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SteelCityMan786
07-24-2007, 06:23 PM
http://post-gazette.com/pg/07205/803940-66.stm

Steelers Notebook: Tomlin not so tough on first day

Tuesday, July 24, 2007
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

After all the talk of how tough his training camp would be, new coach Mike Tomlin turned soft on his very first day at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe.

Not only did he relieve more than half the team from going through a run test yesterday, he stopped it short for the 35 players who did run it.

Tomlin revealed yesterday that those players who completed 44 of the 50 offseason workout sessions were absolved from running yesterday. The others were to run 110-yard jobs 16 times on the newly named Chuck Noll Field.

Among those running were some of the biggest names on the team -- newly minted team salary leader Troy Polamalu, Hines Ward, Ben Roethlisberger, James Farrior and Alan Faneca. Some players did not have to run but chose to do so anyway.

"Guys were doing so well we cut it at 14," Tomlin said. "It didn't look like anybody was going to have a tough time making it, a testament to their preparation. Hats off to them."

When Tomlin came up with the idea to give 51 players off if they had a good attendance record in the spring is unknown, but he did not spring it on his players until it was too late for many to make up lost time.

"We wanted to reward those guys for being in town and being part of a voluntary program this offseason," Tomlin said. "If they were here working out, we knew what kind of shape they were in."

Unable to go

Tomlin downplayed the fact that three players will open training camp today on the physically unable to perform list, including starting receiver Santonio Holmes.

The others are veteran halfback Verron Haynes and NFL Europa linebacker Derek Rehage.

All, he predicted, would be temporary.

Holmes "had a minor surgical procedure that's not football related," Tomlin said. "He'll be watching for a day or two but it's a non-issue."

They will hold out Haynes a day or two because of the surgery he had on his knee last season. Rehage recently had a pin removed from an injured thumb.

Promotion for Mitchell

Tomlin promoted defensive line coach John Mitchell to assistant head coach.

Mitchell enters his 14th season as defensive line coach, a job he will continue in his new capacity. He succeeds former offensive line coach Russ Grimm, who carried the title of assistant head coach the past two seasons.

This is Mitchell's 34th season in coaching -- 17 in the NFL, 15 in college and two in the old United States Football League. He is a former All-America defensive end at Alabama and the first black player for Bear Bryant's Crimson Tide. He began his coaching career under the legendary Bryant shortly after he graduated from college.

"John Mitchell is a very respected coach in this league by his peers," Tomlin said. "It didn't take me long to realize we share some philosophical thoughts on football. I thought he was a very deserving man."

Kirkland returns as intern

The Steelers released one veteran linebacker in Joey Porter this year, and picked up another yesterday -- Levon Kirkland.

Kirkland, who played for the Steelers from 1992-00 and made two Pro Bowls, has joined the team in camp for one week as a scouting intern. He holds down a full-time job as a minority student recruiter at Clemson, his alma mater.

"I'm just kind of seeing if I like it," Kirkland said. "It's an opportunity for me to see if I want to get back in it."

Timmons to practice

The Steelers officially announced the signing of top draft pick Lawrence Timmons, a linebacker of few words from Florida State.

Timmons' groin was injured in his first spring practice and he did not practice again. He said he's "100 percent" and plans to take the field this morning, when the Steelers hold their first of two practices today.

"I'm healthy, but I'm going to take it day by day and not rush things, be smart about it," Timmons said.

Throwback player

On the day he signed the richest contract in club history, Polamalu showed little sense of fashion. While running with his teammates during their test, he wore a pair of short, ugly, striped brown and orange socks that looked like they came from the 1960s and the home team in Cleveland Stadium.

"They're Jim Brown's old socks," Polamalu said. "There goes my whole check."

Camp critic

Polamalu has expressed his disdain for NFL training camps and how they are traditionally conducted in the past, and this one likely will be no different.

"It's like going through boot camp every year," Polamalu said. "The army only does it once. We have to do it every year."

Quick hits

All 86 players on the roster reported on time. ... The Steelers' second practice today is the first one open to the public, scheduled to start at 2:55 p.m. at Saint Vincent College.

Preacher
07-24-2007, 07:06 PM
Notice this nice little piece...

Kirkland returns as intern

The Steelers released one veteran linebacker in Joey Porter this year, and picked up another yesterday -- Levon Kirkland.

Kirkland, who played for the Steelers from 1992-00 and made two Pro Bowls, has joined the team in camp for one week as a scouting intern. He holds down a full-time job as a minority student recruiter at Clemson, his alma mater.

"I'm just kind of seeing if I like it," Kirkland said. "It's an opportunity for me to see if I want to get back in it."


Hmmmm.... Let's see... Bring back one of OUR BEST linebackers to make sure the tradition is carried on by our new linebackers? Hmmm... Coincidence or not, I LOVE it.

The Duke
07-24-2007, 07:56 PM
Notice this nice little piece...




Hmmmm.... Let's see... Bring back one of OUR BEST linebackers to make sure the tradition is carried on by our new linebackers? Hmmm... Coincidence or not, I LOVE it.

It's great Kirkland is there, we have two rookies that will be the future of the LB corps in the team, it's good they have the guidance of one of the best. If only Lambert was available :wink02:

SteelCityMan786
07-24-2007, 08:48 PM
It's great Kirkland is there, we have two rookies that will be the future of the LB corps in the team, it's good they have the guidance of one of the best. If only Lambert was available :wink02:

Let's just feel happy we can get one of our greats.

lamberts-lost-tooth
07-25-2007, 04:26 AM
Steelers Notebook: Roethlisberger ready to prove last season a fluke
Wednesday, July 25, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seemed calm and confident yesterday, out to prove to one person that last year was a fluke. That person is Big Ben himself.

"You can say all you want that you have to prove it to the fans and the media," Roethlisberger said. "I'm just trying to prove to myself that I can do it and my career's not over and last year was a fluke. It was a bad year and we still ended up 8-8 with a bad year. So I think we can come out and do better and I can do better."

Roethlisberger ran the run test on Monday even though he didn't have to because he qualified for a pass by making at least 44 of the 50 offseason workouts.

"I was trying to be a leader,'' Roethlisberger said. "I saw my line was going to run. I wanted to run with those guys and be out there with them."


Whistling through practice


Whistles are making a comeback on NFL training camp practice fields, and they may have made their first appearance at Saint Vincent College.

Whistles have been a part of football practices since football and whistles were invented. They're so important to the game that they are banned from stadiums.

But the staffs of Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher didn't use whistles in practices. Noll or his coaches would scream out something if they wanted someone's attention.

The air horn made its first appearance in 1992 under Cowher.

Yesterday, coaching whistles blew all over the place. It sounded like a YMCA pool.


Spy games


Receiver Hines Ward had the quote of the day, when talk at lunchtime turned to Cowher.

"I thought I saw him up in the sky box looking down on us," Ward said, referring to the new press box at Saint Vincent's Chuck Noll Field, where the Steelers practice. "Maybe he was scouting -- I mean spying -- for the Cleveland Browns."


Camp observations


Rookie linebacker LaMarr Woodley is going to be one heck of a pass rusher. It was only the first day of drills and the running backs hate linebackers on backs drill -- a pass protection, one-on-one drill -- but Woodley ate Najeh Davenport for lunch, twice. That followed up a great spring for Woodley.

"I thought he did well in that drill," coach Mike Tomlin said. "He showed what he's capable of. He's a rush man. It's somewhat of a mismatch sometimes when LaMarr Woodley gets on a running back, so really you kind of expected him to get after some folks and I think he handled himself and handled the drill pretty well."

Dwain Painter, now a coach/scout for the CFL, and Joe Greene, a scout for the Steelers, chatted along the sideline. They were on Noll's staff together until Noll retired after the 1991 season. Painter, a former quarterback at Gateway High School, has been on the go as a coach for decades. Greene looks better than he has in years after acquiring a new hip a year ago and losing weight. He could now be Lean Joe Greene.

Tomlin cuts a much different figure than Cowher on a practice field. Cowher would wear shorts, a light shirt, a large straw hat. Tomlin dressed all in black, at least yesterday -- long pants, long shirt, sunglasses, black baseball cap. He also wears his dorm room key on a string around his neck, just like everyone else.

Practice started with special teams yesterday morning. If the Steelers do not improve on special teams this year, it won't be for a lack of practice. Tomlin even has scheduled seven one-hour morning sessions devoted to special teams in camp.

Verron Haynes watched morning practice with ice on his surgically repaired left knee. Part of the training camp drama will be to see if some young back -- John Kuhn or rookie Gary Russell? -- can take Haynes' roster spot. Haynes remains on the physically unable to perform list.

A botched punt return by Ricardo Colclough helped the Steelers lose at home to Cincinnati last year and seemingly set the pace for the rest of the season. Here, then, were the candidates lined up for the first punt return practice of camp: Colclough, Cedrick Wilson, Willie Reid, Jovon Johnson, Dan Sheldon and Chris Jackson. Santonio Holmes presumably will join him when he recovers from an unnamed non-football "procedure." Reid was drafted last year to return punts, but Cowher did not find a way to dress him for games until after the Colclough disaster and the first three games. He played in one game, left with a sprained foot and spent the rest of the season on injured reserve.

Elvis
07-25-2007, 04:39 AM
I just hope that Big Ben doesnt get out there and press things to hard trying to prove that last year was just a fluke. He just needs to get out there healthily of course, and have fun. The young man is very talented and his career is definitely not over. I just think that this team did not have the discipline that they needed after the super bowl run we had the year before. I love Cowher but it just seemed like he let things go after he won a tittle.

tony hipchest
07-25-2007, 09:33 AM
Tomlin cuts a much different figure than Cowher on a practice field. Cowher would wear shorts, a light shirt, a large straw hat. Tomlin dressed all in black, at least yesterday -- long pants, long shirt, sunglasses, black baseball cap. He also wears his dorm room key on a string around his neck, just like everyone else.that sounds very uncomfortable and extremely hot on a muggy summer day. anyone see any significance in the message this sends?

if tomlin is gonna make the guys sweat and be uncomfortable, he aint afraid to do it too. he sounds like he was dressed for work and to get down to business.

on the other hand, cowher and his silly straw hat, a pair of jams and some flip-flops always looked like he should be walking around with a mai-tai. i can see where some players mightve got the impression it was a relaxed, vacation like atmosphere.

SteelCityMan786
07-25-2007, 09:37 AM
Topics Merged. Please Keep all Steelers Notebook articles DURING TRAINING CAMP in this thread please. Thanks.

83-Steelers-43
07-26-2007, 12:01 AM
Steelers Notebook: Special teams get new voice, a ton of attention
Thursday, July 26, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Who said Bill Cowher left the building?

Listen ... you can hear his clone all the way from Latrobe to Ligonier.

Bob Ligashesky takes it over the top in the kicking game. He's the Steelers' new special teams coach. Think Cowher sprinting up and down the sideline in his early days as special teams coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Ligashesky, a graduate of Sto-Rox High School and IUP, also coached the special teams at Pitt. He makes more noise than the freight trains that thunder pass the two teams' South Side practice facility, but he has toned it down since spring.

"He's calmed down a little since we had the coaching sessions," linebacker James Harrison said.

What hasn't calmed down is coach Mike Tomlin's commitment to getting it right in the kicking game. He held his first all-special teams practice yesterday morning, the first of seven, in addition to the time spent in other practices on the kicking game.

"We just want to give it it's just due," Tomlin said. "That's a legitimate phase of football. It's a significant number of snaps in a football game, so we're putting the time in there while we have the time."

There were years, under Chuck Noll, the Steelers did not have a special teams coach. Tomlin has not one, not two, but three --Ligashesky is assisted by Amos Jones. Ray Jackson, who is in charge of the team's player development, also helps out with the kicking game.

How much more emphasis is put on special teams this year?

"A lot," said defensive end Brett Keisel, a former special teams ace. "Obviously we have an entire practice dedicated to it."

Most starters got a reprieve from playing on special teams in the past; not now. Starters flood the various special teams units.

"Coach Tomlin talked last night how special teams played a big part in the success of the Chicago Bears last year," linebacker Clark Haggans said. "That's why we had practice today. Special teams determines the outcome of two, three, four games that could get you in the playoffs or a playoff win or could get you to the Super Bowl."

Switches coming

Tomlin will switch some players who are competing for jobs, particularly in the offensive line where, for example, Chukky Okobi has been running with the first team at center. Soon, newcomer Sean Mahan could get his turn to run at first-team center.

"We visit that on a nightly basis on some guys who are competing for jobs," Tomlin said. "We will do that from time to time at every position."

Practice and fireworks

Training camp just opened for the Steelers and already there are fireworks.

No fights on the practice field -- not yet, anyway -- but there will be fireworks tomorrow night after practice. Zambelli International will stage a fireworks show at 9:20 p.m. after the Steelers hold their annual night practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.

Practice begins at 7 p.m., and fans can get autographs of the players and coaches on the field at 6:45 p.m. Gates open at 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for children under 18 and seniors, and free to those under 12 with a parent. Proceeds benefit the Greater Latrobe School District sports programs.

Quick hits

The Steelers talked to former NFL quarterback Aaron Brooks, but have decided not to sign him.

Kicker Jeff Reed and safety Ryan Clark have had their contracts reworked to create salary-cap room this year. The players receive the same amount but in a bonus form, a technicality that allows the team to push some accounting of their pay into future years.

Rookies Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley, the Steelers' top draft picks, played outside linebacker with the first-team defense in 7-on-7 passing drills, dropping into coverage.

Woodley says he weighs 264, and the coaches want him down to 255-260.

Wide receiver Santonio Holmes and running back Verron Haynes have not practiced.

Punter Mike Barr has never made an NFL team, yet this is his fifth summer in an NFL training camp. He started out in 2003 with the Washington Redskins, and this makes it four in a row in Latrobe. Barr's chances to make the team dipped when the Steelers drafted Dan Sepulveda in the fourth round. But Barr looks good and was booming them high and deep in practice yesterday afternoon.

It appears Sepulveda will hold for Jeff Reed's kicks.

To start the 10-minute team drill (11 on 11) that ended practice yesterday afternoon, the Steelers deployed three wide receivers on first down. On second down, they used three tight ends. They are things new coordinator Bruce Arians talked about using all spring.

Quarterbacks spent a few idle moments during morning special teams practice trying to lob 20-yard passes into garbage buckets. Former coordinator Kevin Gilbride had his quarterbacks do that often at Saint Vincent College in the summer of 1999, which prompted an old scout to note wryly back then that, when you practice throwing into garbage cans, you get good at throwing into garbage cans.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07207/804555-66.stm

83-Steelers-43
07-26-2007, 12:03 AM
Kicking game gets special attention

By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Steelers have gone to the mattresses.

Not the "Godfather"/Tony Soprano mattresses, but the big pads designed to soften the blow for those giving their all trying to block an imaginary punt.

We'd seen that before at St. Vincent College.

Ron Zook used them when he was coaching the special teams back in the mid-to-late 1990s.

It was either Zook or Bobby April.

April was the special teams coach who replaced John Guy and preceded Zook.

Bill Cowher went through so many special teams coaches (one every three years, on average) it's difficult to recall who was responsible for what innovation.

From Guy to April to Zook to Jay Hayes to Kevin Spencer, they all had an angle.

What they didn't have was time.

The Steelers practiced special teams with regularity under Cowher, who began his climb up the ladder running Marty Schottenheimer's special teams in Cleveland and always paid enthusiastic lip service to their importance after becoming a head coach.

But they never devoted the time to the kicking game they have since Mike Tomlin took over.

Tomlin arrived with not one but two kicking game gurus, special teams coach Bob Ligashesky and assistant special teams coach Amos Jones.

They were busy men during the minicamps and organized team activities.

