UNITY TWP., Pa. — The Steelers wrapped up training camp with a light and short workout on Thursday that was brought to an abrupt halt after just about an hour and 20 minutes with lightning in the area.
The quick hook on practice meant that one of the final practice periods at St. Vincent College was the team’s field goal units, and it’s a fitting way to finish things up, as this camp seemed to secure at least one player’s job for the 2019 season: kicker Chris Boswell.
Boswell pushed a 52-yarder just wide to the left during practice on Thursday. It was just the second live kick his missed during the entire training camp. He also made both kicks in the first preseason game.
Rookie Matthew Wright, brought in to provide competition, has also been good, but it’s clear that Boswell has about an extra 10 yards on his maximum range when compared to the youngster.
But that’s just part of it. Everyone has known Boswell has the leg. It’s why he’s been a Pro Bowl kicker. The accuracy, though. That’s been the key. Boswell has been perfect from under 50 yards in training camp, and that’s all anyone could ask him to do. It seems nearly a lock that the veteran’s job is secure.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS
First-year Steelers running backs coach Eddie Faulkner has continued to come up with new and innovate drills for his unit. In this one, he used three players to screen a fourth on a passing drill, simulating a back getting an unexpected and hurried dump-off pass from a quarterback.
Three Steelers made their return to the practice field on Thursday, albeit in a pads-free fashion. Linebacker Devin Bush, center Maurkice Pouncey and linebacker Sutton Smith all worked out in at least some capacity, with Bush and Pouncey working with their respective first-team units.
Veteran linebacker Mark Barron had the day off. It’s unclear if it was due to an injury. Ola Adeniyi missed his first practice session.
David DeCastro (soreness), Zach Gentry (upper body), Joe Haden (foot contusion), Christian Scotland-Williams (soft tissue) and Vince Williams (hamstring) all remain out.
During the first-team two-minute drill, JuJu Smith-Schuster made a spectacular catch down the right sideline to move the offense to the 10-yard line, but the defense held on to win the drill as the offense ran out of time to score.
Later in the day, Diontae Johnson beat fellow rookie Justin Layne over-the-top for a long touchdown in one-on-one coverage.
Ben Roethlisberger Doesn’t Think the Steelers Are Throwing Too Much
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger explains how he deals with the uncertainty each week during this strange 2020 season. His comments were made prior to his team’s game against Baltimore being moved from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon due to safety concerns related to COVID-19.
The veteran quarterback also responded to questions about how many pass attempts he’s had each week and if it’s a concern moving forward.
Steelers: No Fans for Rescheduled Game vs. Ravens on Sunday
There will be no fans in attendance when the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens in their rescheduled game at Heinz Field this Sunday, the team announced on Wednesday afternoon.
The team had expected to host 5,500 fans at the game when it was originally expected to be held on Thursday evening, but that game was supposed to be the last with with any significant complement of fans for the time being.
On Monday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced an amended COVID-19 mitigation protocol that reduced the capacity for outdoor venues to a maximum of 2,500. With that limit, which includes players, staff and families, the Steelers have elected to not host any additional fans through single-game ticket sales.
“We are disappointed for those fans who had planned on attending Thursday night’s game,” team spokesman Burt Lauten said in a statement. “Our ticked office will communicate soon with those fans who purchased tickets from us regarding credits and refunds.”
Steelers, Ravens to Kick Off at 1:15 p.m. Sunday on NBC
The Steelers re-scheduled game with the Baltimore Ravens will kick off at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday and be broadcast nationally on NBC.
The slightly unusual schedule time will allow the game to still be broadcast nationally on NBC during the early afternoon broadcast window, so out-of-town Steelers fans will still be able to tune in.
The Steelers were originally scheduled to be broadcast on NBC on Thanksgiving, so the change will allow the network to retain the game, which is sure to be a well-viewed one with the 10-0 Steelers hosting their rivals and reigning NFL MVL Lamar Jackson.
It’s still unclear what the situation will be with fans at Heinz Field on Sunday. The Steelers had been expecting 5,500 fans for the game, but that was expected to be the last game with fans at home for the time being, as Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has modified his COVID-19 mitigation plan and there is a new maximum capacity of 2,500 at the venue.