PITTSBURGH — Despite rainy conditions at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Wednesday, the Steelers practiced in the rain, and according to head coach Mike Tomlin, that made for a good day.
“We had a beautiful day despite the weather conditions,” Tomlin said. “Anytime you get an opportunity to sharpen your sword for battle it’s a good day.”
Of course, Tomlin had plenty of other reason for optimism, with star linebacker T.J. Watt returning to full participation at practice. But Tomlin also genuinely enjoys getting work in during all kinds of weather conditions.
“The weather conditions provide a nice obstacle,” he said. “I think we need working environments like this. We’re gonna play in environments like this, and the standard of expectations will still be the same. We’ve got to stay on our feet on both sides of the ball. We’ve got to do a good job in terms of our exchange game and the securing of the football. Working in an environment like this gives us an opportunity to do so.”
Rookie center Kendrick Green said the rain caused him to experiment with snapping with gloves on for the first time with the Steelers.
“It was a little wet today, so I just tried it,” Green said. “It was just due to the weather.”
While the Steelers appreciated the wet-weather work, the forecast for Buffalo on Sunday is fair, with a high of 77 degrees and partly cloudy skies.
DEPTH CHART NEWS
Tomlin confirmed that Green will be the starting center on Sunday, as he was listed on the team’s final depth chart. Even though Green worked with the first team for most of training camp, he had been second on the preseason depth charts behind veteran J.C. Hassenauer.
At outside linebacker, Tomlin was less confident of the rotation. His depth chart has Melvin Ingram as the top backup at both spots behind Watt on the left and Alex Highsmith on the right. First-year player Jamir Jones is the third-teamer at both spots.
With Watt just returning to practice action on Wednesday, it’s unclear if he’ll take a full slate of repetitions. Highsmith was also limited with an injury late in training camp, though Tomlin said on Tuesday that his 53-man roster is at full health.
Watt was not voted a captain this season by his teammates, as he was a season ago, though his brother Derek was. Tomlin chose not to weigh in with an opinion on why that might be.
“Those guys vote and their votes speak,” he said. “I’m not interested in interpreting it. I just report the news.”
GREEN DOT TALK
Tomlin said the team may use both Devin Bush and Joe Schobert with the green-dot radio communication helmet, and they have options in that regard.
“We’ve got two guys that are green dot capable,” he said. “The reality is there are multiple helmets on the sideline, and you have the option between series to determine who that green dot is. So, we’ll exercise those options and leave it a little bit mystical.