PITTSBURGH -- It's Day 8 of training camp, the Pittsburgh Steelers are three days from their first preseason game and there's still plenty to learn at Heinz Field.
Week 3 started off with plenty of veterans seeing the sideline more than the field. Chances are we won't see many starters on Thursday, so it's the perfect week to evaluate backups - or potential future starters - however you want to label them.
Depth isn't the only part of camp catching attention this week, though. Monday's practice featured six notes that seemed worthy of your knowing. Starting with head coach Mike Tomlin discussing Terrell Edmunds offseason surgery.
Steelers Holding Terrell Edmunds Back After Surgery
It seemed strange Edmunds wasn't on the field during team drills on Monday, but according to head coach Mike Tomlin, this has been normalcy.
"34 had offseason surgery," Tomlin said, pointing to his shoulder. "So, we've been protecting him through physical contact since Day 1 we've been out here."
That surgery seemed to be news to those around. All most remember is the mixtape Edmunds dropped on social media. No surgery comes to mind.
Either way, in Edmunds' absence, Miles Killebrew saw all the first-team reps at strong safety. The Steelers don't have a solidified backup behind Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick, but it appears Killebrew is the primary No. 2.
Antoine Brooks Jr. Might Have Lost His Starting Job
On Saturday, Cam Sutton played nickelback with the first-team defense while James Pierre started outside.
On Monday, Arthur Maulet started at nickel while Brooks played with the second team.
For a while, the two were alternating between days, but even then, it felt as if Brooks was the starter heading into the preseason. Now, that's starting to feel like a story of the past.
Tight Ends Are Beat Up
Eric Ebron hasn't practiced since hurting his elbow last week. Pat Freiermuth has taken all first-team reps since then, but when it rains, it pours.
Freiermuth left the field during seven shots on Monday and spent a few minutes with trainers. He came back to the field with a helmet in hand as if everything was fine but didn't go back in.
Zach Gentry has impressed during training camp. He's a massive tight end and is finally showing his strength in blocking. He also hasn't been too shabby in pass-catching.
He might be their go-to with everyone on the sideline.
Mason Rudolph Rolls Into Pressure... Again
Rudolph's pocket presence is pretty rough. On Monday, Cassius Marsh would've ended the day with two sacks. Why? Well, it's wasn't because of good pass rush.
Rudolph, on what looked like the exact same play, rolled to the outside of the pocket and right into the arms of Marsh. He did it twice.
Rudolph's awareness has always been in question, and it's not getting better here at Heinz Field. With Dwayne Haskins riding his back in the backup quarterback competition, it's a skill that needs to grow.
Derek Watt Getting Involved on Offense
The breakout receiver on Monday was fullback/tight end, Derek Watt. Yep, you heard that correctly - Derek Watt.
Watt lined up as halfback, tight end and fullback during practice. Ben Roethlisberger found him down the sideline, wide open, for a 30-yard completion and probably the easiest first down of the day.
"They move guys around a lot during camp to try and get them in different situations and see what guys can do," Watt said. "Today, they wanted me to go with the tight ends. I did the ones with the running backs the other day."
Watt could see formations at tight end in Matt Canada's offense. This group plays plenty of 12 and 13 personnel and if Watt is the halfback they want on the field, especially in the redzone, he's ready for it.
"Some schemes look better against teams than others based on their defensive structure, personnel," Watt said. "So, there could be a game where you play a ton and there could be a game where it's not so much."
Things Get Chippy, Again
Cam Heyward is fighting everyone on the offensive line. Not really, but he has been involved in at least two major scrums the Steelers have had during camp.
On Monday, things got heated between Kendrick Green and Heyward. Hayward grabbed Green's facemask before Moore jumped in to defend his offensive line mate.
This isn't the first time Heyward and Moore started a heated moment between the offensive and defensive lines. During opening week of camp, the two went at it after Moore exchanged words - and jersey grabs - with Chris Wormley.
Tomlin isn't condoning any of it.
"I acknowledge that it could potentially happen because we've got emotional guys buying and competing on a daily basis," Tomlin said, "but that's not something that we want to highlight. Particularly for the young people that watch us do what we do."
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