Martavis Bryant stands out in return to Steelers practice

LATROBE, Pa. -- Martavis Bryant made his presence felt on the offensive end Tuesday after missing most of the last two weeks of the Pittsburgh Steelers' training camp with minor elbow surgery.

Bryant stretched out his body and got both feet in bounds on a touchdown catch to the corner of the end zone, but that wasn't the spectacular play. Ben Roethlisberger threw a 50-yarder Bryant's way, with safety Will Allen converging and corner Cortez Allen in tight coverage. No matter. Bryant set his feet and leaped over Allen for the grab, with Allen a half-step off. Not to overhype Bryant, who was relatively raw as a rookie in 2014 and couldn't handle much more than go routes, but once he masters every nuance of the offense, the potential production is scary.

Once Markus Wheaton returns from a hamstring injury, the offense will really be rolling.

A few other thoughts from Tuesday's practice:

  • The Steelers were ignited on this day. Bodies flying, the well-rested starters back in the lineup, faster pace -- the Steelers are finding their rhythm after the first preseason game. You could tell the team was pacing itself while having an extra week of camp and an extra preseason game. This practice was more fun to watch.

  • Roethlisberger converted 5 of 6 passes on a no-huddle sequence, with a misfire to Le'Veon Bell. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons had good coverage on the play. During that stretch, I saw inside linebacker blitzes and a safety/corner blitz. Coordinator Keith Butler will be aggressive.

  • Linebacker Sean Spence came through a hole and made an athletic diving tackle to stop a rush. He's having a good camp.

  • Safety Shamarko Thomas returned to practice after a minor injury. In red zone work, he mistimed coverage on Heath Miller, who got free in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Otherwise, he had a productive day.

  • Outside linebacker Bud Dupree touched Roethlisberger on a speed rush. Good job, rookie, but NFL rule No. 1,396 -- you don't touch a 33-year-old franchise quarterback in practice. Roethlisberger didn't seem too thrilled.

  • Seventh-round safety Gerod Holliman showed his ball skills with a near-pick of Tajh Boyd in no-huddle work. He crept near the line of scrimmage and got his hands on a low Boyd pass.

  • A safety that's gotten the coaches' attention a few times -- Ian Wild. Coach Mike Tomlin commended "No. 38" after sniffing out a running play.

  • Running back Josh Harris looked shifty in return to practice after a minor injury. Expect him to get some carries Friday at Jacksonville.

  • Sammie Coates looks the part and he'll come around but at times he looks uninspired out there. Once again, there was a pass in the corner of the end zone that was slightly overthrown but he didn't jump and try to catch with two hands. That's the kind of thing coaches notice.

  • Tomlin challenged his defense after they gave up a touchdown on the first play of red- one drills. He said they'll keep doing this drill until the defense gets a stop.