical "whether that's on the field right there from me, from the coach or in film study afterwards," Roethlisberger said. "Guys are going to make mistakes. I think the key, though, is he going to continue to make the same mistake?

"If he doesn't, then we know he learned. If he keeps making the same mistake, then we start to have issues."

The Steelers prepare for the Week 3 preseason matchup against the Tennessee Titans.

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