Tomlin suggested then that the seemingly endless special teams drilling would be curtailed once the Steelers hit Latrobe.

But there they were on Wednesday morning, conducting a one-hour workout devoted to nothing but "teams."

More of those are in store.

And the mattresses aren't the only toys in the special teams shed.

The Steelers have footballs attached to sticks used to simulate snaps that jump-start players who are trying to block imaginary punts.

They have a skinny post (not the one Hines Ward scored on against New England, but a thinner set of uprights, presumably designed to hone kicker Jeff Reed's accuracy).

They have a long-snapping net (presumably to hone long snapper Greg Warren's accuracy).

They have volleyballs.

They have Nerf balls.

And the time they're spending on special teams is estimated by linebacker/special teams captain Clint Kriewaldt to be about three times what they devoted to special teams a year ago.

There was some grumbling at first about the painstaking attention to detail and technique.

But with the arrival of the preseason, that initial chafing has seemingly been replaced by a new appreciation for special teams preparation.

"Hopefully, guys' attitudes are right," Kriewaldt said. "We're out here working, and I like where we're going. Coach Tomlin's a big special teams guy, and he's backing it up by giving us this time, the meeting time, the practice time, everything.

"We're going to be good. You think about how many games are won and lost on that phase and how important it is and how little time we used to put in and how little other teams put in, I understand why we're doing it."

Spencer had neither the time nor the influence on personnel necessary to avert a special teams disaster last season.

Ligashesky had an hour with which to work yesterday and an appointment with Tomlin to review film afterward.

"We're trying to give it its just due," Tomlin said.

That explains why the Steelers practiced special teams again yesterday afternoon.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_519024.html

tony hipchest
07-26-2007, 12:10 AM
"Coach Tomlin talked last night how special teams played a big part in the success of the Chicago Bears last year," linebacker Clark Haggans said. "That's why we had practice today. Special teams determines the outcome of two, three, four games that could get you in the playoffs or a playoff win or could get you to the Super Bowl."im glad somebody has recognized this. i was hoping we could hire the bears ST coach after last season.

theres nothing like watching brian urlacher blaze past a returner and blow up a special team defender on a record setting return. (n. vasher- 108 yd return vs sf)

Preacher
07-26-2007, 12:17 AM
Okay...

Tomlin is STILL doing everything right as far as I am concerned.

I LOVE the dedication to special teams. I can think of a game or two that we lost in playoffs because of special teams.

Remember that block that the Patriots picked up and ran the ball back for a TD?

Remember missed field goal against the Titans, when we ran into the kicker?

SteelCityMan786
07-26-2007, 07:16 AM
Everyone, please Keep all Steelers Notebook Threads from Training Camp in this thread for discussion. Thanks.

83-Steelers-43
07-26-2007, 11:04 PM
Steelers Notebook: Holmes aching to get back to practice
Friday, July 27, 2007

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Hines Ward knows all about missing portions of training camp with an injury. It happened to him last year when he injured his hamstring during camp and didn't play in any of the preseason games.

After a slow start to the regular season in which he caught 18 passes in the first five games, Ward said it wasn't until Week 6 in Atlanta that he started feeling fully healthy and ready to play at his four-time Pro Bowl level again.,

That's why he's hoping wide receiver Santonio Holmes, last year's No. 1 pick, out with an undisclosed injury, doesn't miss too much of training camp.

"It was difficult for me, the time I missed," Ward said. "This is where all the timing is developed, the regimen we're going through with two-a-days to get your body in shape. Last year, when I missed all of camp, my body never got going till right before the Atlanta game."

Holmes has not practiced since the start of camp because he is recovering from an undisclosed procedure that is non-football related. Yesterday, he stood in one spot of the practice field and caught one-handed passes with each hand from one of the conditioning coaches.

Afterward, he said he has "no idea" when he will return to practice, only that he has to "listen to the doctors, and if they say take time off, I have to take time off."

Holmes added, "It's very frustrating, knowing I have to sit out and can't help the team right now."

Big things are expected of Holmes this season after the way he finished 2006. In his final four games, he caught 16 passes for 320 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown pass in the season finale in Cincinnati. He also returned a punt 67 yards for a score against Carolina. By the end of the season, Holmes was splitting time with the team's starting split end, Cedrick Wilson.

"I'm more excited about getting more opportunities to help the team this year," Holmes said

Asked if the injury is a setback, he said, "I don't think so. I don't think having to sit out a couple days, a week, however many days it is, will set me back."

Imposter reaction

Tight end Jerame Tuman said he did not take any pleasure in seeing the man who impersonated him and several other Steelers players get sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years probation. But he is at least glad the ordeal is over.

Brian Jackson, 33, of Brentwood, pleaded guilty in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to one count of theft by deception and one count of identity theft after he impersonated Tuman and asked a woman to loan him $3,200 last year. In the past, Jackson has also passed himself off as Ben Roethlisberger and Brian St. Pierre.

"It's a shame," Tuman said. "If you ask me if I'm happy he went to jail, I don't know if I'm happy. But, hopefully, he gets on the right path."

Tuman, 31, said he was aware of two other incidents in which a person -- believed to be Jackson -- impersonated him, once at a South Side restaurant, another time in a leather shop. But, when he received a letter at training camp last year, saying he owed a woman $3,200, Tuman reported the matter to the team's head of security.

"That kinda caught me off guard," Tuman said. "It had no effect on me personally, other than the few places where he used my name."

Drill time

The Steelers have historically used a training-camp drill called backers on backers, where the running backs try to block rushing linebackers in one-on-one drills. But coach Mike Tomlin introduced a new version of the drill yesterday in which cornerbacks and safeties try to beat the running backs in one-on-one blocking drills.

"I play inside and I get to blitz a lot, so it's very beneficial for me," said cornerback Deshea Townsend, who plays nickel back in the team's sub packages. "I did all right. You win some, you lose some, but a lot of times you just try to get to the edge and apply pressure and force the quarterback to step up."

That, though, didn't stop Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu from plowing into fullback Dan Kreider and knocking him back into the "quarterback" in the best collision of the morning.

Some of the other standouts: S Anthony Smith twice beat RB Kevan Barlow before getting stood up by RB Willie Parker; Parker also popped Townsend before he could get to the edge; RB Najeh Davenport stuffed CB Bryant McFadden.

First-year free-agent RB Carey Davis, who is with his fifth NFL team in four years, performed so well in the drill that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians yelled after the drill, "He's 5-0."

Several players, such as CB Ike Taylor and FS Ryan Clark, did not participate in the drill because they rarely, if ever, blitz the quarterback in the team's defensive schemes.

"It lets them compete, see what some of those guys are made of," Tomlin said. "It presents a different challenge for the running backs than blocking linebackers. The linebackers are more power to speed. These guys are speed to power."

Quick hits

Right tackle Max Starks had the best stymie in the afternoon, twice stuffing rookie LB LaMarr Woodley on plays in the one-on-one pass-rush drill.

Davenport got behind LB Rian Wallace and caught a deep pass from Roethlisberger in the 11-on-11 drill.

The best hit of the afternoon belonged to Anthony Smith, who flattened WR Willie Reid after a catch on a slant pass. Reid held on to the ball.

The Steelers will hold two practices again today. The second will be 7 p.m. at Latrobe Memorial Stadium. A fireworks show presented by Zambelli International will follow at 9:20 p.m. Admission is $3 adults, $1 for seniors and children ages 12 to 17. Children under 12 are free if accompanied by a parent.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07208/804870-66.stm

83-Steelers-43
07-26-2007, 11:26 PM
Right tackle Max Starks had the best stymie in the afternoon, twice stuffing rookie LB LaMarr Woodley on plays in the one-on-one pass-rush drill.

Nice to hear about Starks. Somebody who I'm not exactly comfortable with at RT, this news is better than no news at all. Hopefully he won't look like a cardboard cut out like much of last year.

83-Steelers-43
07-26-2007, 11:35 PM
Inside the ropes
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, July 27, 2007

Exploring all options

The Steelers didn't sign veteran quarterback Aaron Brooks, but management still sent a strong message to the players that no job is safe.

With the quarterback situation apparently set in stone with starter Ben Roethlisberger and backup Charlie Batch, the Steelers still explored the possibility of bringing in Brooks, who played most recently with Oakland.

Although Brooks struggled with the Raiders and was known for his inconsistency when he played for New Orleans, the mere fact that the Steelers were even considering him is newsworthy.

With his long track record as a starter, there's no way that Brooks would have agreed to join the Steelers as the No. 3 quarterback (Brian St. Pierre currently holds that spot). Brooks would have wanted an opportunity to be the starter or at the very least the backup.

Knowing that, the Steelers still checked Brooks out. Either they really believed they had a chance of signing Brooks and that he could enhance their quarterback situation, or else they wanted to let their players know that they will continue to look to upgrade the roster.

Score one for Steelers management.

Back in the day

Steelers defensive backs coach Ray Horton and new quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson have a long history together. They were teammates with the Cincinnati Bengals in the early 1980s and were later assistant coaches together in Cincinnati. Now they're reunited with the Steelers.

"We've been together a long time. We played a couple of years, then we coached,'' said Horton, who is in his first season as Steelers defensive backs coach after serving the previous three seasons as assistant defensive backs coach. "This isn't anything new.''

In Cincinnati, Horton played defensive back. Anderson was the quarterback.

"It's so nice to have somebody that you're good friends with that's on the same staff,'' said Anderson, who's in his first season with the Steelers. "When you make a move, the football part's the easy part. The other part -- where am I going to live, how do I get around? -- that becomes the difficult part. To have a guy like Ray that you can lean on a little bit sure helps.''

Center stage

Coach Mike Tomlin said free agent Sean Mahan will compete with veteran Chukky Okobi at center, but Okobi continues to line up with the first team.

Despite the search for a replacement for the retired Jeff Hartings, agent Joe Linta believes Okobi will beat out Mahan. If he doesn't, Linta said, it won't be because Okobi, who is scheduled to earn around $2 million this season, makes too much money.

"The Steelers aren't that stupid. From a cap perspective, it's ridiculous,'' Linta said Thursday. "Together, Chukky and Mahan will earn less than what Hartings made last season. The Steelers can keep two quality centers for a lower cap number than last year.

"The Steelers will not cut Chukky Okobi for cap reasons. If he gets a fair shot, it's going to be very difficult to take him out of the starting lineup.''

Daily gems

Second-year safety Anthony Smith continued to impress yesterday. Smith was all but unstoppable during a morning blocking drill featuring defensive backs and running backs. In the afternoon, Smith blasted wide receiver Willie Reid to the turf following a reception. Even though defenders aren't supposed to tackle in 11-on-11 drills, Tomlin said he loves Smith's aggressiveness. ... Running back Carey Davis, who was impressive during morning blocking drills, is on the No. 1 punt coverage team. ... Before re-injuring his groin, rookie linebacker Lawrence Timmons made a diving, juggling interception against Batch.

He said it

Pro Bowl running back Willie Parker on improving his pass blocking: "That's something I'm really anticipating, blocking and being in more on third-down packages. That's what I trained myself for this offseason. That's what I'm going to do.''

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_519235.html

WWIIOwheelz
07-26-2007, 11:39 PM
Willie Reid is turning into a monster. That'll get in the heads of opposing WRs on slants & over the middle. Guy can hit! Needs to control his celebrations, though

83-Steelers-43
07-26-2007, 11:42 PM
Willie Reid is turning into a monster. That'll get in the heads of opposing WRs on slants & over the middle. Guy can hit! Needs to control his celebrations, though

You mean Anthony Smith?

Speak of Reid, hats off to him for holding on to the ball. We saw what Smith did to Henry and Johnson last season. Good job by Reid. Hopefully he can stay healthy this year.

tony hipchest
07-27-2007, 12:13 AM
Nice to hear about Starks. Somebody who I'm not exactly comfortable with at RT, this news is better than no news at all. Hopefully he won't look like a cardboard cut out like much of last year.i also read how he showed up to camp having lost alot of weight. seems him, okolbi, or simmons arent gonna just hand over their jobs.

how dare ed bouchette not inform us that ray horton was a bungle. you mean we had a bungle on the coaching staff all this time? bastard! im still not over k. anderson being hired :rolleyes:

who is this care davis? i know nothing about him other than he is the next jerome bettis and better than john kuhn.

willie talks a good talk about having back up running backs in there to help carry the load, yet he still fights the fight to keep all of them off the field. (to me that is the most impressive thing so far in camp). willie will not give in, and desperately wants to be an elite 3 down back.

anthony smith... the steelers might as well give him a 6 year extension tomorrow. clark and hope are players that good teams like the cowboys and patriots would love to have. somebody like a. smith makes them expendable. amazing that clark could probably start on 25 other teams and may get pushed to the bench. could it possibly be like having lohn lynch in his prime in the same backfield as polamalu? sick.

The Duke
07-27-2007, 01:39 AM
Seems good we can keep both Okobi and Mahan, either can be a great backup, and Mahan could even be a backup on guard. Anthony Smith is getting lots of attention from Tomlin ,I can't wait till he names him the starter, I just hope he doesn't kill Willie Reid, we need him on the returns, and if he can really catch well we may have a good #5 receiver or something like that.

Preacher
07-27-2007, 02:14 AM
anthony smith... the steelers might as well give him a 6 year extension tomorrow. could it possibly be like having lohn lynch in his prime in the same backfield as polamalu? sick.


Yeah... just lock the bugger up now.

That kid is turning into a monster.

83-Steelers-43
07-27-2007, 11:13 PM
Steelers Notebook: It happened one night -- Ben looking sharp
Saturday, July 28, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Coach Mike Tomlin abandoned the live goal-line drill that for years traditionally ended a Steelers night training camp practice, only he forgot to tell that to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger treated the goal line as his personal playground, throwing consecutive touchdown passes and adding a third in 11 on 11 to the delight of the estimated 12,000 fans who turned out last night at Memorial Stadium in Latrobe.

The quarterback looked in top form as he rifled a 15-yard pass in the left front of the end zone to Cedrick Wilson, who held on after a big hit from safety Tyrone Carter. Next, Roethlisberger showed perfect touch on a 15-yard lob pass to tight end Heath Miller, who stretched his 6-foot-5 frame just enough in the right back corner of the end zone for the score.

Although Roethlisberger did throw one misguided pass on a rollout that safety Anthony Smith dropped in the end zone, the quarterback came back and pitched a 35-yard touchdown to Nate Washington.

"I was real pleased,'' said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. "He knows what he's doing right now."

Well-deserved breather

Tomlin eased up on his team for the first time.

He extended their curfew last night after practice and canceled this morning's scheduled 90-minute practice at Saint Vincent College.

Although the players still must attend meetings this morning, it's the first time they will not have two daily practices since their first Tuesday morning. They will have a two-hour practice starting at 2:55 p.m. that is open to the public.

"It's good to throw the guys a bone now and then," Tomlin said.

Timmons a spectator

No. 1 draft pick Lawrence Timmons wasn't involved in last night's practice. After reinjuring his groin on Thursday, Timmons watched morning special teams practice for 10 minutes and then left the field when quarterbacks and the offensive line were dismissed.

Timmons is expected to play on several special teams as a rookie but things are not off to a good start.

Two, but not tough

There are two-a-day practices, and then there are two-a-days and not all are the same. That first coach Tomlin held on the first morning of camp, Tuesday, was a real practice, two hours long and plenty of hitting.

Then there was yesterday's one-hour drill. It was all special teams, no hitting -- unless you count the number of times players tried to knock down a volleyball as they "rushed" the punter.

Ten minutes into the morning practice, the entire offensive line and the four quarterbacks were dismissed, along with Hines Ward and Timmons. They walked back into the dorm with two coaches, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and line coach Larry Zierlein.

Thirty minutes later, the defensive line departed.

