Camp report: Pickett grows with second team, Najee injury update
Just a couple of hours after Mason Rudolph hinted at the possibility of him getting first string reps ‘soon,’ the fifth-year quarterback remained with the Steelers' third unit during Tuesday’s training camp practice in Latrobe.
Mitch Trubisky once again took all of the first team snaps, with rookie Kenny Pickett running the group behind him.
Results continued to be mixed for all of the signal callers, but Pickett and Rudolph did have the best throws of the day.
Rudolph, who generally struggled with the third group — same as Monday — did connect with rookie Calvin Austin III on a long pass down the left sideline during 11-on-11 play. The pass, which caught Austin III in stride, would have gone for about an 80-yard touchdown in live action.
Pickett’s day was a bit up-and-down. During single coverage drills, he laid in a 30-yard pass to Benny Snell, who beat Robert Spillane to haul in a back shoulder throw near the front of the end zone.
"We expect quality playmaking and a quick maturation process,” Tomlin said afterward of Pickett. “We like the things he's doing so far."
During the team’s ‘7 Shots’ period, Trubisky again got all four first team reps. He failed to score on all four chances, but did have a catchable pass dropped by Connor Heyward.
Pickett then got two opportunities. Tyler Vaughns could not come up with a sliding catch on his first pass, but Pickett did come back to find Jace Sternberger for a touchdown in the back of the end zone after rolling out to his right.
The throw, which came from the 7-yard line after a false start, was one of Pickett’s best of camp, as he extended the play and kept his eyes down the field throughout.
Rudolph’s only attempt resulted in a score, as he also rolled out to hit Miles Boykin for a leaping touchdown in the back of the end zone.
In 3rd down practice, Trubisky’s set was dismal. He had a pass broken up by Cam Sutton, got sacked by TJ Watt, was intercepted by Damontae Kazee and then badly misfired on his final pass.
Trubisky's first eight drop backs today in 11-on-11 play resulted in him going 1-7 for one yard (a shovel pass), an interception and a sack.
Pickett found a little more rhythm in the 3rd down situation, running out of pressure for a first down before missing Austin III on a pass. But he came back to find Sternberger for a first down and then fired a nice deep ball down the left sideline to Steven Sims, who make a juggling catch around a defender.
Overall, Trubisky struggled, Pickett improved, and Rudolph had flashes, but was inconsistent.
The day's quarterback "winner" was Pickett.
After sending a scare through through the hearts of Steelers fans Monday, it appears that Najee Harris’ foot injury is not overly serious.
Harris had his foot stepped on during drills Monday, was unable to finish practice and was seen limping heavily afterwards.
While he did not practice Tuesday, he did take the field with his teammates and snuck into a couple of individual drills.
Tomlin, after practice, characterized Harris’ status as “day-to-day.”
Other players who remained out were Pat Freiermuth (who got in some work after practice), Minkah Fitzpatrick, Chase Claypool (who was seen running routes after practice for Trubisky), Miles Killebrew and Marcus Allen.
Cornerback Levi Wallace did not practice with an illness and running back Jeremy McNichols is still being evaluated for a shoulder issue.
A couple of notable performances of the day belonged to Sutton, who broke up passes during ‘7 Shots’ and during 3rd down simulation and was in an around several plays throughout the day.
Jaylen Warren, the rookie running back from Oklahoma State, continued to impress with the pads on after a nice day Monday. Warren ripped off a couple of strong runs during 11-on-11 play while getting more of a role with the injury to Harris.
“He appears to be highly conditioned, and I think it starts there for a young guy,” said Tomlin. “One man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity. There’s some short lines at running back, but if you’re not highly conditioned, you’re not postponing yourself to take advantage of it. So kudos to him for coming ready.”
“I’m just working my way up,” Warren added. “Obviously I’m conditioned and taking nothing for granted, and taking everything that coms my way.”
There were three fights/skirmishes Tuesday during practice and have now been five total during training camp.
The first was between Cam Heyward and Benny Snell. The second was between Austin III and TJ Watt and the final involved Chris Wormley and a number of other players.
More details on the first two fights available here .
Another day without Diontae
Diontae Johnson once again did not do any team activities, or drills involving any sort of contact, during practice Tuesday, as he continues his hold-in.
Earlier in the day, Steelers general manager Omar Khan indicated that the team has reached out to Johnson’s agent, but the depths of those talks is unknown.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that Johnson’s agent, Brad Cicala, was present at today’s practice in Latrobe.