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Inside the ropes: Roethlisberger may have his big receiver

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Sunday, July 27, 2014, 7:15 p.m.

• Ben Roethlisberger has made it known for some time that he would like to have a big receiver. During a team third-down period, Roethlisberger's wide receivers were Dri Archer (5-foot-8), Antonio Brown (5-10), Lance Moore (5-9) and Markus Wheaton (5-11). So who did Roethlisberger throw the ball to? How about 6-7 tight end Matt Spaeth. Spaeth beat rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier on a third-and-7 out pattern that resulted in a first down.

• The third-down period was successful for the offense. The only time the first-team offense didn't convert was when LeGarrette Blount ran off the right side for no gain.

• Archer's strong start continued Sunday with a pretty cutback run that resulted in a substantial gain. However, Archer wasn't perfect, and Roethlisberger let him know it. Archer dropped a pass in the flat during receiver drills. “You can't score if you can't catch it. You can't get a first down if you don't catch,” Roethlisberger said.

• Veteran left guard Ramon Foster will return Monday after mourning the death of his mother. In his absence, Cody Wallace took over his position Saturday, and Chris Hubbard worked with the first team Sunday.

• It's easy to see that Mike Tomlin likes Blount. During an 11-on-11 period, Blount plowed his way forward for about 4 yards, dragging defenders with him. “Way to punch a hole in it 27. That's the way to punch a hole in it, big back. I'll take that,” Tomlin said.

• Roethlisberger and Brown hooked up a team-record 110 times last year. However, that didn't prevent the two from working on play-action passes by themselves while the rest of the team went through a special-teams period on the other side of the field.

• There was a light moment during special-teams practice when special-teams coach Danny Smith, assistants Joey Porter and Jerry Olsavsky, and intern Mike Sellers tried to hold up the punt team from getting down the field from a bunch formation. Porter was able to corral Will Johnson on one try with another try resulting in Smith getting knocked to the ground.

• Rookie linebacker Jordan Zumwalt played inside and outside Sunday, switching places with Terrence Garvin.

• A day after playing at second-team left tackle, Mike Adams took snaps at right tackle.

• Archer, Wheaton, Moore and Jordan Hall returned punts.

— Mark Kaboly

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