Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner knows what to expect.
Two-time All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell is skipping training camp at St. Vincent College for the second straight season because of a contract dispute. Bell’s absence last summer meant Conner saw additional snaps in camp as a rookie.
This time http://www.raidersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-martavis-bryant-jersey , he’s raised expectations. He’s at the top of the depth chart, at least until Bell arrives.
”Le’Veon here or not, I’m focused and trying to prove to myself that I’m in shape and I can handle playing,” Conner said. ”I’m focused no matter who’s here or who’s not here.”
Bell chose to not sign his franchise tender until the eve of the 2017 season. He is expected to follow the same path this time. That’s with Conner, who intends to prove he can handle the heavier workload.
”I want to show it all,” Conner said. ”Every time I get in, I’m going to make every rep count.”
Conner, a former star at the University of Pittsburgh, showed flashes as a rookie, sporadically filling in to give Bell a breather. The Steelers’ 2017 third-round pick appeared in 14 games, rushing 32 times for 144 yards, an average of 4.5 yards per carry, before a knee injury ended his season.
A leaner, trimmer Conner initially turned heads during spring workouts and that effort has carried into training camp.
Conner set the tone with a touchdown on the first competitive snap of training camp. Ben Roethlisberger delivered a quick slant to the slot where Conner hauled in the touchdown ahead of former first-round pick Artie Burns.
On Monday, Conner broke off a long touchdown run during a drill that featured live tackling. He displayed burst through the hole and into the secondary where he ran away from safety Nat Berhe en route to the end zone.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin expects that kind of development from Conner in his second season.
”We’ve been around the track for a lap Tre'Quan Smith Color Rush Jersey ,” Tomlin said. ”He understands what’s going on in terms of the environment of professional football. He should utilize that experience and knowledge to produce a better, more consistent performance.”
Rookie Jaylen Samuels still seeks that kind of consistency. He is taking advantage of the extra snaps to see where he fits in.
Samuels, a fifth-round pick, was a do-everything standout at North Carolina State. The 6-foot, 225-pounder stepped in at running back, fullback, wide receiver and even tight end. He ranks second in school history in total touchdowns, fourth in touchdown catches and sixth in scoring runs.
The Steelers list Samuels as a running back, but he’s also being used in the slot or split out as a receiver.
”I don’t want to be held to just one skill,” Samuels said. ”I want to be able to showcase a lot of different skills. Whenever I go against different mismatches, I want it to be tough on them.”
Samuels knows he needs to improve on his pass blocking.
”I didn’t really do it in college as much,” Samuels said. ”I did a lot in practice, but not really game-time situations because I was either in the route or I was getting the ball.”
Tomlin made Samuels take five consecutive, unsuccessful turns during the team’s ”backs on backers” drill in which a running back or tight end attempts to pick up a blitzing linebacker.
”I feel like pass blocking is probably the most that’s lacking in my game right now,” Samuels said. ”That’s the one thing I need to work on.”
Samuels will have his chance for additional development at training camp with Bell away.
”It’s definitely an opportunity to display my skills Cheap Customized Kansas City Chiefs Jerseys , and earn some respect from the players and coaches,” Samuels said. ”I’m excited for the opportunity that’s ahead of me.”
Freddy Peralta is making it difficult for the Milwaukee Brewers to remove him from the rotation. Maybe they won’t.
Peralta pitched one-hit ball over seven scoreless innings, Jesus Aguilar hit one of Milwaukee’s three homers and the Brewers beat the Kansas City Royals 5-1 on Tuesday night.
Peralta (3-0) allowed a leadoff double in the third to Adalberto Mondesi and also a walk in the second. The 22-year-old rookie was perfect otherwise, striking out 10 in his fourth major league start.
”He was wonderful,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. ”The big thing to me, again, was just how he pounded the strike zone. That’s the common theme to me, is that if he’s not issuing free passes, he’s going to be tough. He did that tonight, just all over the strike zone.”
Aguilar, Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun homered off starter Jakob Junis (5-9), who has lost six straight.
Mondesi, called up June 17, hit his first homer this season with two outs in the eighth off Dan Jennings. Jacob Barnes got two outs in the ninth and Josh Hader retired one batter for his seventh save.
Peralta has not allowed a run in 13 innings, giving up three hits in two starts since being recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on June 19 when starter Zach Davies went on the disabled list.
”That hasn’t been a conversation Youth Trenton Cannon Jersey ,” Counsell said when asked about the rotation. ”He’s pitching well. If you keep pitching like that, it’s going to lead to more starts, for sure.”
Peralta was called up in May and allowed one hit in 5 2/3 scoreless innings in his debut, striking out 13 in a 7-3 win over Colorado. He gave up four runs in four innings without a decision in his second start, and then was sent down.
After three starts on the road, Peralta was pitching for the first time at Miller Park.
”I was waiting for this day to pitch in the Brewers stadium,” Peralta said. ”A lot of fans were waiting for this day, too. I’m really happy for this. I did the best job I could and it was awesome for me.”
Junis, who has not won since May 18, surrendered five runs, seven hits and three walks in five innings.
”I’m giving up a lot of runs on home runs,” said Junis, who has allowed three or more homers five times this season. ”If I keep it in the yard, I’d have a lot better chance of keeping some runs off the board. But, just a couple pitches that I’m leaving over the plate are getting handled.”
Yelich staked the Brewers to a 2-0 lead in the first with his 11th home run Cheap Josh Rosen Jersey , sending a 3-0 pitch over the wall in left after a one-out double by Braun. Aguilar made it 3-0 with his team-leading 17th homer, a two-out solo shot to center in the third.
The Brewers extended the lead to 5-0 in the fifth when Eric Thames singled and Braun followed with his ninth home run and first since June 8.
Kansas City threatened in the second when Mondesi opened with a double to right. Junis bunted, but Aguilar charged from first, made a barehanded pickup and got Mondesi at third.
The Royals fell to 4-19 in the month of June, scoring just 48 runs in that span. They have scored one run or less in 18 games this season.
”We’re all frustrated,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never been a part of a month like this. An offensive drought like we’ve had all month long is pretty puzzling. There’s no answer for it I’ve never been through anything like this.”
Brewers: CF Lorenzo Cain was placed on the 10-day DL (left groin strain) and OF Keon Broxton was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs. … LHP Boone Logan was released. … 3B Travis Shaw, who left Sunday’s game against St. Louis in the middle of his first at-bat, was not in the lineup and is day-to-day.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (3-7, 5.18) starts the series finale Wednesday at Miller Park. After beginning the season 1-6 with a 6.88 ERA, he is 2-1 with a 2.87 ERA in his last six starts.
Brewers: LHP Brent Suter (8-4, 4.15) is 6-1 with a 3.12 ERA over his last seven starts. After no quality starts in his first 14, Suter has pitched seven innings in each of his last two, allowing one and two runs, respectively.