Block that kick?

Watching special teams practices in the morning -- unfortunately, not open to the public -- is like watching a three-ring circus. Over here, players are running and batting volleyballs as if they are saving a punted football from bouncing into the end zone. Over there, more volleyballs are being pooch punted as players try to block them.

The former regime rarely tried to block kicks and maybe this one won't either, but they're certainly putting a lot of practice time into it.

There's also the football-on-a-stick. Think banana-on-a-stick, only the stick is about 3 feet long and the football is not covered in chocolate. It's not exactly high-tech; the coaches use it to signal the snap from center -- they hold the stick, put the ball on the ground and yank it up on the snap.

Don't forget the skinny posts. That's what they call a certain route run by receivers down the middle.

Now they are literally using skinny posts in practice -- goal posts about half the width of normal ones so kickers, I suppose, can get used to kicking through tighter quarters.

The other day, they went to the mattresses -- not like La Cosa Nostra -- using big foam rubber things as a soft landing ground for players trying to extend their bodies to block a punt. No bedsprings involved and no bedposts.

Holmes still out

Santonio Holmes again did not practice. Holmes, who might practice soon, had a non-football "procedure" before camp started.

Haynes comes back

Halfback Verron Haynes practiced for the first time last night after the Steelers withdrew him from the physically unable to perform list.

Haynes must fight to reclaim his spot on the team as a third-down back and backup halfback.

The competition is keen for Haynes with Najeh Davenport, Kevan Barlow, John Kuhn and a couple of other free agent backs in camp.

Haynes blew out his left knee -- virtually every ligament in it -- last November and made a miracle comeback to practice in the spring. Such injuries normally take at least a year to heal.

"I wasn't even supposed to be practicing until November," Haynes said.

"They don't want the setbacks to occur. So right now since I'm ahead of schedule, they want to keep it that way, monitor everything. Coach talked to me: It's a long preseason. We're just going to monitor it day by day."

Haynes has been running this week.

Rehage returns

Another player who came off the PUP list and practiced for the first time last night was linebacker Derek Rehage, who did so wearing a splint on his broken thumb.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07209/805168-66.stm

83-Steelers-43
07-27-2007, 11:17 PM
Inside the ropes
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, July 28, 2007

Tomlin pleased

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was so satisfied with Friday night's practice at Latrobe High School that he gave his players this morning off.

Well, not exactly.

The Steelers don't have to practice this morning, but they do have to attend meetings. Better than nothing -- right, coach?

"Throw the guys a bone every now and then. They deserve it," Tomlin said. "(They're) not off. Get them off their feet. Have meetings instead."

As for last night's practice, Tomlin liked what he saw. He said the large crowd at Latrobe Memorial Stadium energized the players.

There were blocking drills and some unscheduled hits by the defense, but no full contact.

None of that seemed to matter to the fans, who appreciated what they were watching and cheered loudly.

"It was fun. Great to come out here and give the fans a treat," Tomlin said.

Koonce impressive

Free-agent linebacker Richard Koonce looked good during last night's 'backers vs. backs blocking drill. Koonce repeatedly used his power and speed to challenge blockers and apply steady pressure to the quarterback.

Koonce, who started four games and recorded 19 tackles, one sack and one interception for the Rhein Fire of NFL Europa, is also trying to make his mark on special teams.

On the mend

Rookie linebacker Lawrence Timmons observed last night's practice in shorts. Timmons is recovering from a groin ailment he re-injured Thursday morning. Tomlin said Timmons will be re-evaluated today and that his status is day-to-day.

Also, running back Verron Haynes, who dressed out last night, was removed from the physically unable to peform list. Haynes, who has made a remarkable recovery from major knee surgery, said he is close to full speed.

Second-year wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who underwent a non-football related medical procedure prior to training camp, is still not ready to practice and remains day-to-day. Linebacker Derek Rehage (thumb) will return in a limited capacity.

Opportunity knocks

Wide receiver Nate Washington has gotten more reps in Holmes' absence. Washington caught a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger in 11-on-11 drills last night.

He said it

Quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson on working with Roethlisberger: "The fundamentals of playing quarterback really haven't changed. The game has changed. I think all quarterbacks have to be sound fundamentally, and that's what we're working hard on."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_519505.html

SteelCityMan786
07-29-2007, 11:14 PM
http://post-gazette.com/pg/07211/805508-66.stm

Steelers Notebook: Defense bests offense in 'fun' goal-line drill

Monday, July 30, 2007
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Coach Mike Tomlin decided to end his first week of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe with some excitement, conducting a full-scale best-of-seven goal-line drill that included chicanery, confusion and maybe even some collusion.

"We had a little fun out there," Tomlin said.

The defense won the drill, 4-2, but not before the offense tried to use some of the defensive players to score.

It worked when quarterback Charlie Batch threw a touchdown pass to defensive end Brett Keisel, who was lined up as a tight end for the offense.

When Keisel caught the ball, many of the defensive players mistakenly thought he was on their side and made an interception to end the drill.

But it didn't work on the next play when nose tackle Casey Hampton -- yes, Hampton -- lined up at fullback and was stopped short of the end zone on a big hit by inside linebacker Clint Kriewaldt, ending the drill.

"That's the last time I'm doing that," Hampton said.

The 330-pound Hampton seemed to ease into the line, prompting Tomlin to jokingly charge that "Hampton was on the take with that snap to the fullback."

Holmes returns

Wide receiver Santonio Holmes returned to full practice for the first time since training camp began and said he was more tired than he thought he would be.

Holmes, a No. 1 pick in 2006, had been kept out of practice after having a procedure for an undisclosed non-football-related problem.

"It was pretty tough finishing up practice," Holmes said. "I still got a lot of work to do."

Parker shines

Running back Willie Parker was the star of the one-on-one drill pitting blitzing secondary players against running backs, prompting Tomlin to hint that Parker might be used more in third-down situations.

Parker stood up charging safety Tyrone Carter with a big hit, exciting the crowd alongside the hillside. When Carter shoved Parker after the exchange, Parker angrily gave Carter a two-handed shove to the chest.

"I wasn't taking none of that," Parker said. "We're friends, but today we're enemies.

"That's how I get when I block now. I get a little jacked up. That's how it's going to be from now on, no matter who I go against."

"We got a group of tough backs," Tomlin said.

When asked if Parker has a chance to play on third down, Tomlin said, "Yes."

Quick hits

Outside linebacker James Harrison (ribs) sat out practice, but Tomlin said the injury is nothing significant and listed Harrison as day-to-day.

"It's more of a precaution," Tomlin said. "James always wants to play, but we got a long way to go."

With Harrison out, the Steelers looked at a lot of players on the right side, including left outside linebacker Clark Haggans and inside linebacker Rian Wallace.

Outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (groin) and tight end Matt Spaeth (shoulder) -- two of their top three draft picks -- did not practice again.

After just one practice each of the past two days, the Steelers will resume two-a-day practices today. The afternoon session at 2:55 p.m. is open to the public.

Staying under control

Safety Anthony Smith has become something of a target on the field for his hard hits, especially on second-year wide receiver Willie Reid. But that is the way he plays and the reason the coaches like his ability to make big plays.

But, as the free safety, Smith has to be judicious because he is the last line of defense in the secondary, especially when strong safety Troy Polamalu often roams all over the field.

"The only problem with me and him being in there at the same time is we're both risk-takers," Smith said. "Troy can take a few more [risks]. I take my shots. I have to be smart about it, though."

Asked if it's hard for him to curtail his style, Smith said, "It's not tough at all. You just can't make a big play every time. I try to make as many as I can."

Black@Gold Forever32
07-29-2007, 11:29 PM
I love risk takers like Anthony Smith...Yes they could lead to big plays....But you can't be laid back playing NFL football...I watched the Super Bowl vs the Bears/Colts again today on NFL Network and the Bears were to laid back on defense and afraid to take any risks against Peyton....When you do that against a QB like Peyton he will find a way to win and he did just that......

Preacher
07-30-2007, 12:18 AM
I love risk takers like Anthony Smith...Yes they could lead to big plays....But you can't be laid back playing NFL football...I watched the Super Bowl vs the Bears/Colts again today on NFL Network and the Bears were to laid back on defense and afraid to take any risks against Peyton....When you do that against a QB like Peyton he will find a way to win and he did just that......


Seems that we as Steelers like risk takers too...

Remember Woodson? Big risk taker. Remember our HALF OUR LB's? Big risk takers.

yep, we have a long tradition of risk-takers on Defense.

Black@Gold Forever32
07-30-2007, 12:25 AM
Seems that we as Steelers like risk takers too...

Remember Woodson? Big risk taker. Remember our HALF OUR LB's? Big risk takers.

yep, we have a long tradition of risk-takers on Defense.

Oh yea I remember Rod Woodson..........My all time favorite Pittsburgh Steeler....I'm not old enough to experience the Curtain days....So Rod was my guy growing up...Him and Greg Lloyd....Was a big fan of Darren Perry also...I always thought Perry didn't get the credit he deserved.......With so much talent on those Blitzburgh defenses he got lost in the shuffle.......

Well Dick LeBeau's 3-4 blitz defense is all about taking risks really..........thats why I love this defense so much.........

83-Steelers-43
07-30-2007, 01:23 AM
Inside the ropes
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, July 30, 2007

Dangling a carrot

Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel probably said it best following a spirited goal-line drill won by the defense Sunday afternoon at St. Vincent College.

"We love this type of thing," said Keisel, who not only switched over to offense and played tight end but also caught a touchdown pass from Charlie Batch. "It's a live drill at the end of a work week when everyone's banged up. It's exciting for everyone to come out."

The goal-line drill, a longtime training camp favorite of the players and yesterday's final activity, featured the first scheduled live contact under coach Mike Tomlin. In the drill, the defense stopped the offense four times. The offense scored on Willie Parker's run and Keisel's catch.

Keisel said he took the goal-line drill seriously because of a promise Tomlin made to the players.

"Coach Tomlin put a little incentive on it," Keisel said. "If you were vested and you won, you get the night off. So that added a little bit of bonus to it."

More chippiness

Safety Tyrone Carter, who mixed it up with wide receiver Nate Washington on Saturday, got into it with Parker during yesterday's blocking drill featuring defensive backs and running backs.

When Parker neutralized Carter without allowing him to get to the imaginary quarterback, Carter shoved Parker under the shoulder pads.

Parker, who has improved his dedication to pass-blocking considerably since last season, took Carter's action in stride.

Parker also had an interesting pairing with cornerback Ike Taylor. After Parker drove Taylor to the ground in their first encounter, Taylor moved to the head of the line in front of Chidi Iwuoma so he could go against Parker again. This time, Taylor beat Parker with an outside rush.

Steelers defensive backs have been the talk of training camp.

Safety Anthony Smith said he spoke with wide receiver Hines Ward after Ward criticized Smith and fellow safety Ryan Clark for their hard hits Saturday on Reid.

"We talked. We talk every day," Smith said. "It's nothing personal."

No explanation yet from Smith about his hard hit on Reid during Thursday's practice.

Linebacker shortage

With injuries sidelining starting right outside linebacker James Harrison (rib) and rookie backup Lawrence Timmons (groin), veteran Clark Haggans moved from the left side to the right side, with Rian Wallace filling in on the left side. "It's an opportunity for Clark to show his versatility," Tomlin said. Haynes healthy

As promised, running back Verron Haynes is working his way back into all of the drills. Haynes, recovering from major knee surgery, participated in his first full-contact drill when the running backs blocked against the defensive backs. HE SAID IT: Smith explaining Saturday's big hit on Reid: "I was actually going for the interception. I got there before the ball, and I was trying to protect myself."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_519650.html

83-Steelers-43
07-30-2007, 01:25 AM
Steelers Notebook: Defense bests offense in 'fun' goal-line drill
Monday, July 30, 2007

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Coach Mike Tomlin decided to end his first week of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe with some excitement, conducting a full-scale best-of-seven goal-line drill that included chicanery, confusion and maybe even some collusion.

"We had a little fun out there," Tomlin said.

The defense won the drill, 4-2, but not before the offense tried to use some of the defensive players to score.

It worked when quarterback Charlie Batch threw a touchdown pass to defensive end Brett Keisel, who was lined up as a tight end for the offense.

When Keisel caught the ball, many of the defensive players mistakenly thought he was on their side and made an interception to end the drill.

But it didn't work on the next play when nose tackle Casey Hampton -- yes, Hampton -- lined up at fullback and was stopped short of the end zone on a big hit by inside linebacker Clint Kriewaldt, ending the drill.

"That's the last time I'm doing that," Hampton said.

The 330-pound Hampton seemed to ease into the line, prompting Tomlin to jokingly charge that "Hampton was on the take with that snap to the fullback."

Holmes returns

Wide receiver Santonio Holmes returned to full practice for the first time since training camp began and said he was more tired than he thought he would be.

Holmes, a No. 1 pick in 2006, had been kept out of practice after having a procedure for an undisclosed non-football-related problem.

"It was pretty tough finishing up practice," Holmes said. "I still got a lot of work to do."

Parker shines

Running back Willie Parker was the star of the one-on-one drill pitting blitzing secondary players against running backs, prompting Tomlin to hint that Parker might be used more in third-down situations.

Parker stood up charging safety Tyrone Carter with a big hit, exciting the crowd alongside the hillside. When Carter shoved Parker after the exchange, Parker angrily gave Carter a two-handed shove to the chest.

"I wasn't taking none of that," Parker said. "We're friends, but today we're enemies.

"That's how I get when I block now. I get a little jacked up. That's how it's going to be from now on, no matter who I go against."

"We got a group of tough backs," Tomlin said.

When asked if Parker has a chance to play on third down, Tomlin said, "Yes."

Quick hits

Outside linebacker James Harrison (ribs) sat out practice, but Tomlin said the injury is nothing significant and listed Harrison as day-to-day.

"It's more of a precaution," Tomlin said. "James always wants to play, but we got a long way to go."

With Harrison out, the Steelers looked at a lot of players on the right side, including left outside linebacker Clark Haggans and inside linebacker Rian Wallace.

Outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (groin) and tight end Matt Spaeth (shoulder) -- two of their top three draft picks -- did not practice again.

After just one practice each of the past two days, the Steelers will resume two-a-day practices today. The afternoon session at 2:55 p.m. is open to the public.

Staying under control

Safety Anthony Smith has become something of a target on the field for his hard hits, especially on second-year wide receiver Willie Reid. But that is the way he plays and the reason the coaches like his ability to make big plays.

But, as the free safety, Smith has to be judicious because he is the last line of defense in the secondary, especially when strong safety Troy Polamalu often roams all over the field.

"The only problem with me and him being in there at the same time is we're both risk-takers," Smith said. "Troy can take a few more [risks]. I take my shots. I have to be smart about it, though."

Asked if it's hard for him to curtail his style, Smith said, "It's not tough at all. You just can't make a big play every time. I try to make as many as I can."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07211/805508-66.stm

The Duke
07-30-2007, 02:52 AM
Seems like Parker will be given the chance for many third downs, he's really working hard, he's a tough guy too, can't wait to see him against the best defenses in the league with this new attitude he has.

SteelCityMan786
07-30-2007, 07:36 AM
Seems like Parker will be given the chance for many third downs, he's really working hard, he's a tough guy too, can't wait to see him against the best defenses in the league with this new attitude he has.

I'm not going to be surprised just from hearing what has went on with him.

83-Steelers-43
07-30-2007, 11:38 PM
Steelers Notebook: Reid, Holmes back on returns
Tuesday, July 31, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Willie Reid is back where he should have been last season, returning punts for the Steelers.

So, too, is Santonio Holmes, who did return punts last season.

One player who had trouble returning punts has been booted. Ricardo Colclough, whose dropped punt against the Cincinnati Bengals in the third game of the season led to the Steelers' downfall in that game and perhaps to their season, is no longer a candidate.

