LATROBE, Pa. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Pittsburgh Steelers training camp:
The Steelers had their worst practice of training camp and coach Mike Tomlin did not gloss over the fact that the drills were lacking in both energy and urgency. "A little sloppy, some pre-snap penalties on defense, too many dropped balls on offense," Tomlin said Wednesday. Wide receiver Markus Wheaton and tight end Heath Miller were among those who dropped passes that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger put right on their hands. Cornerback Ike Taylor dropped an interception that Roethlisberger threw right to him. "I acknowledge from time to time that you're going to have those days but you can't like it and you can't stack them one after another," Tomlin said.
The Steelers play their first preseason game Saturday night and their uninspired practice came a day after the players were off. Not that Tomlin wanted to entertain the notion that the timing of Wednesday's practice, sandwiched where it was, may have contributed to its drop in quality. "I don't care what created it. The issue for us is not to stack those days, to make sure that we come out here with the mentality that we're going to thrive and not survive," said Tomlin, whose team visits the New York Giants on Saturday. "I think we had too many survivors today, guys just looking to get through it. We're going to challenge this group to come back out and have a more productive today tomorrow."
Nose tackle Steve McLendon did not practice again Wednesday as he is recovering from a concussion. Tomlin did little to address inside linebacker Ryan Shazier's injury. Shazier missed his second consecutive practice and he watched drills with his right knee wrapped. Tomlin again called it a "boo boo." Shazier limped off the field near the end of practice Sunday and he still appeared to be walking gingerly. Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (groin) did not practice, and he has only practiced just one time since last Friday. Defensive end Cameron Heyward and right tackle Marcus Gilbert left practice Wednesday with what Tomlin called minor injuries. Both, Tomlin said, will practice Thursday. Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey returned from a concussion that had sidelined him
Sean Spence again played weakside inside linebacker with the first-team defense in place of Shazier. Rookie Stephon Tuitt played left defensive end with Cam Thomas moving to nose tackle to cover for McLendon's absence. Mike Adams played first-team right tackle after Gilbert got hurt.
The Steelers made a roster move, signing wide receiver James Shaw and putting wide receiver Danny Coale on the waived/injured list. Shaw just finished playing for the Pittsburgh Power and their season ended earlier this week when they lost in the Arena Fooball League playoffs. Shaw spent parts of last season on the Carolina Panthers' practice squad.