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Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday night lights

Ben Roethlisberger didn't do any 11-on-11 work again today and that meant more time for Landry Jones. And Jones looked more comfortable than he has perhaps at any time in his three-year career, commanding the huddle and making all the right throws.

That won't change the opinion of some about him, but perhaps he's starting to get it. If so, it would be just in time.

His passes were crisp tonight. They were thrown on time and before the receiver broke open.

In short, he looked like an NFL quarterback, not a starter, mind you, but certainly like he belonged.

His best moments came in the seven shots drill.

His first pass, intended for Antonio Brown was broken up by Antwon Blake, but after that, he threw a TD to Jesse James, then fit one into a tight window to Brown between Blake and Shamarko Thomas with perhaps the best throw I've seen him make in three years.

Jones followed that up with a good session in the team portion of practice. We'll continue to keep an eye on that situation.

@ Martavis Bryant came down hard on his left elbow on a deep pass from Tajh Boyd that he was unable to come down with and got up shaking the arm out. He had an ice pack on it after practice, but didn't miss any time.

@ Mike Tomlin said rookie safety Gerod Holliman is out with a lower leg injury. It doesn't appear real serious, but he missed his second day of practice tonight.

@ Maurkice Pouncey was running full sprints before practice with Bruce Gradkowski and appears close to making a return from the PUP list.

@ With Cortez Allen out again today, Blake again worked with the first-team defense. But B.W. Webb also got some extra time in the nickel defense.

He's been overlooked with the addition of a couple of rookie draft picks at the cornerback position, but Webb is still running ahead of them with Senquez Golson still out. Doran Grant has had his moments, as has first-year player Kevin Fogg, but it's still Webb out there for now.

@ First-round pick Bud Dupree was a star of the backs on backers tonight, showing off power and speed.

Then again, a guy who's 260 pounds - he told me today he's shed 10 pounds - and runs a 4.5 40 should dominate running backs and tight ends.

So he did what he's supposed to do, which is nice.

Anthony Chickillo also had a nice session. His motor doesn't stop and he showed off some different pass rush moves.

Rookie fullback Roosevelt Nix again showed some pass blocking chops and was probably the best of the offensive players.

After stoning Jarvis Jones at one point, he got kudos from Mike Tomlin - "Oh, I like it Rosy," Tomlin exclaimed.

Jones didn't have a strong session, but has looked good otherwise, especially setting the edge against the run.

Ryan Shazier also showed off some different pass moves, beating Nix a couple of times, first on a little stutter step into a speed move, then on a dip and go around the end.

But Nix came back to pancake Sean Spence moments later.

@ Vince Williams got himself matched up at one point on the outside in 11-on-11s with Dri Archer and Archer showed why that wasn't fair, running an in and out, catching the ball in the flat. He then headed for the sideline, deked Williams, who went flying by, and then deked him again five yards later when Williams came back for another shot.

That drew smiles from both.

@ Williams, meanwhile, seems to hammer DeAngelo Williams every time he touches the ball.

I don't know that DeAngelo Williams has worked this hard in a training camp in a long time.

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