By Jeremy Hritz
Today is the final practice before a day off for the Steelers before they travel to Philadelphia for their second preseason contest of 2021, and the anticipation for another opportunity to see the rookies and depth players get repetitions against an opponent is building. While we should not expect to see many starters in the lineup on Thursday, many players are starting to return from injury and may see their first live game action. As we wait for the time until kickoff to grow shorter, here is an update of all things Steelers in today’s Study Notes.
Bussey Battles Gilbert
Tempers flared in Monday’s practice, as Rico Bussey and Mark Gilbert had to be seperated after getting into a fight during twice. Both of the players were taken out of practice as a result of their altercation. Two young undrafted guys battling, also hitting that point in camp where they are fatigued and frustrated, in addition to uncomfortable considering yesterday’s 90 degree weather. Not sure I remember a Mike Tomlin camp that had as many fights as this years.
Contract Extension Ahead for Haden?
In an interview with Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, Joe Haden expressed his desire to sign another contract with the team so he can finish his career as a Pittsburgh Steeler. Unquestionably, Haden has been a perfect fit into the culture of the Steelers, and his play has been above the line since he came on scene. However, at age 32, whether or not he is extended beyond this year remains to be seen, as at some point, you would expect his abilities to begin to decline. While physically he is not the spry player he once was, his experience, intelligence, and field awareness, in addition to his leadership through example, make him a valuable member of the team.
Recent Roster Moves
Over the weekend, the Steelers made multiple additions to the roster: defensive back Lafayette Pitts from the University of Pittsburgh, running back Pete Guerriero from Monmouth University, and offensive linemen Malcolm Pridgeon out of Ohio State. These players are most likely just camp bodies, but Guerriero did have a nice carry on Monday showcasing his speed that drew the praise of Tomlin.
Devin Bush Says You Can’t Touch His Tweets
Devin Bush spoke to the media on Monday, and was asked about his social media activity from over the summer. If you recall, Bush posted a video of a cat falling to its apparent death, which drew the anger and disgust of many in Steelers Nation. Bush was asked if he thought his Twitter activity angered fans, and he responded, “I don’t even know if they were real fans, to be honest with you.” He was also asked about whether the Steelers organization addressed him about his social media antics, and he commented “Not that I remember…. It’s my Twitter, so they can’t control it.” There is a bit of a disconnect here, and Bush’s response probably is not going over well with Tomlin and the Steelers’ brass. Yes, Devin, the Steelers can control your Tweets. A reality check may be in order here for the 3rd year player. Probably wouldn’t be a bad idea for him to watch and listen closely to Troy Polamalu’s Hall of Fame Speech from over the weekend about what it means and what is expected from a Pittsburgh Steeler.
Tomlin Dissatisfied with Monday’s Practice
I mentioned earlier that tempers flared in Monday’s practice with Bussey and Gilbert getting after each other. On top of that, Tomlin reflected on the work session and indicated that it was a below the line practice. “Some guys were thriving, some guys were surviving….Today wasn’t a good enough day. We’ll see what tomorrow holds for us.” With the team moving closer to the final practice that will be open to fans on August 18th, the fatigued is beginning to set in, and the competition and stress of battling for a roster spot may be starting to take a toll on players. It’s a good thing there is a rest day scheduled for Wednesday, so the team can recover for Thursday’s contest against the Eagles.
Random Steelers Thoughts
- What is taking so long with the TJ Watt contract? The longer this thing draws out, the more nervous I get.
- Even though Kalen Ballage is hurt, I think he has jumped Bennie Snell, and there is a good chance he snags his roster spot. Snell needs to get healthy and back on the field to stay relevant in the competition.
- Anyone else notice it has been all quiet on the Dwayne Haskins front following last week’s Hall of Fame Game? He needs a big showing Thursday night.
- Pat Freiermuth is having one hell of a training camp, and he may be an unexpected offensive weapon for the Steelers in year one.
- Was it a coincidence that James Washington was injured following the trade report this weekend?
- The Steelers are able to keep 16 players on this year’s practice squad. This is tremendous, as they have a lot of young talent in their rookie class that I am hopeful they can hang on to.
That is all for today’s Study Notes! Have a great Tuesday, and a wonderful rest of the week!