Colclough had been part of the handful of players returning punts during the incessant special teams practices through the first week of training camp. Once Holmes became healthy enough to practice, he bumped Colclough from the rotation.

But first up yesterday was Reid, whom the Steelers drafted in the third round last season in part because he was such a good return man at Florida State. His 15.4-yard punt return average set a school record, and he scored three times on punt returns in 2005.

Yet, he did not dress for the first three games of the season. It wasn't until after Colclough's costly fumble that Reid dressed for the fourth game to return punts. A foot injury in that game cost him the rest of the season.

He, too, thought he would return punts and kickoffs as a rookie from the start.

"Yeah, honestly I did. It wasn't my decision, it was the coaches' decision. They went with the best decision they thought was right at the time. So I have no hard feelings about it."

Reid's just happy to be doing it now.

"It feels real good to get my feet wet and do some nice things out there."

Holmes became the full-time punt returner after Reid's injury and averaged a healthy 10.2 yards on 26 returns and one touchdown.

Thin on the outside

Lawrence Timmons continues to prowl the sideline at Chuck Noll Field. He has had three full practices, counting spring and summer, since the Steelers made him the 15th overall pick in the draft.

He was injured in his first spring practice with the Steelers. He went through two full practices last Tuesday, their first. They had a special teams drill Wednesday morning followed by a full practice that afternoon, and he was injured Thursday.

It's a re-injury of his groin on what he termed "side to side movement, that's all." The Steelers also are eager to see what he can do. There's not much experience behind their two starting outside linebackers.

"We're still keeping it day to day but I'm feeling better," Timmons said. "Everything was positive."

With Timmons and now James Harrison (ribs) out for the second day, linebacker Clark Haggans moved again from the left side to the right. Rookie LaMarr Woodley ran with the first team at left outside linebacker. The move is an obvious way to get Woodley some more repetitions.

Timmons had some tests done to determine the extent of his injuries, but coach Mike Tomlin would not say what.

"I don't want to state it," he said. "I might mess the letters up."

'Nice guy' trims practice

The Steelers held two full practices yesterday, although Tomlin cut each scheduled two-hour practice by 20 minutes on a hot day in the Laurel Lowlands.

"I'm a nice guy," Tomlin explained. "These guys are working extremely hard. It's easy to subtract, tough to add. They've played with energy and enthusiasm and we want to throw them a bone every now and then."

If anyone thought the first week of Tomlin's first camp was tough, week two started yesterday.

"Week two, this is where it probably gets a little miserable," Tomlin said. "You get to know people under duress. Nobody feels great. It's getting hot, I like that; keep turning up the heat. We'll get to know them more, they'll get to know themselves more."

Roster shuffle

The Steelers shuffled their training camp roster for the first time yesterday.

They released first-year safety Harrison Smith and claimed linebacker Marquis Cooper off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks.

Cooper, a four-year veteran with 28 tackles in 30 games, signed with the Steelers Oct. 31, 2006, played in two games and was inactive for a third before being released Nov. 25. He played two seasons, 2004-05, with Tampa Bay, making a career-high 18 tackles in '05, and in four games last season with Seattle.

Smith signed with the Steelers as a free agent Jan. 12, 2007. He began his pro career with the Detroit Lions in '06 as an undrafted rookie free agent out of California, but was released before the regular season.

The Steelers also released rookie wide receiver Chris Jackson and re-signed first-year wide receiver Gerran Walker, who was released four days before training camp began. Jackson played at Millsaps, Walker at Lehigh.

Keisel scores again

The coaching staff promised they would put defensive end Brett Keisel's versatility on display, but no one thought it would be like this.

Keisel caught his second touchdown pass in two days. Yesterday's was a little different yet a little more conventional for his position -- he intercepted a Charlie Batch pass and returned it for what would have been a score in the morning. On Sunday, he lined up as a tight end in a goal-line practice and caught a touchdown pass.

The coaches want to move Keisel around more in their defense to take advantage of his abilities and to help confuse offenses.

His interception yesterday came in the dime defense where he lined up in a three-point stance with Haggans to his right. He engaged the guard, then stood up and dropped into pass coverage.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07212/805696-66.stm

83-Steelers-43
07-30-2007, 11:45 PM
Inside the ropes
By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Razzle dazzle:

Those who showed up on Monday afternoon were treated to a little gadgetry by the Steelers offense.

An 11-on-11 snap went directly to WR Hines Ward, who ran right and threw back to QB Ben Roethlisberger, who then threw deep downfield for WR Nate Washington.

Somewhere, former offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey was smiling.

Still clean:

Roethlisberger emerged from yesterday afternoon's practice still having not thrown an interception in 11-on-11 play in camp. There's been a drop or two, but so far zero INTs.

Two times two:

QB Brian St. Pierre directed a couple of touchdown-producing drives in his first opportunities to run the two-minute offense.

On the first, St. Pierre completed passes to Washington, WR Santonio Holmes, Washington again and WR Willie Reid before the march was finished off with a draw to RB Kevan Barlow.

On the second, St. Pierre overcame a drop by WR Dallas Baker before connecting twice with WR Walter Young, the second time in the back of the end zone.

Him again:

For a defensive end, Brett Keisel sure seems to be getting his hands on the football a lot of late.

On Sunday afternoon, Keisel lined up at tight end in a goal-line drill and caught a TD pass.

Yesterday morning, Keisel dropped into coverage and registered an interception.

Getting noticed:

DE Derrick Jones received a congratulatory slap on the helmet and enthusiastic shouts of "That's the way, Jones" from special teams coach Bob Ligashesky during a kickoff coverage drill. Ligashesky's reaction earned Jones polite applause from the grandstand.

Physical, but not physical:

CB Bryant McFadden made contact with WR Hines Ward and knocked the ball from Ward's grasp yesterday morning. No ill will between the DBs and WRs was detectable afterward.

Pick six:

LB Richard Koonce was down the sideline and off to the races after intercepting a sideline pass from QB Charlie Batch that had been intended for TE Matt Spaeth.

Role reversal?:

CB Ricardo Colclough, who has been getting a long look on punt returns, worked on punt coverage yesterday morning.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_519804.html

83-Steelers-43
07-31-2007, 12:05 AM
Physical, but not physical:

CB Bryant McFadden made contact with WR Hines Ward and knocked the ball from Ward's grasp yesterday morning. No ill will between the DBs and WRs was detectable afterward.

Wait, is that permitted?!?!?! How dare he. I'm sure afterwards the team gathered together and Tomlin held a therapy session.....

Tomlin: Tell us Hines. What were your feelings when McFadden made contact with you?

Hines: Well coach, it hurt my feelings. I felt as if he was trying to end my career. It really hurt. It just really, really hurt.

Tomlin: Bryant, what do you have to say about that?

McFadden: Well, first I just want to say that I'm sorry. Hines I did not mean to hurt your feelings. Just tell me how you feel from now on out.

Tomlin: OK, we made progress today. Tomorrow, Carter and Washington will express their feelings to the team. Oh, by the way, Anthony Smith, tomorrow you bring the aromatherapy candles and Keisel is bringing in some homemade cupcakes for all of us. What do we say to Brett?

Team: Thank you Brett!!

Tomlin: Hit the showers.

Casey Hampton: WTF?

fansince'76
07-31-2007, 12:09 AM
One player who had trouble returning punts has been booted. Ricardo Colclough, whose dropped punt against the Cincinnati Bengals in the third game of the season led to the Steelers' downfall in that game and perhaps to their season, is no longer a candidate.

Thank God!

Shea
07-31-2007, 12:53 AM
Wait, is that permitted?!?!?! How dare he. I'm sure afterwards the team gathered together and Tomlin held a therapy session.....

Tomlin: Tell us Hines. What were your feelings when McFadden made contact with you?

Hines: Well coach, it hurt my feelings. I felt as if he was trying to end my career. It really hurt. It just really, really hurt.

Tomlin: Bryant, what do you have to say about that?

McFadden: Well, first I just want to say that I'm sorry. Hines I did not mean to hurt your feelings. Just tell me how you feel from now on out.

Tomlin: OK, we made progress today. Tomorrow, Carter and Washington will express their feelings to the team. Oh, by the way, Anthony Smith, tomorrow you bring the aromatherapy candles and Keisel is bringing in some homemade cupcakes for all of us. What do we say to Brett?

Team: Thank you Brett!!

Tomlin: Hit the showers.

Casey Hampton: WTF?


Could you please lay off the Hines and Ben bashing? It's one thing coming from a fan from another team but coming from a Steeler fan is getting a bit old. No offense, but I don't think either deserves your continued harsh nitpicking and criticism of everything that they do.

83-Steelers-43
07-31-2007, 12:58 AM
Could you please lay off the Hines and Ben bashing? It's one thing coming from a fan from another team but coming from a Steeler fan is getting a bit old. No offense, but I don't think either deserves your continued harsh nitpicking and criticism of everything that they do.

It was a joke. Take a deep breath.

Shea
07-31-2007, 01:25 AM
Ok, I apologize for taking that one out of context.

I was also referring to all the other threads that I've come across during the months that I've been reading the forum. The comments about Hines and Ben didn't read as a joke to me. I actually enjoy reading your posts and enjoy the humor you bring to the board. Guess I just don't get some of it.

My breathing is fine and I hope I didn't offend you.

83-Steelers-43
07-31-2007, 01:26 AM
Ok, I apologize for taking that one out of context.

I was also referring to all the other threads that I've come across during the months that I've been reading the forum. The comments about Hines and Ben didn't read as a joke to me. I actually enjoy reading your posts and enjoy the humor you bring to the board. Guess I just don't get some of it.

My breathing is fine and I hope I didn't offend you.

Uh-huh. Have a nice day. :coffee:

Shea
07-31-2007, 01:28 AM
Yeah, you do the same.

lamberts-lost-tooth
08-01-2007, 04:53 AM
Steelers Notebook: Reed's kick gives team a break
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Perhaps Scott Norwood's 47-yard field goal try in Super Bowl XXV or Adam Vinatieri's two Super Bowl winners for the New England Patriots were more important.

Yet, as kicks go at training camp, few carried more pressure than the 42-yarder from the right hash Jeff Reed lined up yesterday at 4:28 p.m. in a broiling sun at Saint Vincent College.

The Steelers' first-team defense was on the other side. For some odd reason, fans jeered from the stands. And coach Mike Tomlin minutes earlier told the entire team that if Reed made the kick, practice would be over for the day; if he missed, it would go another 30 minutes with a physical 11-on-11 practice.

Ten days into their most grueling pro training camp with the Steelers, 30 minutes off was as welcome by players as a bye week.

"Coach Tomlin mentioned it to me and told me to keep my mouth shut and not tell anybody else," Reed said of a Monday night meeting with him. "Actually, it was worse that he did mention it because I thought about it all night last night and didn't want to let my team down."

He did not. The kick went through, and the Steelers celebrated their first small victory. Tomlin also had accomplished something, actually putting some pressure on his kicker and rewarding his players at the same time.

"I asked him to keep it to himself, just so he could sleep on it a little bit," Tomlin said. "He wore it well and he delivered for his teammates, and, really, that's what training camp's about. We're pitting these guys against each other, coming out and competing every day. I wanted to provide that same opportunity for Jeff."

Getting a rest

Tomlin has given some veterans a practice off here and there. Yesterday, Willie Parker, Travis Kirschke and Chris Hoke did not have to practice. Verron Haynes got the day off Monday.

"We're trying to take care of some guys," Tomlin said.

Rookie offensive lineman Darnell Stapleton missed practice, too, only his absence was because of injury (hyperextended knee). Tomlin said he may miss a few days.

Starting linebacker James Harrison (shoulder) and first-year linebacker Derek Rehage (thumb) also missed practice.


Tomlin tests rookie punter, too


Rookie punter Daniel Sepulveda watched in the afternoon as Mike Barr handled much of the punting. Sepulveda still feels the effects of a first-day punt count of 72 that Tomlin purposely had him do.

"I want to see what he can handle," Tomlin said. "He has to be a big guy for us, of course. You see what he's capable of out here on day-to-day basis, but we want to see him under adverse conditions and some of those are fatigue when he's leg-weary, and that's what football season is all about."


Walsh's legacy


The West Coast offense is not the only thing Bill Walsh left as his legacy. He also blazed a path for minority hiring in NFL coaching circles and in the front office.

That's the opinion of longtime Steelers scout Bill Nunn, who dug out some gems at small black colleges in the late 1960s and early 1970s that helped to fuel four Super Bowl victories in Pittsburgh.

"I feel he did a lot to open up minority hiring in the league when he got to San Francisco," Nunn said as he watched the Steelers practice at Saint Vincent College. "He opened a lot of doors early before it became popular."

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, there no Rooney Rule and there were precious few black men on NFL coaching staffs. Fewer worked in the front office. Walsh helped to change that, but never drew attention to what he did. He quietly hired Dr. Harry Edwards, a black sociology professor at Cal-Berkeley, to assist the 49ers in 1985. He also hired Dennis Green in 1978.


Kreider bucks trends


Dan Kreider's role likely will be reduced this year because there will be more use of one back in the Steelers' offense. But here's a fullback who quietly has made a good, long career after not being drafted. He also has avoided, so far, those dreaded physical ailments that always seem to cut down fullbacks too early.

Tim Lester, the first blocking back for Jerome Bettis, was forced out of the game because of shoulder problems. Jon Witman finally had to give it up because of back problems. Those are two telltale career hazards for a football player whose job description is running and slamming his body into others usually bigger than he is.

Kreider, 30, has been among the best blocking fullbacks in the AFC for a long time. He also has not shown signs of back/shoulder problems that dogged Lester and Witman.


Timmons sits, falls behind


Outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (groin) missed his fifth consecutive day of practice yesterday, and it is not known when he will return.

Even though Timmons has done a good job learning the playbook, his missed time on the practice field is "quite a setback," said linebackers coach Keith Butler.

"To play linebacker in this system, you don't get comfortable till the second or third year," Butler said. "He's a smart kid. He can sit there and tell me on the sideline what he's supposed to do, but when the bullets start flying we don't slow it down for him in a game.

"He's got to be able to quickly think about it."


Colclough fields some kicks


When the Steelers worked on kickoff returns yesterday morning, wide receiver Willie Reid and free-agent running back Gary Russell handled the first two returns. On the third, cornerback Ricardo Colclough -- the same player who muffed several kicks and punts last season -- handled the return.

xXTheSteelKingsXx
08-01-2007, 11:10 AM
Letting Coke return kicks again??? Do they not learn!

The Duke
08-01-2007, 12:10 PM
Rookie punter Daniel Sepulveda watched in the afternoon as Mike Barr handled much of the punting. Sepulveda still feels the effects of a first-day punt count of 72 that Tomlin purposely had him do.

"I want to see what he can handle," Tomlin said. "He has to be a big guy for us, of course. You see what he's capable of out here on day-to-day basis, but we want to see him under adverse conditions and some of those are fatigue when he's leg-weary, and that's what football season is all about."

Good idea by Tomlin, Sepulveda's got to be prepared for the worst times to play, hurt or not, we only have one punter on the team and he has to be in great under all conditions

HometownGal
08-01-2007, 01:10 PM
I am lovin' Coach Tomlin's overall approach with his team. :thumbsup: Works 'em hard and pushes them to and sometimes beyond their limits but rewards them for their efforts. :tt02:

83-Steelers-43
08-02-2007, 12:34 AM
Steelers Notebook: Roethlisberger gets break from the rigors of camp
Thursday, August 02, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Mike Tomlin eased off the pedal with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after he saw him throw for a week.

Yesterday, Roethlisberger threw less and his backups enjoyed more chances to play the position.

