View Full Version : Inside the ropes

07-30-2007, 03:40 AM
Inside the ropes
By John Harris
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."

07-30-2007, 12:09 PM
Glad to hear that Parker has improved his pass blocking. I really want to see him on the field in third and long.

08-05-2007, 12:36 AM
I really love the intensity. I love the fact that our DB's are getting attitude. I love the fact that our WR and RB's are getting attitude.

I can't wait!