LATROBE, Pa. -- The most hands-on training camp of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's career ends Friday when the Pittsburgh Steelers break camp after spending the last three weeks at St. Vincent College.
That doesn't mean that Roethlisberger will stop going over painstaking details with his wide receivers or surrender his duties as a de facto coach when the Steelers start practicing at team headquarters next week.
"It's been fun it's something that I need to do and want to do." Roethlisberger said Thursday after the first of two joint practices with the Buffalo Bills. "The coach can tell them what they're supposed to do but if I tell them what I want them to do it's a big difference. It's been a good [camp] in that sense."
Roethlisberger said he's never coached the wide receivers as much as he has this camp, and it makes sense that he has assumed even more of a leadership role. Roethlisberger is entering his 11th season and has never had more ownership of the Steelers' offense. He is also working with a wide receivers unit that is generally young.
Just as Roethlisberger has high hopes for that group, he is also pleased with how the offensive line has come together in camp.
"They have just such a cohesiveness as a unit," Roethlisberger said, "and it's something special."
Some leftovers from Wednesday:
Brad Wing boomed a punt from his own end zone that went over the head of a Bills' return man and had Steelers coach Mike Tomlin clapping in appreciation. But Wing also mixed in a few pedestrian kicks during the special-teams periods, and he will have to show the Steelers that he can be consistent to win the job. Wing was the only punter in camp with Adam Podlesh out indefinitely due to complications from his wife's pregnancy.
Rookie outside linebacker Howard Jones has obvious pass rushing skills but the undrafted free agent is raw -- as a drill near the end of practice on Wednesday showed. Jones looked good in his first two repetitions, getting to the quarterback quickly in one-on-one matchups. But he struggled the rest of the drill and received extra instruction from both defensive assistant Joey Porter and second-year outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who did not practice on Wednesday.
Nice touch by the Steelers dedicating a bench to the late Bill Nunn at the spot where the longtime scout watched practice for decades. Nunn, one of the pivotal figures in the Steelers' transformation to four-time Super Bowl champions in the 1970s died in May from complications from a stroke. The dedication came on the day that the Bills arrived for the first of two practices, and the timing was right as Buffalo general manager Doug Whaley was one of Nunn's protégés. The Steelers and St. Vincent collaborated on the bench that sits on the hill overlooking the football fields.