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Steelers notebook: CB Cameron Sutton 'right on track'

Chris Adamski
| Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, 6:43 p.m.
The Colts' JoJo Natson grabs a first down catch in front of the Steelers' Cameron Sutton in the second half Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 at Heinz Field.
Chaz Palla
The Colts' JoJo Natson grabs a first down catch in front of the Steelers' Cameron Sutton in the second half Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 at Heinz Field.

Halfway through a mandatory stint on injured reserve, Cameron Sutton maintains he's “right on track” to re-join the Steelers' active roster as soon as he is eligible.

“Right on pace for what we need to do,” the rookie third-round pick said. “And we're right on track for getting me back to where I was playing at before and how I was feeling before.”

Sutton was drafted 94th overall with intent for him to immediately plug into the secondary. But a hamstring injury marred much of his training camp, and the Tennessee alum opened the season on IR after his right hamstring was aggravated during the preseason finale.

By injured reserve rules, teams over the course of a season can return two players from IR to their active roster after eight weeks of being out.

Now through Week 4, Sutton is just two weeks away from being eligible to practice with the Steelers (Oct. 18). Sutton said Monday he “definitely will be ready to go” by then.

“I've been feeling really good, been doing a lot more now,” he said. “Been progressing each and every week, each and every day, feeling a lot better, doing everything that our strength staff has been helping me do and our trainers have been helping me do.”

The 5-foot-11 Sutton has been around the team as much as possible. He is a regular fixture in the locker room, and he said he attends every position meeting and has been at each game.

“ ‘Mike T' (Tomlin) asks me every week if I want to travel (with the team),” Sutton said. “Obviously he knows the answer, probably, before he even asks.”

Sutton was getting reps at outside cornerback and in the slot during the summer. He's viewed as a good fit for the press man scheme the Steelers want to play.

The next Gronk?

B.J. Finney was amused when he was told after Sunday's game in Baltimore that he now could tell people he was a starting tight end in the NFL.

The Steelers' backup guard/center, Finney on Sunday was used as a tight end (essentially, an extra offensive tackle) for the first time. And because the Steelers went to a jumbo package on their first offensive snap, Finney went into the books as a “starter” — and at tight end.

“Whataya know?” Finney said with a smile.

Filling that spot for Chris Hubbard, the usual backup tackle who was starting in place of Marcus Gilbert at right tackle, Finney said he practiced in the week leading up to the unique new assignment.

“You're going against different body types,” Finney said, “going from bigger stronger inside guys to longer quicker outside guys, so you've definitely got to practice that.”

One thing Finney didn't practice much was running a pass route. Yet that's what he did at 5 minutes, 48 seconds of the second quarter of Sunday's win, when Finney found himself wide open on the left side.

Ben Roethlisberger instead threw incomplete to Vance McDonald.

“We had the wrong personnel on the field. We called a pass play, and he's an eligible tight end,” Roethlisberger said. “He said, ‘Ben, what do I do?' ”

“It was different,” Finney said of the experience. “We'll just leave it at that.”

Hubbard has growing pains

Sunday was Hubbard's fifth NFL start at tackle, so he's achieved a comfort level and confidence he can succeed.

“It's been fun,” said Hubbard, who filled in the past two games for Gilbert. “The big thing is you just have to adjust to different defensive schemes and what they are doing every week.”

Hubbard was part of a unit that had an overall strong game against the Ravens except for in one area.

Offensive linemen committed six penalties, two from Hubbard (both false starts).

“Man, you kind of can kill drives sometimes with those,” Hubbard said. “But we overcame it, and we got the victory.”

Staff writer Joe Rutter contributed. Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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