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Steelers Sights and Sounds: Camp Day 11

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UNITY TWP, Pa. — On Wednesday, the Steelers completed their final full contact practice of the week leading up to the start of preseason Friday night against Tampa Bay. For the second straight day, practice featured an intermixing of playbook install and gameplan preparation for the Buccaneers – a first for the team during camp.

Both sides of the ball experienced their fair share of ups and downs, and Joe Haden left practice with what initially sounded like a serious injury.

During an 11-on-11 segment, Steelers team reporter Missi Matthews tweeted that cornerback Joe Haden was carted off the field and into the locker room with an injury, subsequently sending Steelers Twitter into a frenzy.

Sounds bad, right?

Matthews wasn’t wrong. Haden indeed suffered an injury, but it wasn’t a dramatic cart-on-the-field type situation. After breaking up a pass on the first rep of the team segment, Haden reportedly had his foot stepped on during a play, limped off the field, and hopped on to the front seat of a cart that took him to the locker room to be evaluated. But it’s important to note that the team’s locker room is located up a hill from the field. So, it wouldn’t have made sense for Haden to hobble all the way up on his own power and risk further injury.

Take a deep breath. Haden’s likely OK.

In an official statement, the Steelers said Haden was being evaluated for an injury and it would be addressed after the first preseason game. During practice, Adam Schefter reported that Haden suffered a minor ankle injury that wasn’t serious.

Crisis averted.

In Haden’s absence, Cameron Sutton took first team reps at corner opposite Steven Nelson during team drills with both Artie Burns and Justin Layne out of practice.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS 

It was a particularly nice day for the wide receivers. Johnny Holton hauled in a pair of impressive catches on deep balls, one of which he took for a touchdown on a nicely placed ball by Josh Dobbs.

Here’s a video of the group going through individual drills highlighted by a one-handed toe-tap grab by Ryan Switzer.

7 SHOTS

Per usual through camp, practice No. 11 featured another win for the offense in the team’s highly popular red zone drill, but it wasn’t by way of a dominant performance like Tuesday. Led by an efficient Ben Roethlisberger, the offense ultimately won, 4-3.

1st play: Donte Moncrief dropped a pass from Roethlisberger. Steven Nelson was there in coverage.

2nd play: JuJu Smith-Schuster beat Devin Bush on a five-yard out route and caught a laser from Roethlisberger for the score. Bush was visibly frustrated after allowing the conversion.

3rd play: Roethlisberger found Jaylen Samuels, who motioned out of the backfield, for a touchdown on a quick slant.

4th play: Roethlisberger connected with Vance McDonald across the middle to score.

5th play: Mason Rudolph delivered a ball on the money to Diontae Spencer in the right corner of the end zone.

6th play: Rudolph forced an errant throw that fell incomplete.

7th play: Kameron Kelly intercepted Rudolph and took it back for a would-be pick-six

CAMP STANDOUTS 

With the preseason approaching, the Steelers placed a heavy emphasis on special teams preparation. Chris Boswell continued his strong camp performance with a perfect 6 for 6 mark during a field goal competition against Matthew Wright. He connected on attempts from 51- and 52-yards out, while Wright went 4 for 6 in the drill with misses on 33- and 52-yard attempts.

Boswell and Wright will split reps against the Buccaneers, Mike Tomlin announced Wednesday morning.

The Steelers also practiced a fake FG scenario, where Jordan Berry took the snap, rolled right and threw a 15-yard pass to defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux. They repped it twice, and Mondeaux caught both.

Sutton, Holton and Diontae Spencer interchanged returning kicks during the team’s kickoff return segment.

INJURY UPDATES

Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, Jerald Hawkins, Artie Burns, Justin Layne, Brian Allen, Bud Dupree, Vince Williams and Diontae Johnson all didn’t practice.

Cam Heyward was not present at practice, likely due to his wife just having a baby.

Alejandro Villanueva, Sean Davis and T.J. Watt were all back in action. Villanueva was seen with an ice wrap on his right elbow.

Steelers

How Have Previous 10-0 Teams Fared?

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The Steelers are 10-0 after Sunday’s victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, extending their best start in team history and accomplishing a feat that’s been done just 17 times in NFL history.

The first 10-0 team was the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who went on to win all 14 regular season games and the Super Bowl, a season that still stands alone in NFL history as the lone unblemished campaign.

The 2007 New England Patriots also went on to finish an unbeaten regular season, going 16-0 before losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

What has happened to the other 16 squads that started out with wins in their first 10 games?

All 16 made the postseason and did so as a division winner.

Twelve won an 11th game and kept the winning streak alive, with just four falling to 10-1.

Ten advanced all the way to the Super Bowl, and six have won it.

In 1990 and 2009, there were multiple 10-0 teams, with one eliminating the other in the playoffs. At least the Steelers don’t have to worry about that this year.

