Steelers news: Hartley accuracy, intensity, injury updates


Steelers training camp and preseason are officially underway. For the next few weeks the team will lay the foundation for the 2015 regular season. While the Steelers are sweating in the hot Latrobe sun we’ll be busy looking for mentions of your Black & Gold so we’ve got you covered. Here’s your Steelers Morning Huddle for Tuesday, August 12th.

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Not just a dome kicker

The first thing that came to my mind upon hearing that the Steelers had signed free agent Garrett Hartley to replace the injured Shaun Suisham at the place kicker position was, “Can this guy kick in the cold weather and in Heinz Field?” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler provided some reassurance for those concerns.

Fowler explains that in spite of playing six seasons in the Super Dome with the New Orleans Saints, Hartley is one of the NFL’s most accurate kickers in outdoor stadiums in temps below 40 degrees. Hartley has a 92.3 percent average for cold weather games outdoors, only trailing Coonor Barth, Dan Carpenter and Justin Tucker among active kickers since 2008.

The Steelers’ redzone offense is still a concern until they can prove they won’t continue to fizzle out in the red area anymore. Hartley doesn’t provide the same confidence level the Steelers had in Suisham to step in at any point and get points on the board but it’s good to know he’s got a special shoe to kick in the snow.

It was intense, man

The word of the day for the Steelers’ first training camp practice following their Hall of Fame game loss to the Minnesota Vikings was intensity. Maybe it was getting veterans back on the field like James Harrison or maybe it was a result of watching the game film and wanting to go out and immediately correct mistakes.

Either way, the buzz around Steelers training camp on Tuesday was intense. Mark Kaboly of the Trib notes that second-year wide receiver Martavis Bryant returned to practice following his elbow procedure to score on an 11-on-11 drill. Bryant streaked down the right sideline to out-jump Cortez Allen and Will Allen for the reception.

It was a good reminder of what kind of end-zone weapon Bryant can be because of his size and strength, or it was a reminder that we don’t have corners as big as Bryant on the team. I’ll go with the positive one for now.

Who’s out and who’s in?

Mike Tomlin addressed the media following Tuesday’s training camp practice and he updated the injury status for many of the players. The Steelers welcomed James Harrison to the field for the first time in camp and Martavis Bryant returned following his elbow procedure.

Suisham was officially placed on injured/reserve, ending his season. DeAngelo Williams, Bryant and Markus Wheaton all returned to practice in a limited capacity. Robert Golden continues to rehab his knee as does Ross Ventrone. Vince Williams was out nursing an injury but backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski began throwing on the sidelines, which could indicate his return to is soon.

Next: Steelers training camp observations

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