Inside the ropes: Good, bad for Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger in return
Ben Roethlisberger was back under center Sunday following a scheduled day off, and he had mixed results in the team’s second padded practice at Chuck Noll Field.
In the opening “Seven Shots” simulated 2-point conversion drill, Roethlisberger was forced out of the pocket on several occasions. He improvised and threw a lobbing pass to fullback Roosevelt Nix in the back left corner for a score. But on his second attempt, a lob to Vance McDonald in the back of the end zone, the pass was batted down with slot corner Mike Hilton providing coverage.
On his final two attempts, Roethlisberger connected with Justin Hunter for a score, then threw a fade over Antonio Brown’s head that landed incomplete with cornerback Joe Haden in coverage.
In 11-on-11 drills later in practice, Roethlisberger was intercepted by rookie safety Terrell Edmunds, who stepped in front of McDonald and bobbled the ball before corraling it near the sideline. Edmunds, though, was beaten down the seam in a later session on a Roethlisberger pass to Jesse James.
Other practice highlights:
• For the third day in a row, the defense prevailed in “Seven Shots,” winning by a 4-3 margin. Rookie Mason Rudolph got the final three attempts. His first two passes were fades for Darrius Heyward-Bey and rookie James Washington that fell incomplete. On his final try, Rudolph found JuJu Smith-Schuster on a slant for a score.
• In the individual portion, with receivers running go-routes, Heyward-Bey got behind Edmunds for a score, prompting the rookie to say, “Ahhh, he got me on that one” as he ran back up the field. On the next snap, Roethlisberger threw a perfect pass to Smith-Schuster, who ran into the end zone and played catch with a toddler dressed in an Antonio Brown jersey.
• Haden was applauded by his defensive teammates for his open-field tackle on running back Fitzgerald Toussaint.
• With B.J. Finney moving up to the first team in the wake of Ramon Foster’s injury, Duquesne’s Larson Graham took snaps with the second team at left guard.
• Nix caught a swing pass and cut up field, juking around outside linebacker Farrington Huguenin, who badly missed the tackle.
• Youngstown State receiver Damoun Patterson, working with the backups, made a combat catch over the middle with corner Cameron Sutton bearing down on him.
• Rookie safety Marcus Allen, of Penn State, intercepted Josh Dobbs on a deep ball down the left sideline.