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.