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Inside the ropes: Polamalu steals the show at afternoon practice

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Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 9:48 p.m.
 

Mike Tomlin preaches the importance of situational football, and that was the highlight of Friday's late afternoon practice at St. Vincent. The Steelers practiced their two-minute offense for the first time this camp, but it was safety Troy Polamalu who stole the show. Polamalu made two impressive plays that suggest the veteran safety is all the way back from a calf injury that plagued him a year ago. Polamalu chased down Antonio Brown in the backfield on a wide-receiver screen on the first play of the drill and smacked the ball away from Brown near the goal line on the final play to keep the offense out of the end zone. Ben Roethlisberger went 5 of 9 for 45 yards and came up short on back-to-back passes in the end zone to Brown. With five seconds left, Ike Taylor was called for pass interference in the end zone on Brown, forcing an untimed down from the 15-yard line in which Polamalu batted away on a quick slant intended for Brown again.

• The Steelers continued to mix up drills during training camp with a goal-line passing drill that was dominated by the offense. The prettiest catch of the period was Brown's acrobatic back-shoulder fade from Roethlisberger that bounced in the air before coming to rest in Brown's hands with Taylor hanging all over him. During the same drill, rookie receiverJustin Brown made safety Ryan Clark look foolish when Brown faked outside and caught a short touchdown pass over the middle.

• Tomlin said to not read anything into it, but he moved his tackles around, flipping Marcus Gilbert to the right and Mike Adams to the left. The two stayed at their positions throughout the entire practice. They are expected to return to their normal positions Saturday.

• Cornerback Curtis Brown filled in for the injured Cortez Allen at cornerback and continued to struggle. He was beat a number of times during individual and team drills.

• Sure, the Steelers want use a lot of zone blocking this year, but they still can run the power. That was evident when guardRamon Foster pulled and opened a hole for Le'Veon Bell to get through for a long gain.

— Mark Kaboly

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