Steelers notebook: Rookie Archer pulling double duty
Mike Tomlin liked what he saw from Dri Archer during a practice earlier in the week when the speedy third-round pick took a swing pass and exploded 10 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.
“You get him in open grass, and you are cooking with gas,” Tomlin said Thursday during the 10th and final voluntary practice of the offseason.
Tomlin knows what Archer can do coming out of the backfield, so he wanted to see what he could do as a receiver.
For the first time during the three weeks of organized team activities (OTAs), Archer worked with the receivers during individual drills and took snaps as a wideout in team drills.
“I am a versatile player, and when the coaches ask me to do something, I will do it,” Archer said. “It's another chance for me to get on the field.”
Playing receiver means extra study time. Archer attends wide receiver and running back meetings.
“It is a lot of work, but you just have to look at it in a positive way,” he said.
Archer, who ran a 4.26-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, caught 99 passes and 12 touchdowns in four years at Kent State while rushing for 2,342 yards, averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
Tomlin isn't worried about the workload for a rookie.
“You don't know what is too much until you do it,” Tomlin said.
Good three weeks
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took part in all but one of the 10 offseason practices and said he believed voluntary spring practices were productive.
“I thought it was a good couple of weeks, just to get out here,” Roethlisberger said. “A lot of young guys or new guys on offense. To get them here working, I thought, was really good.”
Roethlisberger is dealing with the most change on offense in his 11 years. There are 17 skill-position players on the roster who weren't on the team a year ago, including eight of the 12 receivers.
The Steelers will wear their 1934 throwback uniforms during a Week 8 home game against Indianapolis. It will be the third consecutive year the Steelers will wear the '34 throwbacks and eighth consecutive year they've worn a throwback uniform. By NFL rules, the Steelers can't switch to another throwback style until after the 2016 season.
Odds and ends
Ike Taylor, Cody Wallace and Troy Polamalu did not attend the final OTA session. Taylor has missed two of the three weeks, Polamalu all 10 sessions and Wallace the past three. All are expected to be present when the Steelers return Tuesday for the start of a three-day mandatory minicamp.
After that, the Steelers will be off until they report to training camp July 25 at St. Vincent.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
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