The Steelers held a night practice “under the lights” at Latrobe High School and it was their first one in full battle regalia. You have to love the vibe when the Steelers hit the field in front of 12,000+ rabid Steelers fans.
Things got hopping in the blitz drill known as backs on backers. Either the inside linebacker or the outside linebacker blitz with the running backs having to jump up and hold their ground in the face of a fierce, fire breathing backer with hostility on his gourd. There are no lineman involved so there’s a lot speed at the point of impact.
Rashard Mendenhall kicked it off as he stuffed Potsie Farrior on a little swim move and showed he’s learning how to use his hands.
Thaddeus Gibson showed a nice inside move with a little shake n bake on Dwayne Wright. He showed more of that later on.
Then the Silverback James Harrison took centerstage and showed he’s the unofficial “King of the Ring” as he bench pressed Wright to a nice view of the sun going down behind the stadium.
David Johnson looked studly on a couple of rushes and one in particular against rook Stevenson Sylvester gave a great demonstration of how to drop anchor on a bull rush. The only one Johnson lost was to the King of the Ring. But, who doesn’t.
Renauld Williams launched Justin Vincent with a shot at the body toss record in backs on backers. Good job by the Williams.
It came down to four, repeat four in a row for Thaddeus Gibson versus Jonathan Dwyer, now back in the saddle from a hammie. I scored it a 2-2 split decision with a nod to Gibson for more overpowering work. Gibson has two moves. Shake n bake inside, and uppercut to the corner on the outside. Gibson needs to learn to reach with his outside arm to sink the uppercut and trim the corner. These two young bucks really went at it, and I’m impressed with Dwyer’s gameness just coming back. Gibson is jacked, muscles on muscles, and I look forward to watching this guy develop. I keep thinking “Greg Lloyd” when I watch this kid. Unfair to compare at this point, but it does keep rolling around in my noggin.
I can’t find the words to fully express what it’s like standing ringside when Mike Wallace hits the afterburners and scorches the grass on a go route. Just as impressive is his ability to sink his hips, shorten his stride, chop his feet, and then hit an out pattern at a hard 90 degree angle. I could only shake my head in disbelief at what I was watching. I don’t know how you cover that.
Maurkice Pouncey continues to impress me. He’s got more athleticism in his right pinkie than i had in my whole body. Doug Legursky may be the best center in camp. Watching this dude battle is gratifying because he works hard. And he’s got a bit of nasty in him.
Having said that, Justin Hartwig is decidedly better this camp than last year. Having a healthy shoulder helps. it’s hard to slug it out one-armed in the trenches. If Justin can play the way he did two years ago, when he either dominated or drew even with the huge AFC North division nose tackles it will be a huge plus.
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READ Craig’s “Training Camp” blog stories (Link)