Practice Report, Aug. 17

Jim Wexell details the Steelers' penultimate afternoon practice of training camp. The action was fast and, of course, furious.

Mike Tomlin confirmed what offensive coordinator Bruce Arians had told reporters the previous day, that Ben Roethlisberger will play in Saturday's preseason game at New York against the Giants.

* Perhaps more interesting was that Tomlin also said punter Daniel Sepulveda would be used on kickoffs Saturday for the first time in his career. Sepulveda didn't even kick off while in college at Baylor, where his strong leg helped him become the only punter ever to win two Ray Guy Awards.

* On the injury front, Jonathan Dwyer missed Tuesday's practice with the shoulder injury he suffered against the Detroit Lions. Dwyer has become a source of frustration not only because of the injuries. His demeanor throughout practice was that of a ballboy who'd rather chat, poke and play with others than pay attention to what's going on. When the apparent lack of focus is combined with his sportswriter body type, it's become a question of whether the spring RB sensation will make the team, or even the practice squad. As they say, time will tell, but with his succession of injuries, one has to wonder if the rookie has enough time.

* The Steelers went back to individual red-zone work with the defensive backs and receivers Tuesday, but this time three defensive backs (safety over the top) were used to cover two receivers on the same side of the field. Roethlisberger drew the biggest cheer when he threw a laser beam in the only place that Tyler Grisham could catch it, high and back in the corner of the end zone over David Pittman.

* On the flip side, Roethlisberger was on the other end of the second greatest cheer when he was intercepted by Troy Polamalu, who deftly stepped in front of Antonio Brown at the goal line.

* Speaking of Brown, the shifty rookie put a move on Crezdon Butler that left both Butler and his jock standing idly on the other side of the cut as Byron Leftwich threw an easy scoring pass.

* Leftwich was the most impressive quarterback in the first team scrimmage as he entered the field second to Roethlisberger.

* For the second consecutive day, Justin Hartwig split first-team reps at center with rookie Maurkice Pouncey.

* Ike Taylor made the top hit – some might call it a bit of a cheap shot – when he rocked Frank Summers as "The Tank" caught a pass and began slowing down a step away from the sideline.

* With Lawrence Timmons blitzing untouched off the edge, Dennis Dixon got rid of the ball in a hurry to Mewelde Moore, who executed the hot read like the veteran that he is.

* Leftwich remained hot during the No. 2 scrimmage, this one emphasizing red zone work. Each quarterback was given five snaps and Leftwich threw four touchdown passes, the most impressive being a 20-yard stop-fade to Arnaz Battle, who also caught a second TD strike from Leftwich.

* Leftwich also threw a high pass to 6-4 Brandon London that London went up to pluck out of the air in the back of the end zone. No one could've defensed the connection of giant to giant.

* Leftwich's final scoring pass beat a blitz to tight end David Johnson.

* Roethlisberger, working with the first team against the first team defense, threw touchdown passes to Heath Miller and Stefan Logan, but missed a scramble throw to Miller and another to Hines Ward.

* Dixon, working with the third team, threw only one touchdown pass. It went to Rashard Mendenhall, but realistically would've been stopped by Ziggy Hood, who blew past his blocker and ran past Dixon instead of hitting him.

* Leftwich cooled off a bit in the third scrimmage. He was intercepted by William Gay on what appeared to be a miscommunication with rookie Emmanuel Sanders.

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