Here’s a breakdown of how all the 10-0 teams finished their seasons:

1972 Miami Dolphins
Game 11: 31-10 win over St. Louis Cardinals
Finished regular season 14-0
Won Super Bowl VII

1975 Minnesota Vikings
Game 11: 30-31 loss at Washington Redskins
Finished regular season 12-2
Lost in Divisional Playoffs

1984 Miami Dolphins
Game 11: 28-34 loss at San Diego Chargers
Finished regular season: 14-2
Lost in Super Bowl XIX

1985 Chicago Bears
Game 11: 44-0 win at Dallas Cowboys
Finished regular season: 15-1
Won Super Bowl XX

1990 New York Giants
Game 11: 20-0 win over Detroit Lions
Finished regular season: 13-3
Won Super Bowl XXV

1990 San Francisco 49ers
Game 11: 17-28 loss to Los Angeles Rams
Finished regular season: 14-2
Lost in NFC Championship Game

1991 Washington Redskins
Game 11: 56-17 win over Atlanta Falcons
Finished regular season: 14-2
Won Super Bowl XXVI

1998 Denver Broncos
Game 11: 40-14 win at Kansas City Chiefs
Finished regular season: 14-2
Won Super Bowl XXXIII

2005 Indianapolis Colts
Game 11: 26-18 win at Jacksonville Jaguars
Finished regular season: 14-2
Lost in Divisional Playoff to Pittsburgh Steelers

2007 New England Patriots
Game 11: 31-28 win over Philadelphia Eagles
Finished regular season: 16-0
Lost Super Bowl XLII

2008 Tennessee Titans
Game 11: 24-14 win at Jacksonville Jaguars
Finished regular season: 13-3
Lost in Divisional Playoff

2009 Indianapolis Colts
Game 11: 35-27 win at Houston Texans
Finished regular season: 14-2
Lost Super Bowl XLIV

2009 New Orleans Saints
Game 11: 38-17 win over New England Patriots
Finished regular season: 14-2
Won Super Bowl XLIV

2011 Green Bay Packers
Game 11: 27-15 win at Detroit Lions
Finished regular season: 15-1
Lost in Divisional Playoff

2015 Carolina Panthers
Game 11: 33-14 win at Dallas Cowboys
Finished regular season: 15-1
Lost in Super Bowl 50

2015 New England Patriots
Game 11: 24-30 overtime loss at Denver Broncos
Finished regular season: 12-4
Lost in AFC Championship

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Steelers to Wear Color Rush Uniforms vs. Ravens

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The Steelers will wear their all-black Color Rush uniforms on Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens, the team announced on Monday night.

The team made the decision after getting input from the players and the fanbase. It will be the first time the team has worn the uniforms this season.

“I love them. I really love them,” cornerback Joe Haden said to Steelers.com. “They look sick. And we play well in them. You look good, you feel good, and you play good. I just really love them and am excited we get to wear them.”

“I like those. I think it’s a good change,” added James Conner. “When we have one style of game pants, everyone is so used to seeing us in black and gold at home. When it goes all black, I think it looks solid. It’s like the Dark Knight.”

The Steelers are 5-1 all-time in the uniforms, which were introduced in 2016 in a Christmas Day win over the Baltimore Ravens. This will be the second time they’ve worn the uniform against the Ravens.

The team wore the uniforms twice in 2019, a win over the Miami Dolphins and a loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Compared to the Steelers’ usual uniform, the Color Rush getups swap white, italic uniform numbers for block, gold digits and the white, intermediary stripes in the team’s five-striped sleeve design also swap white for gold.

The team’s usual gold pants with a thick black stripe are exchanged for the inverse, black pants with a gold side stripe. The team keeps its usual all-black socks for a head-to-toe black-and-gold look.

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Steelers Reduce Future Capacity to 2,500 to Comply with Gov. Wolf’s Modified COVID-19 Policy

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The Steelers will reduce the number of fans they can host at Heinz Field in the month of December in order to comply with adjusted COVID-19 mitigation guidelines released by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Health on Monday.

The Steelers will host no more than 2,500 fans per game beginning with their Dec. 6 home game against Washington. Thursday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens will not be impacted by the change. The Steelers had been hosting as many 5,500 fans for home games in the months of October and November after playing without fans in September.

With just a 2,500-person capacity, fans in the seating bowl against Washington will be limited to family and friends of players and the organization.

“Our priority remains the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff , gameday workers, and our fans,” team spokesman Burt Lauten said in a statement. “We will adhere to the original protocols for games with fans at Heinz Field and expect approximately 5,550 fans in attendance for Thursday’s game versus the Ravens.”

Wolf did not specifically cite reasons for modifying the limits on event capacity, but explained that the series of changes made to the mitigation rules on Tuesday are in response to growing numbers of positive cases and hospitalizations in the state.

“In December, projections show upwards of 22,000 new COVID cases per day in Pennsylvania, Wolf said. “And we are projected to run out of ICU beds. We must take action to protect our health care system from being compromised.”

The Pitt Panthers, who share Heinz Field with the Steelers, have ended the home portion of their 2020 schedule.

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