Inside the Ropes: Rookie LB Jones has impressive series
• First-round pick Jarvis Jones has taken snaps mostly with the third team at right outside linebacker. After the show the rookie put on against the third-team offense at the end of practice Wednesday, it might be time for the Steelers to reward Jones with a promotion. Within a span of five plays, Jones plowed over would-be blocker David Gilreath; recognized a screen pass while rushing the quarterback, peeled off into the flat and knocked the ball away from Baron Batch; knocked the ball away from tight end Peter Tuitopou coming across the middle; and knocked down another pass in the middle of the field while playing zone.
• Mike Tomlin pulled back on the live hitting period recently, and that continued Wednesday for the first team. The Steelers didn't go full-out hitting during 11-on-11 until the first team was finished.
• Receiver Antonio Brown continues to have an under-the-radar camp but still shows he can stretch the field. Ben Roethlisberger connected with Brown, who beat Ike Taylor, on a long touchdown pass down the left sideline.
• The Steelers continue to find out what positions their offensive linemen can play. Second-team guard Justin Cheadle swapped places at center with John Malecki to take a few snaps during team drills.
• The Steelers introduced a live drill with a one-on-one linemen run-blocking session. Typically, the session is devoted to linemen pass blocking. Looking good were Mike Adams and Guy Whimper against Cam Heyward, Al Woods against Marcus Gilbert, and David DeCastro against Brian Arnfelt.
• The Steelers have worked rookie third-round pick Markus Wheaton into the first team at slot but moved him outside Wednesday to the “Z” position, replacing Emmanuel Sanders. Jerricho Cotchery played slot when Wheaton was on the outside.
— Mark Kaboly
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