LATROBE, Pa. -- After months away from the Steelers, and football in general, I have a lot of "who is this" moments when looking at my photos. Part of that is because I don't instantly recall every player on the roster's name, but most of it is because there are so many players at training camp who will go unrostered -- guys I've never seen before.
It's these moments when I'm thankful for Chris Carter and Dale Lolley, a couple of my teammates who seem unphased by the time away and the fact that some of these faces are new to them as well.
"Carter?" I'd ask with that classic Pittsburgh raise in my pitch. "Who are these guys?"
Carter, of course, had an idea on who each was, both pictured atop this story. On the left is tight end Kevin Rader. The right, Marcelis Branch. Each of those guys making a first impression on me in that moment, and making sure I know who they are moving forward.
I showed Carter the whole sequence I shot Saturday afternoon on training camp's second day: Rader went high to go get a high throw, Branch locked in on it with his eyes, Rader started pulling it down, Branch ripped at the back of the ball, ripped through Rader's hands and continued to rip until the ball hit the ground.
"I could write a whole Classroom on that sequence of images," Carter told me as we browsed. And, hey, maybe he will! That's his call, though. I just wanted to share the sequence from a photography aspect.
Carter told me how Branch "fought" all the way through Rader's hands and how it made it such a strong defensive play. He didn't just punch at the ball to try and unsettle it. He chose to make sure there was no way Rader brough the ball down.
Here's that sequence of photos. Watch the way Branch chooses to fight longer and harder than most to make sure this wasn't a catch:
I really like this photo sequence. The first two images there really aren't anything worth sharing, but they show how Branch was able to identify what was happening and make the most of his rip.
The best photo of the day might be of James Washington going high in his own right, up and over Artie Burns in fact. I wish I'd shot it a little wider and I'm not sure it's the best photo I've taken over two days of camp, but I do know it was the best play we've seen over those first two days.
That image is there behind the battle scene between Rader and Branch, and the rest of the best images from days one and two at Saint Vincent College follow behind. See you guys and gals in the comments!