"We tried to unload Ben a little bit today, give the other guys some work so his arm doesn't get weary," Tomlin said.

He will do the same thing with backup Charlie Batch in practice today. Brian St. Pierre and Bryan Randall are the other two quarterbacks, and those two are likely to get the brunt of playing time Sunday night in Canton, Ohio.

"It's just part of the process of team building and getting these guys through," Tomlin said. "They trust us to challenge them and make this camp tough, like it should be. But at the same time they trust us to take care of them and that's what we're doing."

Tomlin has not said whether he wants to keep two or three quarterbacks. Under Bill Cowher, the Steelers sometimes kept two and sometimes three on the roster. When they had two, they usually kept another on their practice squad.

For the record, St. Pierre is no longer eligible to be on the practice squad, Randall is.

Injury update

Linebackers James Harrison (ribs) and rookie Lawrence Timmons (groin) did not practice again yesterday, but Tomlin reported their health as improving.

"James Harrison is getting better; we're being cautious with him but he's progressing."

Timmons will return "hopefully, very soon, and I'm sure he feels the same way. But we'll put one foot in front of the other and see where it goes."

LB Derek Rehage (thumb) and rookie OL Darnell Stapleton (knee) remained out.

Field dedication

One Hall of Famer will help honor another today when golfing great Arnold Palmer joins officials from the Steelers and Saint Vincent College to dedicate the school's new Chuck Noll Field tomorrow in a ceremony before practice.

Palmer, who grew up a short distance from Saint Vincent, will be on hand when the field officially is christened in honor of the Steelers' Hall of Fame coach. Steelers alumni also will be on hand as team president Art Rooney and Saint Vincent Archabbot Douglas Nowicki and President Jim Towey conduct the ceremony at 4:55 p.m.

A Steelers practice, open to the public, will follow at 5:30 p.m. on the new field.

The field, where the Steelers have practiced the past 41 summers, also will play host to the first Saint Vincent College intercollegiate football team since 1962 under head coach Bob Colbert.

Wardrobe warfare

Tomlin has worn black every day of training camp, but for the past two days he's at least in shorts and not the long pants he wore last week. He's still wearing long-sleeved black shirts, though, as temperatures hover around the 90s at Saint Vincent.

Finally, yesterday, he let on why.

"It's part of the mental warfare. I don't want guys coming up to me and talking about how hot it is because they know I don't care. And that's part of it. I hope it gets hotter."

Quick hits

There were four interceptions during an 11 on 11 morning practice. ... Tomlin praised the play of his offensive line: "I think they're coming together, they're becoming a cohesive group. It shows." ... And on Willie Reid and the fact he hardly played last season because of a foot injury: "I try not to have preconceived notions what guys are capable of. I like what I've seen of him."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07214/806274-66.stm

83-Steelers-43
08-02-2007, 12:42 AM
Inside the ropes
By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, August 2, 2007

The secondary shone in 11-on-11 play, making four interceptions during the morning session. That included a spectacular, leaping pick of a Brian St. Pierre pass by free agent Grant Mason (Michigan). Fittingly, the session ended with an interception by free agent cornerback Jovon Johnson (Iowa). This prompted much celebrating among the defensive backs.
"They say it's contagious," said cornerback Ike Taylor. "Hopefully, we can keep it going. ... It's hard for us to make plays, so when we do, we have to celebrate a little bit."

He's alive!: First-round draft pick Lawrence Timmons (groin) once again sat out practice, but he did do some pass-defense drills with team orthopedist Dr. James Bradley, who would hold out a ball and move it in the direction he wanted Timmons to go.

Safety first: Strong safety Troy Polamalu made the play of the day when he reached over Heath Miller's right shoulder and intercepted a Ben Roethlisberger pass. Miller dropped a pass from Charlie Batch earlier in the session.

Go, Willie, Go!: Second-year receiver Willie Reid continued to impress from the slot position. On one play, Reid hauled in a short pass over the middle from Batch and sped down the right sideline toward the end zone. On another, he burned Grant Mason, which prompted coach Mike Tomlin to yell, "Hey, Willie Reid, all right!"

Trickery: The kicking game got crazy late in the afternoon session. First, holder Daniel Sepulveda took a snap on a field-goal attempt, picked it up and raced around the right end. Later, the team lined up for a 52-yard field-goal attempt, and kicker Jeff Reed took a direct snap and pooch-punted. When Reed went to cover the kick, he was on a collision course with linebacker Clark Haggans and ducked out of bounds. Reed turned to reporters, laughed, and said, "He would have kicked my (butt)."

Nice haul: The receivers had their moments during 11-on-11 play in the morning session, particularly on a series of red-zone plays that started at the 15-yard line. Santonio Holmes made a leaping touchdown catch in front of Bryant McFadden, and Walter Young jumped high in front of Taylor and landed with both feet in-bounds in the back of the end zone. Later, in the middle of the field, Hines Ward made a one-handed catch in front of Taylor.

Legends of the game: Hall of Famers Joe Greene and Franco Harris watched part of the afternoon session together on the hill behind the bleachers at newly christened Chuck Noll Field.

Getting his kicks: Directional punting wasn't supposed to be rookie Daniel Sepulveda's strongsuit, but he put on an impressive display of it during the morning session. Sepulveda seemingly placed the ball wherever he wanted -- left sideline, right sideline, down the middle.

Warding them off: On a red-zone play in the afternoon session, the Steelers lined up with three tight ends, a wide receiver (Ward) and a running back (Najeh Davenport). QB Charlie Batch connected with Ward on a short touchdown pass.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_520245.html

Preacher
08-02-2007, 01:50 AM
There is SO much good in this...

but a couple of things I really DONT like...

Notice all the times it seems our DB's are getting burnt?

I also don't like our hopeful future star punter getting crushed on trick FG plays.

The Duke
08-02-2007, 01:56 AM
Notice all the times it seems our DB's are getting burnt?


I've been noticing that. But I'll wait until after the saints game to see if there is really a problem. Tomlin was one of the best DB coaches and should be able to work with them to make them better

xXTheSteelKingsXx
08-02-2007, 11:06 AM
Second-year receiver Willie Reid continued to impress from the slot position. On one play, Reid hauled in a short pass over the middle from Batch and sped down the right sideline toward the end zone. On another, he burned Grant Mason, which prompted coach Mike Tomlin to yell, "Hey, Willie Reid, all right!"

I really like what Reid is doing. I really didn't see him anywhere above 5 on our Wr depth chart but looks like he is playing with a chip on his shoulders.

The Duke
08-02-2007, 12:06 PM
I really like what Reid is doing. I really didn't see him anywhere above 5 on our Wr depth chart but looks like he is playing with a chip on his shoulders.

The thing I most like about him is he was on a serious injury last year, his rookie season, I know I was concerned and thinking he might never play and we may have wasted a pick, but now he's back and impressing, and taking big hits from anthony :smile:

SteelCityMan786
08-02-2007, 12:15 PM
There is SO much good in this...

but a couple of things I really DONT like...

Notice all the times it seems our DB's are getting burnt?

I also don't like our hopeful future star punter getting crushed on trick FG plays.

That's why you play 4(In our case 5) before you play 16.

fansince'76
08-02-2007, 01:08 PM
Notice all the times it seems our DB's are getting burnt?

I'm not too concerned about them getting "burned" in passing drills - if it starts happening in games, then I'll worry.

SteelCityMan786
08-03-2007, 12:30 PM
http://post-gazette.com/pg/07215/806640-66.stm

Steelers Notebook: Tomlin traveled I-35W bridge

Friday, August 03, 2007
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Coach Mike Tomlin said it scares him to think how many times he drove across the Interstate 35 West bridge in Minneapolis. Rookie Matt Spaeth was unnerved because the bridge is a link across the Mississippi River to the University of Minnesota campus where he played and just a couple blocks from where he lived.

And veteran safety Tyrone Carter said he has a fear of driving across bridges over water, like the I-35W bridge he would cross when he played at Minnesota and with the Minnesota Vikings.

However, none of them said they knew anybody who was on the bridge when it buckled and collapsed in rush-hour traffic Wednesday night.

"Everybody I know is really down south in Mankato at camp," said Tomlin, referring to the Vikings' summer training-camp site. "I never used that bridge going to work because we were in Eden Prairie, but the number of times I've gone across that in the last year I can't count."

Tomlin spent one season as the Vikings' defensive coordinator before coming to the Steelers. So he did not spend as much time in Minneapolis as Carter, who played three seasons with the Vikings after graduating from Minnesota; or even Spaeth, who grew up in St. Michael, Minn., less than a half-hour away, and spent five seasons, including a redshirt year, with the Gophers.

"Right there, where the bridge [collapsed], that's where all the current is in the water," Carter said. "It's like a dike right there. I saw the pictures last night and it looked devastating. That's tough, man."

Spaeth said he had come out of a team meeting when he heard about the bridge collapse and immediately turned on the television to see the horrific images. Then he phoned his family and some of his friends to make sure they were OK.

"After you see it on TV, the initial shock is kind of like awe, like how did this happen," Spaeth said. "Then you get like scared because you have a lot of friends and a lot of family back home.

"I made a lot of phone calls. I called my family, first and foremost, but we're a little ways away [in St. Michael]. I was more concerned about all my friends on campus because it's so close and the chances of them being there [on the bridge] are a lot greater."

Parker out

Running back Willie Parker had his left knee heavily bandaged with ice as he walked off the practice field yesterday morning and said he would not play in Sunday's Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. Parker said he did not know when he would return to practice, but indicated the injury was nothing serious.

Noll Field dedication

Chuck Noll Field -- the name for the new football home for Saint Vincent College -- was officially dedicated with an afternoon ceremony that featured Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, team president Art Rooney II, several former Steelers players and former running back coach Dick Hoak, who retired after the 2006 season.

The Rooneys were joined by Saint Vincent Archabbot Douglas Nowicki and president Jim Towey. The field was dedicated before the Steelers' evening practice.

Go through proper channels

After complaining he wasn't being thrown the ball enough, receiver Cedrick Wilson caught two passes in 11-on-11, one from Ben Roethlisberger and the other from No. 3 quarterback Brian St. Pierre.

"A wideout who's not upset about not getting the ball, I'm concerned about that," Tomlin said. "He's got to do a better job of expressing it to the right people. Go to somebody who can help solve the problem."

Getting better

The Steelers held another goal-line drill toward the end of practice and this time the offense won the best-of-seven drill, 4-3.

The decisive score came when St. Pierre threw a touchdown to Spaeth in the back of the end zone. St. Pierre also threw a touchdown to tight end Jon Dekker.

However, the drill lacked the passion and intensity of some of the goal-line drills during camp.

"The guys are getting better, getting crisper, but by no means are we a finished product," Tomlin said.

Quick hits

Rookie free-agent offensive line man Darnell Stapleton will have surgery today for a lateral meniscus tear in his knee and will be out a minimum three weeks. "We'll know more about the recovery after the procedure," Tomlin said. ... Outside linebacker James Harrison (ribs) and rookie outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (groin) remain out. Free agent linebacker Marcello Church (groin) also did not practice. ... Tomlin canceled today's morning practice. The team will practice at 2:55 p.m. in a session that's open to the public.

83-Steelers-43
08-04-2007, 08:42 AM
Steelers Notebook: Tomlin -- Be patient with Timmons
Saturday, August 04, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Don't give up on rookie linebacker Lawrence Timmons just because he always is hurt, Mike Tomlin says, because it's too early to tell what his rookie season will be like, not to mention his career.

Timmons, the Steelers' first-round draft choice from Florida State, will not play in the first preseason game against New Orleans tomorrow in Canton, Ohio. That's no surprise because he has not practiced since July 26, the third day of training camp drills when his groin was re-injured in the morning. This, after he missed all of the spring drills when his groin was injured on his first day on the field after the Steelers made him the NFL's 15th draft pick.

"We still have not played a preseason game," Tomlin cautioned. "We're five [preseason] games away from this thing. He has a lot of ground to make up; he has time to do it.

"But more than anything, the most important thing is getting him back out there healthy and playing. Until he does that, you really can't evaluate where he is in terms of moving ahead because it's a waste of time. We have to get him back out on the field."

Things are quite different for their second pick, linebacker LaMarr Woodley of Michigan. Woodley hasn't left the field, and may not tomorrow night, either. He will start at left outside linebacker because of a rib injury to James Harrison, who won't start and likely won't play. Clark Haggans moved from the left to the right to man Harrison's spot, which previously was filled by Joey Porter.

Three outside linebackers are hurt, and one of them, Derek Rehage, was released yesterday. Rehage came to camp with a broken thumb and never practiced. It means that others will carry the load, including Arnold Harrison and Rian Wallace.

"Maybe a little unsettling from a coach's standpoint because you don't want to run out of bodies in the preseason," Tomlin said, "but it does, on the bright side of things, create an opportunity for some men to show what they're capable of."

Parker out; Davenport to start

Tomlin officially scratched halfback Willie Parker, who did not practice for the fourth consecutive day because of swelling in his left knee.

'I think we'd be smart to protect him," Tomlin said.

Veteran Najeh Davenport will start and also play some on third downs.

"We want to see what Najeh can do in that area," Tomlin said.

Davenport is more brute strength than Fast Willie, two different styles that would require different perspectives in the play-calling.

The Steelers would "not adjust in terms of personality," Tomlin said of the difference in offense depending on the back. "Maybe adjust in terms of play selection, runs that they are most comfortable with. But that's just smart football."

Reid No. 1 returner

Previous coach Bill Cowher preferred to have two deep return men on kickoffs. Tomlin prefers one, and that will be Willie Reid tomorrow night.

"There's another guy back there, but you don't want him to get the ball," Tomlin said. "You just want him to lead the way."

The main man to fill that job at the moment is Davenport, and they wanted him returning kicks last season. He was one of their two deep men in 2006 and led the team with 21 kickoff returns for an average of 21.3 yards.

Reid also will be first up on punt returns.

Day off for Mahan

Center Sean Mahan was excused from practice yesterday for what Tomlin described as personal reasons. Mahan, competing to start with Chukky Okobi, has run with the second team since the start of training camp. He is expected to be ready for the game.

With Mahan out, starting right guard Kendall Simmons took his first snaps at center in training camp with the second team.

Quick hits

Those who have been practicing with the first team will start, and that could change for the second game at competitive positions. Among the starters: Ryan Clark at free safety, Chukky Okobi at center, Deshea Townsend at right cornerback. ... After Ben Roethlisberger makes a brief appearance at quarterback, Charlie Batch will follow, then Brian St. Pierre and then Bryan Randall. ... Regarding how much wide receiver Santonio Holmes will play, Tomlin said, "We'd like to give him a lot of work, but not at the expense of a potential health risk because of conditioning." Holmes started practicing Sunday. ... The Steelers released outside linebacker Marcello Church and signed outside linebacker Matt King. King played at Maine and had been on the roster of the New York Jets, who cut him.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07216/806893-66.stm

SteelCityMan786
08-04-2007, 12:43 PM
I'm not rushing Timmons in any shape or form. His groin has been a pain in the arse.

xXTheSteelKingsXx
08-04-2007, 02:47 PM
I'm not rushing Timmons in any shape or form. His groin has been a pain in the arse.

For sure. Groins are usually naging injuries and you just got to wait for them to heal up. But lets hope Timmons is a quick healer.

SteelCityMan786
08-04-2007, 02:57 PM
For sure. Groins are usually naging injuries and you just got to wait for them to heal up. But lets hope Timmons is a quick healer.

He should heal faster then some of his more veteran team mates.

83-Steelers-43
08-06-2007, 08:53 AM
Steelers Notebook: Players pushing LeBeau for Canton
Monday, August 06, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

CANTON, Ohio -- This is hallowed ground for those involved in Pro Football, where men are forever honored with bronze busts.

