Inside the ropes: Johnson improving as blocker
By Ralph N. Paulk
Published: Saturday, July 28, 2012, 7:12 p.m.
• Tight end David Johnson might not catch a lot of passes, but he proved on Saturday he's vastly improved as a blocker. Johnson, who had 12 receptions and a touchdown last season, was dominant at fullback during blocking drills back-on-backers drill. With Heath Miller sitting out practice, Johnson stole the spotlight.
• Cornerback Curtis Brown, who was slowed some by nagging hamstring injuries last season, was working hard to make an impression. He's tried out both flanks and turned in some duty as the nickel back. But he was working overtime on special teams, where he excelled as a rookie with a team-high 15 tackles.
• With money comes responsibility, and WR Antonio Brown was challenged by coach Mike Tomlin to fire up the receiving corps. He did so by reeling in an acrobatic catch, one topped only by a twisting, diving grab on a come-back route by Emmanuel Sanders, who is working with the first team during Mike Wallace's holdout.
• Tomlin is fueled by enthusiasm and caged anger. So, he was pleased as guard Willie Colon ignited a brawl on the first snap of a controlled scrimmage. Colon tangled with a handful of defensive players, including LB Chris Carter.
• Ohio State products OT Mike Adams (2nd-round pick) and DE Cam Heyward (2011 first-rounder) reunited during an intense drill. Adams may have more to prove, but Heyward won a split decision.
• RB Baron Batch was in contact drills for the first time since suffering a season-ending knee injury during the final practice before last year's preseason opener. Batch didn't blink an eye in the back-on-backers drill. “I like that there was no hesitation in his play,” Tomlin said.
• Starting inside linebackers Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons didn't overwhelm the coaches during blocking drills. A frustrated Foote pulled himself together after twice getting challenged by Tomlin. “We're putting them in the process of them being in competitive situations,” Tomlin said. “Obviously, we won't read much into it.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Analysis: Steelers could fill needs with free agents while not spending big bucks
- Steelers to release LaMarr Woodley; Taylor restructures contract
- Kovacevic: Big Ben’s contract clock ticking
- With so many needs, Steelers can ill afford to miss in draft
- Steelers defense doesn’t make the grade in 2013 review
- Keisel might be at end of Steelers career
- 6 players the Steelers will be watching at NFL Combine
- Steelers create cap space by re-signing Polamalu, Miller
- Steelers restructure Brown’s contract to become salary cap compliant
- Steelers’ Worilds signs transition tag