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.