A number of Steelers players took it upon themselves to honor one of their own they believe should be given the sport's ultimate tribute. They wore replicas of Dick LeBeau's old No. 44 jersey from his playing days with the Detroit Lions on the bus trip to and from the game yesterday.

They wore them, they said, to bring attention to the fact that they believe strongly their defensive coordinator belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Among those who wore the jerseys were James Farrior, Casey Hampton, James Harrison, Larry Foote, Troy Polamalu, Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel and others.

LeBeau had 62 interceptions in 14 seasons as a cornerback, seventh-most in NFL history and third most when he retired. He still owns the NFL record for playing in 171 consecutive games at cornerback.

His 48 seasons in the NFL include 34 as a coach -- nine with the Steelers and three as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. LeBeau grew up in London, Ohio, near Columbus.

Local writer honored

John Clayton first started covering the Steelers for a daily newspaper at training camp in the summer of 1972, the year of the Immaculate Reception and shortly after he graduated from Churchill High School. He would send two stories a week to the St. Marys (Pa.) Daily Press.

Over the weekend, Clayton, long a reporter and writer for ESPN, had his name etched into a plaque at the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he accepted the Dick McCann Award, presented to him Friday night. The award comes from a vote of the Pro Football Writers Association for "distinguished writing." Clayton has been doing it for 35 years.

Clayton, a Braddock native and 1976 Duquesne University graduate, wrote for the Pittsburgh Press with the Steelers as his main focus from 1976 until 1986. He went to cover the Seattle Seahawks and the NFL for the Tacoma Tribune. He began working for ESPN part time in 1995 and full time in 1998.

Clayton joins a distinguished list of McCann Award winners, including another writer who covered the Steelers in the 1970s for the Post-Gazette, Vito Stellino.

Palko in running

Word inside the Saints is that undrafted rookie quarterback Tyler Palko likely will make it as their No. 3 quarterback. Palko, who played at Pitt and West Allegheny High School, would back up starter Drew Brees and Jamie Martin if he makes it.

Nice start

Rookie linebacker LaMarr Woodley started at left outside linebacker and played there the entire first half. He showed the kind of ability he possesses on a pass play on the New Orleans Saints' first series.

Woodley dropped into coverage from the left on third down and broke up a pass to a wide receiver on the right side of the defense 14 yards downfield.

No-shows

Backup linebacker Clint Kriewaldt did not dress for the game. He has a shoulder problem from practice and coach Mike Tomlin wanted to give him a rest. Center Sean Mahan, excused from practice Friday for a family emergency, did not attend the game.

Plenty of action

Because Mahan did not make the trip Chukky Okobi played the entire first half at center. Right guard Kendall Simmons and right tackle Max Starks also played all of the first half. Guard Alan Faneca and left tackle Marvel Smith played only one series.

Starks moved to left tackle to replace Smith and Willie Colon played right tackle, a move that is not exactly a ringing endorsement for Trai Essex. A No. 3 draft pick in 2005, Essex is normally the backup at left tackle. But Essex has played sparingly since his rookie season.

Bad hands department

Wide receiver Nate Washington, plagued by drops last season, dropped the first two passes thrown in his direction. The first proved to be Ben Roethlisberger's only incompletion on the opening series. The second came on a slant pass from Charlie Batch that Washington had a chance to cradle.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07218/807332-66.stm

The Duke
08-06-2007, 03:12 PM
I would love to see LeBeau in Canton, he deserves it

83-Steelers-43
08-08-2007, 08:20 AM
Steelers Notebook: Faneca, Foote out with injuries
Wednesday, August 08, 2007

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers were without two of their starters yesterday when they returned to training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, including Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca.

Faneca sustained "shoulder difficulties? in the opening preseason victory Sunday night against the New Orleans Saints, said coach Mike Tomlin, and was held out of practice for precautionary reasons.

Same with inside linebacker Larry Foote (sprained ankle).

Quarterback Brian St. Pierre also did not practice because of swelling in his right thumb. St. Pierre injured his throwing hand against the Saints.

"We're just being cautious with some of these guys," Tomlin said. "It's a long training camp."

Outside linebackers James Harrison (ribs) and Lawrence Timmons (groin), the team's first-round draft pick, remain out and continue to be listed day to day.

Timmons has been out nearly two weeks.

Woodley still learning

Timmons' absence has been eased by the play of another rookie outside linebacker, LaMarr Woodley, the team's second-round draft pick.

Woodley continues to work with the first-team defense at left outside linebacker while Clark Haggans replaces Harrison on the right side. And he impressed the coaches with a diving pass breakup against the Saints because those are the kinds of play he is not accustomed to making.

"I didn't do it that much [at Michigan]; I guess that's why I didn't catch it," said Woodley, a defensive end in college. "I knocked it down. That's what I'm used to doing. You get close to the ball, you try to knock it down. I had an opportunity to put the other hand around it, but I just didn't do it."

Saved by the rain

Tomlin has been shortening several afternoon practices because the team has an extra week of training camp and five preseason games.

But the practice yesterday -- the first since the victory against the Saints -- ended 35 minutes early for an unplanned reason: A rain and lightning storm that was preceded by whipping winds.

The players were off Monday, their first off day since reporting to training camp July 23. None of the veteran players had gone that long without an off day.

Under Bill Cowher, the players were given Saturday night and Sunday off during training camp. But, according to NFL Players Association rules, a coach is not required to give the players an off day until the team participates in a preseason game.

Shero's welcome

Penguins general manager Ray Shero visited training camp as a guest of director of football operations Kevin Colbert, a big hockey fan. Shero said he wanted to see how a camp with 85 players is conducted compared to camp with 45, which is the approximate number of players expected to participate in the Penguins' training camp that begins in early September.

But, at least, Shero doesn't have to worry about his center.

Quick hits

Running back Carey Davis, a first-year free agent, enhanced his bid to make the team with his performance against the Saints, rushing for 68 yards on seven carries with the aid of a 56-yard run in the second half. Davis has done it all in his first two weeks -- run, catch and block -- and the coaches like what they see. He will get more playing time against the Green Bay Packers Saturday night at Heinz Field.

It might not happen against the Packers, but the Steelers will break out their no-huddle offense soon in a preseason game. The Steelers also used it last season in the preseason, ironically against the Minnesota Vikings when Tomlin was their defensive coordinator.

Rookie cornerback William Gay, who had a big hit and interception against the Saints, wowed the training-camp crowd with a diving interception in an 11-on-11 drill.

The second-biggest cheer came when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger connected on a deep pass with wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who caught a touchdown pass against the Saints.

The Steelers will practice twice today. The 2:55 p.m. session is open to the public.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07220/807730-66.stm

83-Steelers-43
08-09-2007, 06:36 AM
Steelers Notebook: Timmons to get second opinion
Thursday, August 09, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers sent rookie linebacker Lawrence Timmons, their first-round draft choice, to a doctor in Philadelphia today to get a second opinion on his troubling groin injury.

Timmons, the team's first-round draft pick, has not practiced in two weeks since the groin was re-injured on the third day of training camp practices at Saint Vincent College. He also missed all the spring drills after the groin was first hit in his first practice after being the 15th player taken in the NFL draft.

"From what I understand, there's somewhat of a breakthrough there, but I'll have more information tomorrow and we'll see where we go with it," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We'll expect him back in town tomorrow. Whether or not he practices or to what degree he practices we'll see in the morning."

Parker, Faneca miss more time

Running back Willie Parker's injured left knee will keep him out a more extended time than first believed, and offensive guard Alan Faneca may be on the same timetable with a shoulder injury.

"It's just inflammation of the knee -- it usually takes 10-14 days," Tomlin said yesterday about Parker, who missed the first preseason game Sunday. "We're about 11 to 12 days into it now. So it's coming toward the end. We'll see where that is, but we'll continue to monitor that day to day."

Faneca left the game Sunday after the first series with a shoulder injury.

"Alan's in a similar situation with his shoulder," Tomlin said. "We're going to give him a few days, see if that thing calms down a little bit and take it day by day."

Two others, both starting linebackers, returned to practice: Larry Foote (sprained ankle) and James Harrison (ribs). Harrison did not go the whole way through practice, though, as planned, after missing a week.

"It's good to have him back," Tomlin said. "He fought through it, and we'll just continue to move forward and crawl him back in until he's at full strength."

Quick exits

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and center Chukky Okobi left practice two plays apart. Roethlisberger's foot was stepped on, and Okobi went down with what appeared to be a lower back injury. Tomlin said Roethlisberger should be OK.

As for Okobi, "He went down, a lot of pain and discomfort, but I don't think it's anything that will be long-term."

There's nothing new

Bruce Arians has been around the block a little, back to his days coaching the running backs for the late, great Bear Bryant.

So Arians laughed yesterday when someone mentioned to him that the new Steelers offense isn't all that new.

"There's not that much difference," Arians said. "Every offense in this league is pretty similar. It's just what you do on first and second down as far as creating mismatches."

Arians remembered an old Bryant story to illuminate his point.

"Coach Bryant told me one time, there's nothing new in this game," said Arians, who coached at Alabama in 1981 and 1982. "We had a wishbone team and we had a four-wideout-looking, single-wing thing that we came up with. And he said, 'General [Robert] Neyland ran that play back in '22, and this is the defense for it.' I looked at it and said, 'Coach, you think anybody remembers that?' He said, 'I doubt it, it'll probably be pretty good.'

"So there's nothing new, it's all recyclable."

That does not mean it can not be more effective. Arians never said he was scrapping the Steelers' offense. He added some things to the playbook and actually streamlined it from all the stuff the previous coordinators added to it through the years.

Two things he has added and likes are the use of three tight ends, particularly bunching them on one side of the line, and the use of four wide receives on first down with one back with the quarterback under center, not in the shotgun. Those are alignments he believes can help the Steelers create mismatches against defenses.

What you don't see

Things you see but don't see watching a football game:

Brian St. Pierre is sacked just before he cuts loose on what would likely have been a 74-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington Sunday night.

The sack occurs because Max Starks moved from right tackle to play left tackle, a position he has never played in an NFL game.

"Max's inexperience at left tackle showed up because on that play they went all-out blitz," Arians said, "and we had everybody blocked and he got beat inside because he just wasn't sure of the look. And we don't get to rep against this defense of ours that much or it would have been a huge play. It was just something to show, make people think about it."

And, for the record, the Steelers lined up with four wide receivers on that first down of the series.

Room for improvement

All five Steelers opponents in the preseason play the 4-3 defense, so Starks and the rest of them will get plenty of practice against it.

They plan to zone block more often this season, too. A zone block is just what it sounds like -- blocking in a zone, rather than a particular assignment on a man.

"And we weren't very good at it the other night," Arians said. "We don't get to practice against 4-3 penetrating tackles and ends, which is a real good test for us. Our angle blocking was real good, our zone blocking real average. It's an area we have to improve."

Mahan returns

Center Sean Mahan returned to practice after taking an excused leave of absence since Friday to attend to family matters. "Everything's fine now. I just had some personal stuff I had to take care of, and the Steelers were great about it and that's all taken care of," he said.

Mahan immediately was placed with the first team at center, a planned rotation with Okobi, who ran with the top unit the first two weeks of the season.

"It's good to get to work with those guys and get a feel for us working together to get a shot to show what I can do with the first team," Mahan said. "It's good to be in there."

Quick hits

Roethlisberger completed 7 of 8 passes on a 60-yard touchdown drive in the two-minute drill. His only incompletion was a spike to kill the clock. Backup Charlie Batch then completed 4 of 5. Each ended with a touchdown pass. ... Tomlin said Mahan will start at center and Willie Colon will start at right tackle Saturday against Green Bay. ... The Steelers released former West Virginia University quarterback Rasheed Marshall and signed center Donovan Raiola. Marshall was signed early this year as a receiver by the Steelers. Raiola was released last week by the St. Louis Rams. He is the brother of Dominic Raiola, Detroit's starting center.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07221/808116-66.stm

SteelCityMan786
08-09-2007, 08:39 AM
Good to see that Roethlisburger is doing well.

Okobi though, blah, that back seems to be worse then I was thinking.

steelpride12
08-09-2007, 09:44 AM
God this is scary i just hope everyone is healthy for the season geez!

alittlejazzbird
08-09-2007, 02:28 PM
Apparently Ben is "fine," (Brown has his days wrong, though - everything happened Wednesday, not today) assuming Coach Tomlin is telling the whole truth (...says alittlejazzbird as she breathes a HUGE sigh of relief):
************************************************** *
Steelers' Timmons gets second opinion on injury
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, August 9, 2007

Coach Mike Tomlin said the Steelers believe they have made a “breakthrough” in regard to the puzzling groin injury that has plagued first-round pick Lawrence Timmons.

Timmons got a second opinion on his groin problem Thursday in Philadelphia and arrived back in Pittsburgh late this morning.

The outside linebacker has missed the last two weeks of practice and won’t play Saturday against the visiting Green Bay Packers.

“Obviously he’s behind,” Tomlin said of Timmons. “But he’s a smart guy, a talented guy. He has a chance to make it up.”

Tomlin indicated that the Steelers will start easing Timmons back into practice and will see what he is able to handle.

Tomlin all but ruled out running back Willie Parker (knee) and guard Alan Faneca (shoulder) for the 7:30 p.m. game at Heinz Field.

The starters, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, will play about 12-15 snaps, Tomlin said.

Roethlisberger got his foot stepped on in practice Thursday but Tomlin said he is fine.

Chris Kemoeatu will start at left guard for Faneca while Willie Colon will start at right guard and Sean Mahan will start at center.

Colon and Mahan are locked in battles for starting positions and Tomlin said he wants to see them with the first-team offense.

Chukky Okobi, who is No. 1 on the depth chart at center, hurt his back in practice Thursday but he still may play Saturday. Max Starks, who is No. 1 on the depth chart at right tackle, will again play both tackle positions Saturday. Tomlin said he has not decided whether Ryan Clark or Anthony Smith will start at free safety or whether Deshea Townsend or Bryant McFadden will start at right cornerback.

Tomlin also hasn’t decided whether Clark Haggans or rookie LaMarr Woodley will start at left outside linebacker.

Haggans will play some at right outside linebacker with Timmons still out. James Harrison, who missed last Sunday’s game with a rib problem, is expected to start at right outside linebacker.

Tomlin said the Steelers will treat Saturday as a first exhibition game since they have an extra preseason contest this season. That is why the starters are expected to play as much as they did in last Sunday’s Hall of Fame game.

Bad weather will force the Steelers to go to the South Side this afternoon and practice at their indoor facility.

Thunder showers washed out the two-hour morning practice that had been scheduled. The Steelers will take buses to the South Side for practice and then ride back to St. Vincent College in Latrobe.

“I’m interested to see what this practice is like,” Tomlin said.

83-Steelers-43
08-09-2007, 11:03 PM
Steelers Notebook: Parker says knee is fine, practices
Friday, August 10, 2007

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pro Bowl running back Willie Parker practiced for the first time in nearly 10 days and said his knee is feeling fine, but he will not play in the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers tomorrow night and said he might not play next week in Washington, either.

Parker participated in light drills yesterday afternoon, his first work since coach Mike Tomlin surprisingly held him out of practice July 31. But Parker said he is in no hurry to get back on the field because he wants to be sure he does not aggravate the injury.

"I'm all right; I'm not concerned," Parker said. "I overworked [the knee] a little bit, went too hard in the offseason, and, when I got here, my body slowed down because I went so hard. I was overdoing it on the practice field and I needed some rest, some preseason time, to get better."

Tomlin said Parker will be replaced as the starter for the second consecutive game by Najeh Davenport. Neither Tomlin nor Parker has described the exact nature of the knee injury.

