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Steelers Sights and Sounds: Camp Day Six

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UNITY TWP, Pa. — When the Steelers put their pads on for the first time in 2019 earlier this week at St. Vincent College, the team’s running game seemed to get a significant push against its defense.

On Thursday, the defense pushed back, keeping the Steelers’ backs in check in several team running periods.

But the offense still found ways to make big plays, with backs sneaking out of the backfield being a seemingly easy option.

Fullback Rosie Nix might’ve had the biggest play on a wheel route down the right sideline.

In individual drills, it was more of the same, as the backs and tight ends dominated the linebackers in one-on-one and two-on-two settings.

That’s part of the natural flow of how the team gets it’s game together and playbook installed. Sometimes the offense is going to be ahead of the defense, and sometimes, it’s going to be the other way.

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

Here are the Steelers running backs performing an agility drill, with coach Eddie Faulkner throwing a punching bag in at the end for good measure.

What’s particularly interesting about this drill is that you can hear the backs’ biometric performance tracking devices beep as they exert themselves.

Check it out:

INJURY UPDATES

Wide receiver Ryan Switzer (quad), tackle Derwin Gray (fatigue) and linebacker Anthony Chickillo (undisclosed) returned to action.

Receivers Donte Moncrief (dislocated finger) and Johnny Holton (hamstring) were limited participants.

Safety Sean Davis (dislocated finger, left hand) and linebacker T.J. Watt (left hamstring tightness) did not practice and remain day-to-day.

Linebacker Bud Dupree, linebacker J.T. Jones and guard Fred Johnson did not practice for the first time. Long snapper Kameron Canaday did not finish the practice after suffering a groin injury.

Diontae Johnson got most of the work at “X” wide receiver in place of Moncrief. Chickillo returned to Watt’s usual spot while Ola Adeniyi filled into for Dupree. Kameron Kelly continued to cover for Davis. Tight ends Trevor Wood and Vance McDonald filled in for Canaday.

Cornerback Herb Waters was waived/injured with his shoulder ailment.

CAMP STANDOUTS

Chris Boswell was put under some pressure toward the end of practice, and came through perfect — even with a backup long snapper.

Special teams coach Danny Smith put 12 seconds on the play clock and had the field goal unit get into position for a 52-yard try. Boswell got the attempt off just before time expired and it might’ve been good from 60 yards out.

Rookie backup Matthew Wright also made his kick, but his just cleared the bar.

SEVEN SHOTS

The defense took home the victory in the team’s red zone drill thanks to a big play by a backup linebacker.

Ben Roethlisberger started the drill by throwing three straight passes at Terrell Edmunds. Diontae Johnson couldn’t hang on to the first one, JuJu Smith-Schuster brought the second one down in the back of the end zone and Eli Rogers scored on the third one, but the offense was flagged for a false start.

Then Roethlisberger found Johnson in the left flat after he escaped from cornerback Cameron Sutton.

Mason Rudolph ran the second-team offense, and he found James Washington over Marcus Allen, but his second pass, intended for tight end Zach Gentry, was tipped by Sutton and intercepted by Jordan Dangerfield.

That set up a 3-3 tie going into the final play, and linebacker Robert Spillane knocked away Rudolph’s pass that was intended for tight end Trevor Wood.

PHOTO GALLERY

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Should Steelers Sign Zach Banner to be Starter in 2021?

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Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault.

He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.

Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.

Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. With Banner expected to be ready for a return next season, should the Steelers sign the 27-year-old with the anticipation that he could be a key piece to bolster the offensive line that was missing during the 2020 season?

Do you believe in Zach Banner? Comment below with why or why not.

Do you still believe in Zach Banner?

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Steelers

Zach Banner Announces Self-imposed Social Media Ban Until he Signs New Deal

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Zach Banner is sending a clear message about his priorities ahead of the 2021 NFL season. Banner, who is a free agent and looking for a new deal with the Steelers, tweeted that he is going to stay off social media until he officially signs on the dotted line.

Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault. He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.

Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.

Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. Banner now hopes to return to Pittsburgh and be the missing piece the Steelers offensive line desperately needs.

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Steelers

Rooney: Steelers Plan to Return to St. Vincent for 2021 Training Camp

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There is plenty that remains up in the air about the 2021 NFL offseason, but the Pittsburgh Steelers still have plans to resume one of their enduring traditions that was broken by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The Steelers were forced to forgo their trip to the campus of St. Vincent College near Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 2020 due to the NFL’s rules regarding keeping players isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s unclear how much those restrictions will change for the NFL teams this summer, but as things stand as of today, the Steelers are still making plans to return to the Laurel Highlands for the team’s annual training camp this summer.

“As we sit here today, our plan is to have training camp in Latrobe,” team president Art Rooney II said to Steelers.com on Friday. “We still have a ways to go to get there, but I think there’s a pretty good chance that’s going to be able to happen. We’re still hopeful we’re going to have some form of offseason program, and it’s probably not going to start on time but I think it’s important particularly for the young players that we get back to having an offseason program and then a full training camp and preseason games. I think we need to have that to help the young players continue to develop.”

Displaced from their usual bucolic summer home and from UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side due to capacity limitations, the Steelers spent the 2020 training camp and preseason at Heinz Field.

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