It may not be an off day, but the Steelers get another break from their normal training camp routine in Latrobe. Tonight, the Steelers are returning to Pittsburgh for their annual Heinz Field practice. The event gives fans living in Pittsburgh and unable to make the trip to St. Vincent’s College a chance to watch their team practice under the bright lights on the North Shore.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The chatter about what to expect in tonight’s special Heinz Field practice focuses on two important aspects for any team hoping to contend: the kicking game and converting touchdowns, especially after a drive that moves close to the end-zone.
Even though Chris Boswell has been perfect in his attempts during camp, it’s impossible to know how the veteran kicker will perform this coming season. Boswell’s 2018 was by far the worst of his career, as he was only successful on 65% of his kicks. An unacceptable measure for any professional. While every missed kick triggered fans and media to speculate on Boswell’s future most of last season, head coach Mike Tomlin continually reiterated that he can’t just forget how accurate his kicker once was. With that said, Tomlin has made it clear he won’t let missed kicks cost his team games in 2019.
Boswell finished 2017 with a 92.1% field goal conversion rate, a career best. Expect Tomlin to put his kicker to the test at the Steelers’ home stadium, turning up the pressure to better simulate kicking in a game environment.
In addition to the spotlight being placed on Boswell and the team’s kicking game, it’s very likely fans will be treated to fireworks on the North Shore tonight. And no, these fireworks won’t be happening down the road at PNC Park.
One way to ensure your team doesn’t rely on your kicker is to avoid them all together by scoring touchdowns, instead of field goal. Tonight’s practice will give fans a look at the team’s red-zone and goal line game plans.
The shot yardage action also provides the defense an opportunity to work on preventing scores with their backs against the wall. This could create several great battles between the receivers and defensive backs in the corners of the end-zone.
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/18/20
James Conner tested out his injured ankle and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw passes to JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Chase Claypool during practice on Friday, September 18, 2020.
This practice was in preparation for the Steelers week 2 game on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
Cam Heyward Named NFLPA Community MVP for Week 1
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward has been named NFLPA Community MVP for Week 1.
Heyward was honored for installing his first Little Free Library, a book-sharing box placed in underserved communities around the Pittsburgh area.
Congrats to @camheyward on being named Week 1 #CommunityMVP for installing his first Little Free Library. The book-sharing boxes provide 24-7 access to literacy for underserved Pittsburgh communities while honoring the legacy in education of his late grandfather. pic.twitter.com/uKwbnz28A1— NFLPA (@NFLPA) September 18, 2020
Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that “inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.”
The installation of the book-sharing boxes marks the launch of the Rufus and Judy Jordan Literacy Project, a new initiative of the Cameron Heyward Foundation that will work to promote children’s literacy and honor his late grandparents, both of whom were lifelong educators in Pittsburgh.
Drafted in first round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, Heyward has spend his entire career in Pittsburgh. He is a three-time Pro Bowler, and has twice received First-Team All-Pro honors.
Heyward and the Steelers agreed to a four-year, $71.4 million contract extension on Sept. 6 that will allow him to retire in Pittsburgh and make him the highest-paid defense player over the age of 30 in NFL history.
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/17/20
The Steelers finally experienced a practice with almost everyone on the roster able to take the field. Only two players did not take part in practice before their week 2 game against Denver.
Alex Highsmith and Minkah Fitzpatrick stood out from the rest on Thursday, September 17, 2020.