"I'm in no rush to play the next game, either," said Parker, referring to the Aug. 18 contest against the Redskins in Landover, Md. "I feel real good, but I'm not going to be stupid or re-aggravate it."

Faneca remains out, too

Tomlin said Parker and offensive left guard Alan Faneca (shoulder) are the only starters who will not play against the Packers in the preseason home opener at Heinz Field. He said all the other injured players are a possibility, which would include outside linebacker James Harrison (ribs), who practiced for the second day in a row, and center Chukky Okobi (back), who did not practice yesterday.

Faneca will be replaced at left guard by Chris Kemoeatu. Tomlin said Willie Colon will start at right tackle instead of Max Starks, who will be used mainly as a backup at left tackle against the Packers.

Tomlin said he has not decided if Deshea Townsend or Bryant McFadden will start at right cornerback or if Ryan Clark or Anthony Smith will start at free safety.

"Bryant McFadden is a young guy who's on the rise," Tomlin said. "He's got starter skills. When you've got three guys capable of being starting corners, that's a good problem, and I think we have that."

Making the best of it

Because heavy rains flooded the practice field and forced the Steelers to cancel their morning practice at Saint Vincent College, Tomlin decided to move the afternoon practice to the team's indoor training facility on the South Side.

But even that decision backfired a little.

Less than a half hour into practice, a vicious thunderstorm accompanied by high winds knocked out the power in the indoor facility and forced the players to stand around in darkness for nearly 15 minutes. The rain was whipping sideways so hard the doors at each end of the facility had to be closed.

"We have to be light on our feet," Tomlin said, referring to the decision to bus the players -- in full uniform -- to the South Side. "The way we deal with the unforeseen will define us a little bit."

Big Ben just fine

Despite having his foot stepped on in practice Wednesday, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he was fine and went through practice without a problem.

Tomlin said Roethlisberger and most of the other starters will play about as much as they did Sunday night in the Hall of Fame Game victory against the New Orleans Saints.

"We want to approach this thing the same way," Tomlin said. "This is our first preseason game of the official four, so we're taking the same approach that we really kind of took from that standpoint last week."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07222/808431-66.stm

Preacher
08-10-2007, 02:48 AM
Parker... SOunds good.. I like the fact that if there is an injury, it comes from the fact that he worked out too hard in the off season. He will find a good balance in the years to come. The body needs time to recoup.

Ben... Hey, if a car at 30 miles an hour cant stop him, a step on the foot won't stop him either.

Chucky... I get worried about "Back" injuries to him... cause the back is attached to the neck, and do you all remember the serious neck injury he had in camp last year? Yeah, just how high up on the back is this?

Faneca... I just remember something about not being able to play through injuries as much this year because of the contract situation. Is that what is happening? Probably not. However, when you whine and cry, people start doubting you.

83-Steelers-43
08-10-2007, 09:28 AM
Faneca... I just remember something about not being able to play through injuries as much this year because of the contract situation. Is that what is happening? Probably not. However, when you whine and cry, people start doubting you.

That's the first thing that came to my mind when I heard about Faneca's 'injury'. I'm sure it's a combination of not getting his contract and taking a few veteran days off during TC. I'm not doubting is shoulder is sore, but I have to wonder if he would be sitting out if it were 2003 or 2004? Eh, he will be ready by September 9 so I guess that's all that matters.

Also, excellent point on Okobi. I completely forgot about his neck injury last season. While it's hard for me to say the two are related, much like the Faneca situation it does make you wonder. I'm not exactly sure where on Okobi's back he is hurting, but like I said a few days ago, he was down for about five minutes on the field and now he has missed his second day of practice. Doesn't sound good. Back problems tend to linger outside of football, imagine playing center in the NFL with back problems? Ouch.

We could be seeing a good bit of Mahan this season. Hell, at five-years, $17 million with a $4 million signing bonus I would hope so.

Preacher
08-10-2007, 03:49 PM
That's the first thing that came to my mind when I heard about Faneca's 'injury'. I'm sure it's a combination of not getting his contract and taking a few veteran days off during TC. I'm not doubting is shoulder is sore, but I have to wonder if he would be sitting out if it were 2003 or 2004? Eh, he will be ready by September 9 so I guess that's all that matters.

Also, excellent point on Okobi. I completely forgot about his neck injury last season. While it's hard for me to say the two are related, much like the Faneca situation it does make you wonder. I'm not exactly sure where on Okobi's back he is hurting, but like I said a few days ago, he was down for about five minutes on the field and now he has missed his second day of practice. Doesn't sound good. Back problems tend to linger outside of football, imagine playing center in the NFL with back problems? Ouch.

We could be seeing a good bit of Mahan this season. Hell, at five-years, $17 million with a $4 million signing bonus I would hope so.

Yep..

and if it is at ALL serious... please, chukky, retire. not because i don't like you, but because I want you to be able to enjoy life without tremendous back/neck pain.

83-Steelers-43
08-14-2007, 08:23 AM
Steelers Notebook: Timmons returns, but is limited
No. 1 draft pick goes through light workout
Tuesday, August 14, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Lawrence Timmons was back on the practice field yesterday. That's one small step for the Steelers' top rookie, but no giant leaps -- Timmons was limited in what he was permitted to do.

"Today was a non-contact day, just taking it light, that's all," Timmons said.

The linebacker put on the uniform and pads, however, which was something he had not done since July 27, when his groin was re-injured in a morning practice.

Timmons refuses to believe he has been set back by the injury, either mentally or physically.

"I never heard that from any coaches. I go to meetings just like everybody else, so I don't feel any dropoff. I'm still rehabbing. Just being on the field is the only thing."

Timmons got an injection to help with the swelling last week. The Steelers said he visited a doctor in Philadelphia for the treatment. Yesterday, they amended that to say it was a visit to Duke University in North Carolina after Timmons said he never made a trip to Philadelphia.

Coach Mike Tomlin said it was good to see Timmons back, even in a limited way.

"It's time to start marching back. We'll look at it day to day. I think the biggest thing is what he's capable of doing mentally and where he is from a conditioning standpoint. That's going to dictate how quickly he comes back."

Some special messages

Tomlin sent a few messages to his special teams. First, he signed a second long-snapper to compete with Greg Warren, then he added a live place-kicking protection drill to afternoon practice.

The drill lasted 12 plays, and there were no blocks, unlike Saturday night when Jeff Reed's extra-point attempt was blocked. Green Bay's Michael Montgomery bolted between Warren and right guard Chris Kemoeatu to block the kick. Warren, the team's long snapper the past two seasons, discovered competition for his job when he took the field yesterday.

The Steelers released rookie linebacker Matt King and re-signed rookie long snapper Jared Retkofsky. Retkofsky was released by the Steelers four days before training camp opened. Warren had been the only long snapper in training camp until Retkofsky was re-signed.

"We just wanted to get some competition in here," Tomlin said. "We're excited about taking a look at him to see where he is."

Tomlin refused to specifically blame Warren for the blocked kick, but the intent became obvious.

Retkofsky (6 feet 5, 260 pounds) played at TCU, where he was a reserve defensive lineman and the team's long snapper.

Tomlin called the kick protection a glaring weakness and said that is why he called for the extra practice time.

"The only way we're going to make it disappear is if we make it disappear, so we came out today with the attitude that that was going to be the period today. We were going to address that issue. It's not a short-term issue."

Injury updates

Offensive left tackle Marvel Smith "had some tightening in his back," Tomlin said. "We gave him a day off and protected him from that standpoint.

"Chris Hoke has a knee injury, not significant, thankfully. The MRI came back negative, but he's going to need some time. We'll see where he is later in the week. Chukky Okobi has got a rib injury similar to what [outside linebacker] James Harrison had. We'll continue to monitor him, see where he is later in the week. Maybe he can play; maybe he can't. Jerame Tuman has some discomfort in his back. We'll see where he is in the morning."

Offensive guard Alan Faneca (shoulder) returned after not practicing last week and missing the game Saturday night. Harrison (ribs) returned to practice. Running back Willie Parker (knee), held out of his second game, practiced.

Rookie defensive lineman Derrick Jones (calf) did not practice.

Position battles

Ryan Clark, who gave way to Anthony Smith as the starter Saturday night, was back with the first team at free safety in practice.

Willie Colon continued to run with the first team at right offensive tackle. Max Starks played left tackle with Marvel Smith out.

Cornerback Deshea Townsend continued to run with the first-team defense ahead of Bryant McFadden, and offensive right guard Kendall Simmons stayed ahead of Chris Kemoeatu.

With Harrison back practicing with the first team at right outside linebacker, Clark Haggans moved back to the left side and rookie LaMarr Woodley ran behind Haggans.

Quote to note

Hines Ward, on trash-talking in the NFL: "Trash-talking is just trying to get into somebody's mind mentally and try to take them out of their game."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07226/809275-66.stm

83-Steelers-43
08-15-2007, 07:52 AM
Steelers Notebook: Parker will play against Redskins
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pro Bowl running back Willie Parker has his fifth gear back and will play for the first time Saturday night when the Steelers face the Washington Redskins in a preseason game in Landover, Md.

Parker missed 10 days of practice and did not play in the first two preseason games because of a strained muscle in the back of his left knee. He said last week he wanted to play against the Redskins but didn't think the coaching staff would use him.

But coach Mike Tomlin said yesterday Parker will play with the rest of the starters, who are expected to get about 20 snaps against the Redskins.

"I think I'm ready now," Parker said after going through a full afternoon practice. "I'm 100 percent. It's the other things I need to work on, like the plays. I'm trying to get that back in my memory bank."

Parker's injury prevented him from accelerating.

"Right now, he looks pretty good," Tomlin said. "He tells us he has that fifth gear back. You know how those high-performance athletes are. He's feeling like he's got the fifth."

Big Ben OK

The Steelers received a brief scare near the end of their afternoon practice when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger injured his throwing hand on a helmet.

But Roethlisberger was pronounced fine after an examination by team doctors in the locker room and is scheduled to practice today.

The injury occurred when he followed through on a pass and hit his right hand on a helmet during 11-on-11 drills.

Injury update

Safety Anthony Smith sustained an abdominal-related injury during practice and sat out the rest of the afternoon session.

Tomlin said he didn't think the injury was serious, but he said it was too soon to speculate. Asked if Smith would miss the game against the Redskins, Tomlin said, "I would hope that he wouldn't, but I'm not a doctor."

Left tackle Marvel Smith (back), center Chukky Okobi (ribs) and nose tackle Chris Hoke (knee) did not practice. Tight end Jerame Tuman (back) returned to practice.

Outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (groin), the team's No. 1 pick, continued to do light workouts in uniform, but has not participated in any contact drills.

"Probably not as quickly as he or I would like," Tomlin said, when asked when Timmons will resume full practice, "But we're dealing with it."

Quick hits

Wide receiver Nate Washington made a nice leaping catch in the end zone of a pass by No. 3 quarterback Brian St. Pierre.

Outside linebacker James Harrison and running back Verron Haynes staged the best battle in the 1-on-1 blocking drill pitting running backs against linebackers. Harrison twice bowled over Haynes in a simulated blitz, but Haynes got his revenge when he stuffed Harrison another time.

Today's 2:55 p.m. practice is the next-to-last session that is open to the public before camp ends Friday morning.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07227/809478-66.stm

xXTheSteelKingsXx
08-15-2007, 11:21 AM
Hope that Anthony Smith's injury isnt gonna force him to miss too much.

83-Steelers-43
08-16-2007, 03:04 AM
Steelers Notebook: Tomlin revamps starting lineup
Thursday, August 16, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Mike Tomlin made two more moves this week to his starting lineup, although he said he's far from declaring winners in either competition.

Bryant McFadden replaced veteran incumbent Deshea Townsend at right cornerback, and wide receiver Santonio Holmes, for the first time this summer, moved ahead of Cedrick Wilson at split end.

"We're still shopping, if you will," Tomlin said. "We want to see what guys do when they get an opportunity to play their game in there with the first group. It's part of the evaluation process."

It's likely McFadden and Holmes will start Saturday night against the Redskins.

More updates

Other updates from the only practice held yesterday, in the afternoon:

Rookie Lawrence Timmons ran with the second team at right outside linebacker, the first time he has done such drills since his groin was reinjured July 27. And ahead of him, James Harrison went through a full practice.

"Lawrence Timmons took more reps today," Tomlin said. "We'll take a look at that tape and see where he is and decide where we go from that. James Harrison appears to be 100 percent, he's out here getting after folks."

Backup running back Najeh Davenport was removed from practice about one-third of the way through because of discomfort in a foot.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was given a scheduled light day with little throwing, the same as last week. Tomlin said he'll probably do the same for backup Charlie Batch today.

With starter Marvel Smith still out, Max Starks continued to run with the first offense at left tackle.

"We're experimenting there with him as a possibility of being a left tackle," Tomlin said. "Whether he succeeds or fails -- of course based on his play -- he's primarily a right tackle. We just take a look at some options. Position flexibility is a big part of what we do."

Trai Essex ran at left tackle with the second team.

Safety Anthony Smith (abdomen) remained out of practice, as did Chukky Okobi (ribs), although he did some light snapping in 7 on 7. Nose tackle Chris Hoke (knee) and defensive lineman Derrick Jones (knee) also remained out.

Movie with a twist

Yesterday was movie day at training camp, but nothing like in previous years. Tomlin gave the players the morning off -- there was a 90-minute practice scheduled -- and he set up times with a theatre to see a movie.

The players had an option. They could go to the movie, sleep in, or do whatever else they wanted.

"I think most guys stayed in their room and slept," defensive end Brett Keisel said.

They had a handful of movie choices, including "The Bourne Ultimatum," "Rush Hour 3" and "The Simpsons Movie."

Tomlin did not attend.

"I have too much work to do. I don't have time to go to the movies. I guess going to the movies is tradition around here. I'm not too much into tradition," he said

Former coach Bill Cowher had a routine at training camp in which he would act like a regular morning practice were going to be held and once the players were on the field and stretching, he would announce it was movie day. He even made his coordinators spend the hour or so it takes to work out a practice plan the night before and not tell them about it.

Tomlin let everybody know there would be no practice and they could sleep in, go to the movies or hit some golf balls.

Breaking camp

It all ends for the Steelers tomorrow at Saint Vincent College, but their last real practice takes place this afternoon from 2:55 to 5 p.m.

After tomorrow, when they pack and leave for good, no more curfews or bed checks except for the night before a game.

"Just to get back into the regular routine, get back to see my wife every day, being at home and get ready for the grind of the season," Keisel said of why he's happy to see camp end. "It's nice because we're starting to see that this thing is coming to an end, so I think everyone's excited to get back home."

Interesting debate

It's an argument that never will be settled but a heated one nevertheless: How many yards would Willie Parker gain against the Steelers' defense in a game.

The only way to find out would be to trade Parker or hold a full-fledged scrimmage. Neither will happen.

"We were talking about that the other day," Keisel said. "He said he could easily get 100 yards on us. We got into a bit of an argument with it. But Willie's a great player and a Pro Bowl player and we're lucky to have him on our side."

Stop patronizing, Keisel; how many yards would he get?

"Would he get 100 against us?" Keisel said, repeating the question. "Not even close. He wouldn't get close. He would get maybe 15 -- on 15 carries."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07228/809886-66.stm

83-Steelers-43
08-16-2007, 03:13 AM
Notebook: Steelers' Tomlin continues team tradition
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, August 16, 2007

• The Steelers continued a training camp tradition Wednesday when coach Mike Tomlin canceled the morning practice and gave the players movie passes. Players had a choice of a seeing "The Bourne Ultimatum," "The Simpsons," "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" and "Rush Hour 3." The players also had the option of using the down time any way they wanted. Linebackers Larry Foote and Clark Haggans, a noted movie buff, hit the weights. And others? "I think most guys stayed in their room and slept," said defensive end Brett Keisel, who went to see "The Bourne Ultimatum." Hines Ward took advantage of the movie passes to check out "Rush Hour 3" (the wide receiver gave it two thumbs up). As for Tomlin, he didn't take the morning off. "I've got too much work to do," he said.

