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Inside the Ropes: Bell shines in passing game

| Sunday, July 28, 2013, 10:03 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell puts a move on linebacker Vince Williams during practice at St. Vincent. He hopes to see game action against Washington tonight.

• The Steelers need a way, at least initially, to find a replacement for injured tight end Heath Miller's 71 catches. A good portion of those may be absorbed by rookie running back Le'Veon Bell, who turned three short passes into long runs during team drills Sunday. Bell is fourth on the depth chart behind Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and Baron Batch.

• Redman continues to take first reps at running back with the first team and showed why he might not relinquish the spot. Redman, noticeably slimmer and quicker, burst to the outside on an outside zone play and hit the corner for a long gain. Redman showed he is picking up the new blocking scheme when he took a handoff, made one cut and hit the hole quickly for another substantial gain.

Markus Wheaton, who missed spring workouts because of school, took part in only his second team practice since being drafted. Wheaton came across the middle on a shallow cross and made a diving catch on a ball thrown by John Parker Wilson.

Curtis Brown made one of finest plays of the day when he recovered from getting beaten deep by Emmanuel Sanders to leap in front of him and intercept a pass thrown by Ben Roethlisberger.

• One battle that will be waged in camp is between second-year incumbent punter Drew Butler and veteran newcomer Brian Moorman. Both were inconsistent Sunday. Butler got off some deep punts; Moorman had nice hang time.

• The Steelers used Ross Ventrone, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Terry Hawthorne and Josh Victorian as gunners on their punt team.

• If practice was any indication, Antonio Brown will be returning punts. Brown took all the first-team reps, followed by David Gilreath, Wheaton, Emmanuel Sanders and Reggie Dunn.

• First-round pick Jarvis Jones took third-team snaps at right outside linebacker, with Jason Worilds on the left at times. Worilds is taking first-team snaps on the right side as well.

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