Steelers Inside the Ropes: Kickers take center stage at final camp practice
Coach Mike Tomlin’s intention is to have kickers Chris Boswell and Matthew Wright alternate attempts Saturday when the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Kansas City Chiefs in their second preseason game.
Circumstances, however, could lead to Tomlin changing his mind.
“We have a couple more days of work,” Tomlin said Thursday before the team’s final practice at Saint Vincent. “We will challenge them some here in these settings, and the outcome of those challenges may dictate otherwise.”
The kickers were put to the test Thursday before the threat of lightning forced practice to wrap up an hour earlier than scheduled.
Boswell and Wright, the undrafted free agent who is challenging to unseat the incumbent kicker, each made 6 of 7 tries while kicking from distances spanning between 33 and 52 yards.
• Each kicker was successful from 33 yards, the equivalent of an extra point.
• Boswell boomed his 52-yard try through the uprights. Wright’s attempt from 52 was short and wide left.
• Each kicker converted from 40 yards.
• In a “mayday” drill in which special teams coach Danny Smith counted down from 12 seconds, Boswell missed his 52-yard attempt wide left. Wright sneaked his 52-yarder over the crossbar.
• Boswell and Wright each connected successfully from 33 and then from 42 yards.
• The “mayday” drill was run again from 52 yards. This time, Boswell made his attempt as did Wright.
In other items of interest from practice:
• Unlike other sessions, the Steelers did not open with “seven shots,” opting to begin with a two-minute simulation. The clock was set at 1 minute, 1 second and the ball placed at the offense’s 44.
Running the first-team offense and needing to score a touchdown in the simulation, Ben Roethlisberger advanced the ball to the 4. The big play was a deep pass down the right sideline in which JuJu Smith-Schuster outjumped cornerback Artie Burns to make the catch.
The drive, however, came up short. On the final play, Roethlisberger threw incomplete to Smith-Schuster in the back of the end zone.
• Undrafted free agent Devlin Hodges ran the second-team offense in the two-minute drill. He also was given 1:01 with which to work. The ball was placed at the offense’s 46 and a field goal was needed for the go-ahead points. The drive stalled at the 28, and Boswell made his 45-yard field-goal attempt.
• When the first-team defense was on the field against Roethlisberger, the dime package consisted of safeties Terrell Edmunds, Sean Davis and Kameron Kelly. The cornerbacks were Burns, Steve Nelson and Mike Hilton. Devin Bush was the inside linebacker.
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .