Inside the ropes: Aug. 1
The secondary shone in 11-on-11 play, making four interceptions during the morning session. That included a spectacular, leaping pick of a Brian St. Pierre pass by free agent Grant Mason (Michigan). Fittingly, the session ended with an interception by free agent cornerback Jovon Johnson (Iowa). This prompted much celebrating among the defensive backs.
“They say it’s contagious,” said cornerback Ike Taylor. “Hopefully, we can keep it going. … It’s hard for us to make plays, so when we do, we have to celebrate a little bit.”
He’s alive!: First-round draft pick Lawrence Timmons (groin) once again sat out practice, but he did do some pass-defense drills with team orthopedist Dr. James Bradley, who would hold out a ball and move it in the direction he wanted Timmons to go.
Safety first: Strong safety Troy Polamalu made the play of the day when he reached over Heath Miller’s right shoulder and intercepted a Ben Roethlisberger pass. Miller dropped a pass from Charlie Batch earlier in the session.
Go, Willie, Go!: Second-year receiver Willie Reid continued to impress from the slot position. On one play, Reid hauled in a short pass over the middle from Batch and sped down the right sideline toward the end zone. On another, he burned Grant Mason, which prompted coach Mike Tomlin to yell, “Hey, Willie Reid, all right!”
Trickery: The kicking game got crazy late in the afternoon session. First, holder Daniel Sepulveda took a snap on a field-goal attempt, picked it up and raced around the right end. Later, the team lined up for a 52-yard field-goal attempt, and kicker Jeff Reed took a direct snap and pooch-punted. When Reed went to cover the kick, he was on a collision course with linebacker Clark Haggans and ducked out of bounds. Reed turned to reporters, laughed, and said, “He would have kicked my (butt).”
Nice haul: The receivers had their moments during 11-on-11 play in the morning session, particularly on a series of red-zone plays that started at the 15-yard line. Santonio Holmes made a leaping touchdown catch in front of Bryant McFadden, and Walter Young jumped high in front of Taylor and landed with both feet in-bounds in the back of the end zone. Later, in the middle of the field, Hines Ward made a one-handed catch in front of Taylor.
Legends of the game: Hall of Famers Joe Greene and Franco Harris watched part of the afternoon session together on the hill behind the bleachers at newly christened Chuck Noll Field.
Getting his kicks: Directional punting wasn’t supposed to be rookie Daniel Sepulveda’s strongsuit, but he put on an impressive display of it during the morning session. Sepulveda seemingly placed the ball wherever he wanted — left sideline, right sideline, down the middle.
Warding them off: On a red-zone play in the afternoon session, the Steelers lined up with three tight ends, a wide receiver (Ward) and a running back (Najeh Davenport). QB Charlie Batch connected with Ward on a short touchdown pass.