Mike Tomlin has eye on running backs

LATROBE, Pa. -- The Steelers have speed, power, versatility and seemingly everything at running back. Except for room.

That isn’t stopping coach Mike Tomlin from looking at the unheralded backs in camp who are trying to join Le'Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount and Dri Archer on the 53-man roster.

Tomlin divvied up the five carries in the goal-line drill on Saturday among Tauren Poole, Miguel Maysonet and Josh Harris. Tomlin bypassed Bell, Blount and Archer for the drill because he wanted to provide goal-line chances for the other running backs on the roster.

“What better way to get to know those guys than to put them in a situation like that and give them an opportunity to show what they’re capable of?” Tomlin said. “I think one thing the National Football League proves to us is that backs explode onto the scene every year. They come in different forms, free agents and so forth.”

Here are some other odds and ends:

  • Saturday probably can’t get here soon enough for the players. Three fights have broken out in the last two practices and the players, who have drilled four consecutive days in pads, are undoubtedly tired of hitting one another. They get to line up against a different opponent Saturday night when they visit the New York Giants in the first preseason game for each team. The first fight of camp happened Friday night when Vince Williams wrestled Bell to the ground during the ’back on backers drill and Blount jumped on Williams nearly touching off a brawl. Tomlin said after that melee that fights can be used as a teaching tool by the coaches. “At times, you’re going to feel like you’re wronged, but at the same, time you’ve got to keep your wits about you because we step into stadiums with one goal in mind, and that is to win,” Tomlin said. “Obviously 15-yard penalties and things of that nature don’t help with that cause. When do you get an opportunity to talk about that except in training camp settings when tempers run a little hot?”

  • Mike Adams isn’t making much headway in his bid to crack the starting lineup after losing his job at left tackle after four games last season. The third-year man has struggled at times during one-on-one pass-rushing drlls and Kelvin Beachum, who replaced Adams at left tackle last season, has been solid. Adams has been playing both left and right tackle. On the right side of the offensive line Marcus Gilbert has looked really good after dropping 10 pounds so he could move better. “Marcus is balling,” Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey said. “He’s having an excellent camp so far. He had an excellent OTAs. Hopefully he can come out there and be one of the best tackles in the NFL.”

  • Rookie inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, a first-round draft pick in May, has generated a lot of buzz through the first week of practices. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is also pleased with what he has seen from outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who was the Steelers’ first-round pick in 2013 and managed only one sack as a rookie. “He’s grown in leaps and bounds,” LeBeau said. “It’s not a stretch to say that. He’s talented or we wouldn’t have taken him in the first round. He’s getting to where he can apply that talent.”