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|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 Mike McGlinchey Jersey 49ers , 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 Authentic Nate Solder Jersey , 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," 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 Youth Albert Wilson Jersey , 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, and earn some respect from the players and coaches," Samuels said. "I'm excited for the opportunity that's ahead of me."
John Ryan Murphy had a busy day at the plate. Murphy drove in a career-high three runs to help the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-3 victory over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.
”There wasn’t a lot of runs tonight so it was nice to contribute to the ones that we did have,” Murphy said.
Zack Godley (9-5) pitched five innings and allowed two runs and six hits for the Diamondbacks Cheap Terrelle Pryor Sr. Jersey , who are 14-4 in their last 18 games.
”This team is awesome,” Godley said. ”From the top to the bottom, it’s a great team.”
Arizona’s David Peralta had three hits and drove in a run, Jake Lamb had two hits and knocked in one, and Paul Goldschmidt doubled to give him 17 extra-base hits in his last 19 games.
Yoshihisa Hirano got Justin Bour to fly out with the bases loaded to end the eighth to keep the lead at 5-3.
”He’s their main guy and it’s at the point of the game where everybody is holding their breath and you’re hoping you can execute and we did,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
Brad Boxberger pitched a perfect ninth for his 18th save in 22 chances.
”I don’t think it was our cleanest ballgame, but the pitchers stepped up at the right time and we were able to overcome some mistakes and win a tough ball game,” Lovullo said.
Starlin Castro hit his fourth home run of the season for the Marlins, who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Manager Don Mattingly served his one-game suspension for the June 19 game in which Dan Straily was ejected for intentionally throwing a pitch at Buster Posey.
”We had some opportunities and we had the right guys up,” said Tim Wallach, who served as the Marlins’ manager. ”We keep battling. That’s what we say every day. These guys keep playing Adidas Jaromir Jagr Jersey , trying to win a ballgame and giving us opportunities against some tough guys.”
Miami’s Elieser Hernandez (0-5) struck out a career-high eight batters over four innings and allowed two runs and four hits.
”I had more strikeouts today but it wasn’t my best outing,” Hernandez said.
Ben Meyer pitched four innings in relief, allowing three runs, two earned.
Lamb and Peralta hit back-to-back doubles off Hernandez in the third for a 2-0 lead.
Bryan Holaday’s groundout cut the deficit to 2-1.
Murphy doubled to left field for a 4-1 advantage in the fifth.
Castro’s solo shot to left brought Miami within 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth.
Godley exited after one batter in the sixth and earned his ninth victory of the season setting a new career high. He is 4-0 with a 3.09 ERA over his last four starts.
Murphy’s sacrifice fly in the seventh pushed the lead to 5-2.
The Marlins once again cut into the lead pulling within 5-3 on a throwing error by second baseman Ketel Marte in the bottom of the seventh.
LAMB HEATING UP
Lamb extending his hitting streak to six games, which includes three multihit games. He is hitting .360 (9 for 25) with one home run and three RBIs during that span.
STRAILY DROPS APPEAL
Straily dropped his appeal for his five-game suspension and began serving it Tuesday.
Diamondbacks: OF Steven Sousa (pectoral) will begin a rehab assignment as a designated hitter with Single-A Visalia on Tuesday. … OF A.J. Pollock (thumb) took part in hitting activities. ”I heard that it went well and he felt OK,” Lovullo said.
Marlins: C J.T. Realmuto (right wrist) missed his second consecutive game after being hit by a foul ball in Sunday’s game.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray (2-0, 4.88 ERA) is expected to be re-instated from the 10-day disabled list and make his first start since April 29 due to a strained right oblique. ”Knowing he’s coming back is going to be a big boost for us,” Lovullo said. ”Any time you bring back an All-Star or somebody of his caliber, it’s a very good sign.”
Marlins: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-4, 6.70) is coming off a start in Colorado on June 22 in which he allowed seven runs on a season-high nine hits in four innings.
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