Steelers notebook: Ramon Foster is no fan of scrimmages
The Redskins and Steelers play a preseason game, but they once engaged in yearly scrimmages at their respective training camps.
Some NFL teams still scrimmage during the preseason; Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hurt his left knee Wednesday when Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn drove left tackle Nate Solder into Brady's leg. Steelers guard Ramon Foster is content to leave the scrimmaging to high school teams.
“I actually asked one of my teammates that, and both of us were like, ‘Nah, we'd rather just work on us,' ” Foster said Thursday. “When you have that type situation, guys may, like what happened with Brady, try to destroy a guy. That's unfortunate. When you work with your own teammates, they know the importance of a player you're protecting or the running back who's running.”
But only a couple of hours later, running back Le'Veon Bell reinjured his left knee during what was supposed to be a non-contact drill.
• Another rookie, wide receiver Markus Wheaton, is receiving a considerable amount of respect from the Steelers' veteran defensive players. “He's not playing like a rookie, he doesn't act like a rookie. He looks like a veteran,” cornerback Ike Taylor said. “Of course he's going to make rookie mistakes because he's a rookie. But watching him over the course of weeks, the guys is smart, polished. I can't wait to see him during the season.” Wheaton is working with Jerricho Cotchery at slot receiver, the role held last season by Emmanuel Sanders.
• Coach Mike Tomlin apparently plans to keep most of the offensive line starters in for a majority of the first half Monday in Washington if only so they can be on the field to work on the two-minute drill — if such an opportunity presents itself. Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey probably won't be out there that long, but he won't mind it if he is. “However coach plays it, I don't mind being in there with my guys battling it out,” Pouncey said.
• The offensive focus during training camp is obvious: Get the running game going to Steelers standards. It has been a point of emphasis in nearly every practice, often at the end. “If we have a good running game, we know Ben (Roethlisberger) is going to do what Ben does, and that's make plays,” Foster said.
• Tomlin didn't push only Bell into a co-starter's role on the depth chart for the Redskins game. Veteran punter Brian Moorman is listed as a co-starter with Drew Butler. Moorman spent most of last season with the Cowboys after being cut a month into the season by the Bills.
• Running back is the one position where rookies seem to have the most success in the NFL; the latest evidence was Alfred Morris' 1,613-yard season for Washington. But offensive coordinator Todd Haley said that won't necessarily benefit Bell as he tries to overtake Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. “I try not to pigeonhole and have preconceived notions about that because you can have an exception; the quarterbacks have been doing it the last couple of years, which everybody said shouldn't happen,” Haley said. “We've got a few more games to see what these guys can do.”