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  • Artie Burns and Joe Haden don't believe the Pittsburgh Steelers have a clear-cut No. 1 cornerback.

     

    The two feel they share that role.

    Haden has been a top cornerback in the league throughout his career and Burns Eddie Yarbrough Jersey , a 2016 first-round pick, feels like he's starting to come into his own as he enters his third season. The two hope a full offseason and training camp together can help a young group of Steelers defensive backs regain some swagger.

    "Right now, I'm just trying to show him the way I go about my business," Haden said. "Training camp is one of the biggest spots where we can see growth and we can see what the offseason did."

    Haden spent his first seven pro seasons in Cleveland. He feels an entire spring of organized team activities and minicamp with Burns and the Steelers will only prove beneficial as the team works through training camp and the preseason.

    "I'm trying to understand the whole defense, not just the corners and safety, but also the linebackers and defensive linemen," Haden said. "I'm just trying to get the whole system from the ground up and get an overall grasp of the defense."

    Cleveland released Haden on the eve of the 2017 regular season and the Steelers immediately acted. They quickly signed the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback with the hope he could give a young secondary an instant jolt.

    "Having a veteran guy in your room that got to the level everybody wants to get to," Burns said, "you kind of sit back and think that you can learn from him to get to that point."

    The Steelers did just that last season.

    Pittsburgh ranked 16th against the pass in 2016, but Haden provided a necessary boost as the Steelers ended fifth in passing yards allowed. A 45-point outburst by Jacksonville in the AFC divisional playoff marred an otherwise strong season.

    "I think the communication was the biggest thing for us, just no blown coverages," Haden said. "In the Jacksonville game Tarell Basham Jersey , there were a couple times where people were just running free. We have the ability, we have the players, we just have to be on the same page and make sure everybody's covering their man."

    That has been the focus for Burns. He has carried a noticeably different, more confident swagger during training camp practices. He's still locked into regular one-on-one practice battles with four-time All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown, a daily matchup Burns welcomes.

    "Ever since I got here it's been a battle with (Brown)," Burns said. "It's just something I expect from myself. I don't even request it. I just step up, we go at it and go to work."

    It has already paid off for the third-year cornerback.

    Burns jumped Brown's slant route during the team's first padded practice and picked off Landry Jones's pass in the end zone. He also jumped a Ben Roethlisberger pass and came up with an interception that would've been returned for a touchdown.

    Burns said that sort of intuition comes with experience.

    "You can feel the speed of the receiver," Burns said. "A play can only go for so long, so once you figure out the timing of it, that's when you have a chance to make a play on the ball."

    Burns seeks similar game-changing plays alongside Haden in the secondary this season.

    "(Haden) is helping us in certain situations that he has already been put in before," Burns said. "That's what Joe is doing for us."

    NOTES: Coach Mike Tomlin said Brown was sent to Pittsburgh to be evaluated for a "minor, day-to-day" injury. Brown missed the previous two practices with his undisclosed injury. Tomlin wouldn't say what sort of injury. ... S Morgan Burnett (hamstring) http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/marcus-murphy-jersey , Sean Davis (groin), T.J. Watt (hamstring), Vance McDonald (foot) and Alejandro Villanueva (undisclosed) also missed practice on Thursday.

    CHICAGO — If the Chicago Cubs were looking for a glimmer of hope in an otherwise forgettable road trip, a seven-run seventh inning provided a spark.

    A day before the Cubs open a nine-game homestand on Friday against the Minnesota Twins, Thursday’s seven-spot helped deliver an 11-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers that helped the Cubs earn a split of the four-game series.

    The Cubs lost six of the eight games on that road trip, but that victory in Thursday’s series finale may have been just what the Cubs needed. Despite their recent struggles, the Cubs won’t get too wrapped up in their recent skid.

    “We’re in June,” center fielder Albert Almora Jr., told reporters. “Obviously, we want to get on a roll and start playing good baseball and this is a good way to move into our home (stand) now.

    “We’re not where we want to be obviously, but this is a step in the right direction.”

    Thursday’s outcome was better than the news that came earlier in the day.

    Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish experienced pain in his right triceps during a bullpen session Thursday, which will prevent him from returning to the starting rotation this weekend.

    “It didn’t go that well and he wasn’t able to cut it loose Trey Burton Jersey ,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters, according to the Cubs’ official website. “We’ll re-evaluate once we go back to Chicago and let you know the next step. For right now, he’s not going to be able to pitch on Saturday.”

    Darvish’s injury has opened the door of opportunity for Mike Montgomery, who will open the series against the Twins. Montgomery (2-2, 3.39 ERA) transitioned into the rotation from the bullpen in late May and has been effective. But after allowing no more than one earned run in each of his first five starts, Montgomery struggled in his last outing when he allowed four runs over six innings against the Cincinnati Reds.

    Montgomery is 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two career appearances, including one start, against the Twins. The lone start came in 2015, when he allowed one run and four hits over six innings, but did not get a decision.

    The Twins enter this weekend’s series off a marathon 13-inning, 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. Minnesota avoided a sweep while playing the third of six games they will play in Chicago this week.

    After Fernando Rodney allowed the tying run to score in the ninth inning, the Twins pulled out the victory with a bases-loaded walk to Max Kepler. The Twins will face the Cubs having lost five of their past seven games.

    Like the Cubs http://www.indianapoliscoltsteamonline.com/al-woods-jersey , the Twins hope a win can build momentum after Minnesota’s recent slide erased any positive energy that came earlier this month in series wins over the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox.

    “Obviously, this series and the last series have been unfortunate coming off two huge series wins,” second baseman Brian Dozier told reporters Thursday. “But that’s kind of how we’ve played the first few months of the season, which is not good. But I keep saying this team has potential to catch fire and do good things. I know we keep waiting on that and waiting on that, and in a perfect world, it would start today. But I think the mindset is where it needs to be. We just have to start winning more games.”

    Jose Berrios will start for the Twins. Berrios (8-5, 3.15) has not lost since May 27 and is coming off a strong seven-inning effort against the Texas Rangers in which he allowed no runs and two hits and struck out 12.

    Berrios will face the Cubs for the first time in his career on Friday.

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