• The Steelers haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher since November 2005. Willie Parker had five 100-yard games in 2006 and twice eclipsed 200 yards in a game. So, what would happen if Parker ran against his own defense? "We were talking about that the other day, and he said he could easily get 100 yards on us," Keisel said. "We got into a bit of an argument about it." It was a friendly argument as Keisel said he is a big fan of Parker. That's not to say he thinks Parker would find running room against the Steelers' first-team defense. "Would he get 100 on us? Not even close," Keisel said. "He would get maybe 15 (yards) on 15 carries."

• Running back Najeh Davenport didn't practice Wednesday because of a minor foot problem. Coach Mike Tomlin said he will be re-evaluated by team doctors today. Free safety Anthony Smith (abdomen), offensive tackle Marvel Smith (back) and nose tackle Chris Hoke (knee) missed practice. Center Chukky Okobi (ribs) didn't dress in full pads, but he did participate in a seven-on-seven drill. Tomlin said he hasn't ruled out anyone from playing in Saturday night's game against the Washington Redskins.

• Lawrence Timmons did more at practice yesterday, and the first-round pick could see his first action of the preseason Saturday.

• Madden NFL '08 just hit the stores, and the popular video game already has been put to use at St. Vincent College. As of yesterday, the Steelers were already into the quarterfinals of a tournament. Hines Ward, who is in the quarterfinals, said cornerback Bryant McFadden is the defending champion. "Everybody's playing with the Steelers; it's kind of hard," Ward said when asked to predict a winner. "You know if you're playing against me, I'm catching 20 balls every time. I think seeing yourself on a video game, that's the greatest thing in the world." Ward said the players get more out of playing Madden '08 than just an ego boost. "It's a great time to have that camaraderie," Ward said. "That's what camp is all about, a team coming closer together."

Digits

9 -- Rushing touchdowns the Steelers allowed in 2006

13 -- Rushing touchdowns Parker had in 2006

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_522386.html

The Duke
08-16-2007, 03:36 PM
Bryant and Holmes are starting, now we only need Anthony and we're ready for a run at the super bowl

xXTheSteelKingsXx
08-16-2007, 08:04 PM
Finally we get to see Timmons in action.

83-Steelers-43
08-17-2007, 07:30 AM
Steelers Notebook: More playing time for first team
Friday, August 17, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The first teams will play longer tomorrow night in Washington against the Redskins, a normal progression as the Steelers go deeper into the preseason.

"Tentatively we're going to play our first groups a lot longer than what we've done at this point," coach Mike Tomlin said. "But, like always, we're going to be prepared to play it by ear. But it's our intention to play guys more in this game."

Halfback Willie Parker and outside linebacker James Harrison will play for the first time this summer after shaking off minor injuries.

Tomlin still has many decisions to make, from picking starters to choosing backups.

Yesterday, perhaps, a few of those decisions became clearer. For one, Deshea Townsend returned to the first team at right cornerback, after Bryant McFadden spent a couple of practices there while Townsend played safety.

Also, Willie Colon continued to run as the first-team right tackle while Trai Essex ran with the first team at left tackle. Starting left tackle Marvel Smith has a back injury; he dressed but was limited in practice.

Tomlin yesterday gave some insight on some of the decisions facing him:

"When it comes down to those last three or four guys, position is not a factor," he said of his 53-man roster. "It's team guys, guys that make your football team better. Whether that makes it five wideouts or six wideouts, or five backs or six backs, you've got to be willing to step outside the box and look at what makes your team strong. We will do that. We have a general idea about numbers, but we're not married to it by any stretch."

On McFadden: "I think that he's had a solid camp, whether we run him with the first group or the second group. He's just continuing to grow. He's a young guy who has some talent, has made some plays for this football team. It's not like he's green."

On his plans for rookie running back Gary Russell, who leads the team in rushing with 97 yards on 17 carries after two games: "He's kind of shown what he's capable of from a ball-carrier's standpoint. We want to see if he can show what he's capable of in some other areas -- pass protection and so forth, see if he can participate in the passing game a little bit. He's a sharp, young guy, a competitor, but the job description is you have to be a complete back. We want to see what he can do when the ball is not his hands."

On Essex, who will get a shot to be the swing man as a backup tackle and guard: "He's a developing player. And really, he's at this point in his career where he needs to be a developing player. And we've had frank discussions about that, he and I, and I think he's answering the call."

On Marvin Philip, who is behind Sean Mahan and Chukky Okobi at center: "Marvin has done some good things. Marvin has got to do a little better from an assignment standpoint. ... He's got to play at a higher level from that standpoint if he wants to get into that conversation with the other two."

On wide receiver Walter Young's chances of making it in his fourth training camp with the Steelers: "He's on the brink, as are a lot of other guys. That's a good problem to have. You love the competition. You love guys that are fighting, particularly a guy like him who has been close a couple of times, played a little ball in this league and is looking for a breakthrough.

"I was joking with Carey Davis this morning. He said this is his fourth training camp. You've got to have respect for men who've been denied multiple times and they still come back. They still have that fire in their eye trying to get it done. I like those guys. You root for those guys from a humanistic standpoint. But the reality is that we have to keep the best 53. But Walter is on the brink."

On wide receiver Nate Washington and his dropped passes: "I think that's a to-be-continued answer to that. I like the way he comes to work. He's got to do better from a concentration standpoint. He understands that. He's a very capable guy, a talented guy. But time will tell. His cumulative body of work will tell how he responds to that. That's a small bump in the road. The guy dropped two footballs in the first preseason game. I hope he's not losing sleep over that. If he is, then we probably have got a problem. But he doesn't lack confidence, no."

On Brian St. Pierre and whether he will keep three quarterbacks: "Brian has done some good things. Some teams keep two quarterbacks, some keep three. It really boils down to that same discussion we were just having and what you feel makes your team strong. We're monitoring that, of course. We're considering all of the options. Personally, what Brian has done to this point has not been disappointing. I think he's done some good things."

Anthony Smith (abdomen) did not practice and Ryan Clark continued to run at free safety with the first team and probably will start against his old team, the Redskins, tomorrow. Clark may well be holding off Smith's attempt to unseat him.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07229/810203-66.stm

83-Steelers-43
08-17-2007, 07:40 AM
Steelers' Hoke to sit out Redskins game
By John Grupp
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, August 17, 2007

Backup nose tackle Chris Hoke (knee) will not play Saturday against Washington, coach Mike Tomlin said during Thursday's weekly pregame news conference. Tomlin added tackle Marvel Smith (back) and safety Anthony Smith (abdomen) could play. Center Chukky Okobi (ribs) said yesterday he would be out on Saturday, then return for next week's home game against the Eagles.

• The Steelers played their traditional slow-pitch softball game on the St. Vincent baseball field following the last day of training camp. Some of the highlights included Najeh Davenport launching a prodigious blast that barely curved foul down the left-field line - and then striking out on an Ike Taylor riser on the next pitch; Hines Ward tripling to right and making some nifty defensive plays in the infield; and Ben Roethlisberger hitting a sacrifice fly that didn't leave the infield.

• Tomlin grew up in Virginia and attended William & Mary, but it's not any sort of a homecoming when the Steelers play the Redskins tomorrow. Tomlin's brother is handling the double-figure ticket requests from family and friends.

"In terms of playing the Redskins, it's just an opponent to me," Tomlin said.

• Brian St. Pierre is ineligible for the practice squad because he is credited with two or more NFL seasons. So the Steelers will have to either keep him as a third quarterback or cut him. "We are monitoring that and considering all the options," Tomlin said.

Digits

9 - Tackles recorded by Washington rookie linebacker H.B. Blades, a Pitt product, in last week's

14-6 win over the Tennessee Titans.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_522598.html

83-Steelers-43
08-17-2007, 11:05 PM
Steelers Notebook: Essex on spot at LT; Willie Parker back in lineup
Saturday, August 18, 2007

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers used the first two preseason games to see if right tackle Max Starks could play well enough at left tackle to serve as a backup for Marvel Smith.

That experiment did not go so well -- Starks allowed three sacks in the first two games at left tackle -- so the Steelers will try another player at that position when they play the Washington Redskins tonight in Landover, Md.

Trai Essex will return to his former position and play most of the game at left tackle against the Redskins. Essex will start if Smith (back spasms) cannot play.

Starks will back up Willie Colon, who will start his second game in a row, at right tackle.

"This is a big opportunity for him," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said of Essex, a third-round pick in 2005.

Essex has been the backup at left tackle the past two seasons, but he was moved to left guard in training camp when Starks, who has started at right tackle the past two seasons, got time at left tackle.

But after Starks allowed the three sacks, Essex is getting an opportunity to reclaim his former position.

"I treat every snap as an opportunity to be evaluated," Essex said. "All you have in this league is what you have on tape, and I'm just trying to put some good tape up there."

Apparently, that has not happened enough his first two years with the Steelers, prompting the experiment with Starks.

"He's done an admirable job," coach Mike Tomlin said. "I really think that he's gotten better, consistently better. I think he's improving technically."

Essex (6 feet 4, 324 pounds) admitted he didn't know what to make of the switch when Starks was moved ahead of him at left tackle. But he agrees with Tomlin's assessment that it's time for him to develop.

"This is my third year, so I should have a good grip on how the game is and how it should be played and what they expect of me as a high draft pick," he said.

"I'm ready to step it up. This has been my best camp, I thought, since I've been here. I felt good. Anywhere they put me I'm ready to play."

Fast Willie returns

Running back Willie Parker has not played in the preseason because of a strained muscle behind his left knee. But that inactivity will end when he starts against the Redskins.

"We have to get Willie Parker going," Tomlin said.

The Steelers are set with their top two backs -- Parker and Najeh Davenport -- and, as of now, it appears first-year free agent Carey Davis and rookie Gary Russell will make the team.

That probably leaves one spot for four players -- Dan Kreider, Verron Haynes, Kevan Barlow and John Kuhn -- though it is possible Tomlin could keep an additional running back.

Center of no attention

Sean Mahan, the team's only significant free-agent signing in the offseason, will start his second game in a row at center. Mahan is battling veteran Chukky Okobi to be the replacement for retired Jeff Hartings, a two-time All-Pro, and would appear to have the edge.

The squeaky wheel

Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, who complained two weeks ago he was being ignored in the passing game, said he wasn't being selfish. He said he just wanted to be sure he was getting some opportunities to show his new coach, Tomlin, what he could do.

Wilson leads the team with four catches for 99 yards and also has returned four punts for a team-best 13.8-yard average.

"I just don't want to be forgotten about," Wilson said.

"It's tough when you have a new coach coming in and you finished the [previous] season as a rotating receiver. You don't know what's been told to him and how he feels about you.

"But I tell you what, I have proved myself on the practice field and I've proved myself in games. Those are the things I have to continue to do."

Goodbye, Latrobe

The Steelers held a light walk-through practice yesterday morning at Saint Vincent College on what was the final official day of training camp.

The team will resume its preseason practices Monday at its South Side facility. Tomlin wants to treat the week like a regular-season week because the Steelers do not play again until Sunday.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07230/810434-66.stm

83-Steelers-43
08-18-2007, 02:03 AM
From what I saw from Essex, he's beefed up big time (not in a good way). It seems his problems are more Duce Starks than they are mental. Your hearing the praise when it comes to Colon, but Essex's name is never brought up when it comes to positional battles. You just don't hear his name.

Hell, I liked what I saw out of Capizzi over Essex. Better leverage and better feet. While I do not see Capizzi making the team this year, he could possibly put up a good fight next season.

83-Steelers-43
08-19-2007, 09:43 AM
Steelers Notebook: Randle El hoping to get his number called a lot more
Sunday, August 19, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

LANDOVER, Md. -- Antwaan Randle El was supposed to flourish in the Washington Redskins' offense when he joined the team as a free agent last year.

Instead, his numbers slipped from his previous season with the Steelers. He caught 32 passes for 331 yards (11.0 average) and three touchdowns with Washington. The previous season he caught 35 for 558 (15.9) and one touchdown.

Those numbers aren't what the Redskins expected when they signed Randle El for $27 million over six seasons. Neither was it what Randle El imagined.

"Last year wasn't what I expected," Randle El told the Washington Times. "You didn't get the full gist of what I can do and what we can be as a wide receiving corps overall. What are we doing to contribute to this offense? Last year, neither Brandon [Lloyd] or I felt we got to that point. Certainly, we want to do that this year."

The Redskins were 5-11 last season and their passing offense ranked 21st in the NFL. Their quarterback play was terrible and that may have had something to do with it, as it could have affected Randle El's statistics.

Randle El caught one pass in the Redskins' first preseason game for 20 yards. His thigh was strained in that game, but he practiced last week and was ready to play last night against his former teammates. He caught his first pass against the Steelers in the second quarter last night, for 7 yards.

"It's kind of good that I'm not playing [special] teams because they know me so well that I would have to break all the things I do returning punts. Of course, I would be able to tell our guys how to block them, too."

Randle El said he maintains a warm feeling for the Steelers.

"You develop relationships that you never forget, especially with us winning the Super Bowl, and the way we won it, my last year in Pittsburgh. That brought us close together. You can't substitute for that."

Randle El did not return punts last night, but will during the season.

"If the game was in Pittsburgh, I would probably go back on punt returns just to see the reaction of the crowd. It would be great to play at Heinz Field."

Money for nothing

The Redskins are one of the most profitable franchises in the NFL, but they've won nothing under Daniel Snyder's ownership. He keeps pouring money into coaches and players -- mostly the wrong ones -- and gets nothing for it.

Yet Sports Illustrated ranked him higher than Dan Rooney among the NFL's best owners.

Under those specifications, Enron might rank ahead of General Electric among the best corporations in U.S. history.

Maxed out?

Could Max Starks lose not only his starting job but his roster spot as well? Probably not, but there's a chance Starks won't dress for games if it's determined that Trai Essex can handle the backup role at left tackle.

Essex also has practiced at guard. So, game days could look like this: Marvel Smith, Alan Faneca, Sean Mahan, Kendall Simmons and Willie Colon as the starters. The two backups: Essex (covering tackle and guard) and Chukky Okobi (covering center) or Chris Kemoeatu (covering guard with Simmons moving to center if something happened to Mahan).

It looks right now as if Starks either will keep his job at right tackle or not dress for games.

Injury report

Essex started at left tackle last night because Marvel Smith, who has a minor back injury, did not dress.

Five other Steelers were not in uniform because of their injuries: tight end Jerame Tuman (lower back), safety Anthony Smith (abdomen), center Okobi (back), nose tackle Chris Hoke (knee) and offensive lineman Darnell Stapleton (knee).

The Steelers alternated Starks and Colon at right tackle in the first half with the first team, and also alternated Simmons and Kemoeatu at right guard.

One in the sack

Rookie LaMarr Woodley recorded his first preseason sack to end the Redskins' first drive of the night. He and fellow rookie linebacker Lawrence Timmons got into a game together for the first time on one play in that first series of the game. Timmons lined up to the right of right outside linebacker James Harrison.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07231/810694-66.stm

83-Steelers-43
08-19-2007, 10:35 AM
Yet Sports Illustrated ranked him higher than Dan Rooney among the NFL's best owners.

Under those specifications, Enron might rank ahead of General Electric among the best corporations in U.S. history.

Minus watching Essex fall over like a redwood tree last night, that has to be one of the funniest things I've seen over the last two days....:toofunny:

Just another reason why I prefer that wicked and evil local media over the likes of ESPN and SI.