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On location: Steelers training camp, Day 1

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

LATROBE — Man, it’s nice to be out here, even after driving through a heavy storm and wildly circumventing the closed-for-the-weekend Fort Pitt Tunnel.

Here’s Chuck Noll Field completely drenched …

IMG_1935

Should be dry for the first practice, anyway, and that’s scheduled to begin at 2:55 p.m. I’ll share some thoughts and other stuff from that session afterward.

In the interim, here’s an exclusive interview with Ben Roethlisberger this morning by our Alan Robinson. Lots of good stuff in there, especially about Todd Haley.

Here’s the Steel Mill blog, which will be updated often by Robinson and Mark Kaboly.

And here’s a quick vid of my talk about an hour ago with Antonio Brown

There will be much more here as the day goes on. Haven’t really gotten started.

UPDATE 4:05 p.m.: A few random thoughts from a practice cut short by lightning just now …

>> Mike Adams took his spot at right tackle and participated in all drills, though it’s got to be stressed that there are no pads until Monday. If Adams is being held back in any way from the stabbing, it isn’t obvious.

>> Roethlisberger and the rest of the quarterbacks did some pocket passing drills but nothing that would give much of a sign as to how limited he is by the knee.

>> The nature of these drills wasn’t going to give up much in terms of default starters. We’ll need to see something resembling scrimmages for that.

>> Loudest chirpers on the field — no surprise — were Ryan Clark and Larry Foote. Mike Tomlin, too, of course, if you want to count him.

IMG_1943

>> Amazing crowd. Thousands of people ringing the place, in the bleachers of what’s now known as Chuck Noll Field or the grass hills. And they sat there, barely budging, despite a steady rain.

UPDATE 6:44 p.m.: Just filed my Sunday column. It’s on Emmanuel Sanders.

A few other closing items: The Steelers did resume practicing — on a fourth field — after the lightning delay and did get in some scrimmage-type work. Still not to be taken too seriously, but Ben connected with Sanders and Brown on bombs. … Isaac Redman had first dibs at running back. La’Rod Stephens-Howling took some snaps, too. … Willie Gay and Cortez Allen were both burned deep. … Kelvin Beachum was second-team left tackle. Chew on that for your tackle depth.

That’s it for today. Heading home.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

23 Comments

  1. I get that there are diehard Steelers fans everywhere, but I wonder if the Pirates’ run for their first postseason in 20 years has the Steelers off some people’s radars. Combine that with an expected down year for the football club and I wonder if there is a measurable difference when it comes to things like ratings, newspaper hits, even ticket sales to Twitter activity. It’s a unique situation. Pittsburghers aren’t used to this upside-down world where training camp interrupts a pennant race instead of being the welcome distraction it has been for years. Might be refreshing to take a break from Steelers Mania and learn to love the Pirates again.

    DK: This had nothing to do with the Pirates.

    • What’s this expected “down year” you speak of?….lol

      • Haha, well I don’t exactly see how they improved after losing Wallace and probably Miller for at least the first 8 weeks without replacing their talent. Not sure how the defense will be improved either especially with a defensive line that generates less pressure than a bottle of flat pop. If you’re not getting better you’re getting worse, and they have to contend with the defending Super Bowl champs and a really good Bengals squad that is getting better by the day.

    • DK- So what? I wasn’t making it about them. I think I asked a legitimate question about how one might affect the other going forward because one definitely affected the other for the last 20 years. Besides, what’s the problem with wondering about the Steelers in a Steelers blog?

  2. Picture is great…Wish I was there!

  3. Dan – How bout doing both….?

  4. Just read Alan Robinson’s Ben article, per DK’s recommendation. Alan is such a good writer.

    “We did better when Todd Haley let me play the game my way and call the plays my way and let me even give the plays my names.”

    Ben Roethlisberger is my elderly Mom’s favorite player. She says he reminds her of her sons (my brothers, not me!).

    I personally think, with all Ben’s whining and injury flamboyance, he should be considered more as my Mom’s daughter!

    • Plus 100

      • Never understood the crowd that sits on every statement Ben makes.
        Whining is in the eyes of the beholder.
        Compared to Brady, Manning and Flacco….I don’t see Ben as even close to a whiner.
        As for the injury flamboyance…..There isn’t a guy in the NFL tougher than him when it comes to injury.

        • Plus millions

        • An interesting post, and very accurate.

          I have always, since 1979, maintained that Terry Bradshaw should be listed in the top 5 all-time QB’s for these reasons; I can think of no QB ever that could throw harder, more accurately and farther than Bradshaw

          Sure there were QB’s who were better in each category – but none – who possessed the entire package – arm strength, accuracy and distance

          And if you can name one, I will assure you NONE of them could run the ball as well, who were tougher and stronger physically, and maybe above all, who won more championships (i.e. Super Bowls) than our Terry Bradshaw.

          Yet he is always omitted from these Top 5 or even Top 10 lists

          • When you’re right, you’re right Bob. Give me the QB who could deliver the Super Bowl victories (four of ‘em!) over Peyton and Tom “Terrific,” any day.
            Incidentally, Big Ben is now just about the same age Terry was when he delivered his second two titles.

            • Oh yeah he’s not over the hill and for certain IMHO, Ben IS a PROTO-TYPE of Terry’s physical toughness

              He could easily win two more.

          • I should have said, And if you can name any. . . . . . .

  5. Dejan, pass it on to Alan Robinson that this reader thought his piece today was fantastic.

    It’s refreshingly only in the 50′s here today. Great day to think and read about football.

    DK: Will do.

    • “Refreshingly only in the 50′s” …?? That’s a little bit too refreshing for me, this time of year. But it does conjure up images and scents and smells of autumn and football… STEELER football! Also, agree about Robinson’s piece.

  6. Nevermind. I guess dancing hippos are to no longer be. :(

    DK: There’s a baseball thread.

  7. I thought the same thing about the photo of the crowd you just added. For a rainy day, the turnout looks darn good. Maybe we’ll hear from some of them, tonight. Wish I were there!

    • Haven’t been since I was a kid but the crowds are always strong especially on a nicer day. I don’t get the point of showing up for the first day to watch them walk around but then again I don’t begrudge anyone who does. Place looks the same as I remember it!

      • Was there for Tomlin’s first training camp in ’07, and then again in ’10. Not on the first day in our case, but ANY day there would be a thrill for me and the kids. Just might have to make it over there next summer, the last before my eldest packs her bags for college. Feeling excited all over again just seeing these photos here.

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