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Galax Steeler
05-08-2009, 05:02 AM
Inside Slant

Lawrence Timmons(notes) will move into the starting “Mack” inside linebacker job held capably by Larry Foote(notes) the past five years. He’s the only first-round draft choice since 1996 who did not become a regular starter within his first two NFL seasons.

Can he handle the job?

“He has to be ready,” said linebacker James Farrior(notes), the team’s captain. “He doesn’t really have a choice.”

Timmons did a nice job last season as their nickel linebacker, a defense they used often because of him, moving away from the dime defense they favored against the pass in previous seasons. He had five sacks.
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Timmons will have to play the run on early downs.

“I think he’s coming around, he’s really learning the defenses a lot more,” Farrior said. “The coaches have done a good job teaching him what he needs to know. It’s just got to be a situation with me feeling comfortable with him and us with communication on the field. We just have to go through practice with that.”

The Steelers had a perfect setup in 2008 with Foote playing the run downs and Timmons the nickel—Farrior and the two outside linebackers played every down. It kept both Foote and Timmons fresh and accentuated their individual talents. Now, it’ll be all Timmons.

They also have no experienced backup at either inside or outside—Timmons was the top backup at all four spots. Keyaron Fox(notes) and Donovan Woods(notes) are among the inside candidates to back up Timmons and Farrior.

Farrior, 34, has not slowed down and made the Pro Bowl last season. But how long can he keep playing every down? The Steelers once thought Timmons might replace Farrior, not Foote, but Farrior crossed them up in a way by playing so well into his mid-30s.

If Farrior hits a wall, Timmons would take his place and they’d need someone to take the other inside spot.

Notes, Quotes

• Don’t look for Willie Parker(notes) to pull a Larry Foote-like move just because his playing time might fall off in the final year of his contract.

Parker, 28, is coming off the worst of his four years as a starter because he missed five games and parts of others with knee and shoulder injuries. He also has 2008 first-round pick Rashard Mendenhall(notes) competing with him for time.

Similar circumstances drove Foote to ask for his release and the Steelers gave it to him. Parker is another case. For one, Mendenhall also was hurt last season - a broken shoulder in the fourth game put him on IR.

“I am coming off a bad season but it was a great season for the team,” Parker said. “I just have to come out and get ready to play. It’s not about holding out. I have to make the best decision, and the best decision is to be around the team and help out the best way possible.”

Parker had three straight seasons over 1,200 yards rushing, two of them in the Pro Bowl. He also set a Super Bowl record with his 75-yard touchdown run to help beat Seattle three years ago. He began last season with 243 yards rushing in the first two games. A sprained MCL in his knee in the third game kept him out for the next four and he missed another with a shoulder injury.

He ended with 791 yards rushing, and had another 146 in the first playoff victory against San Diego. He looked like the Willie of old.

“I feel great,” Parker said. “I have been doing a lot of Pilates, stretching and things of that nature, to get my body back. I am feeling good. I am headed towards the right direction.”

His salary in the final year of his contract is $3,350,000—Foote’s was $2,885,000. Naturally, he’d like to sign an extension but there have been no talks.

“That will take care of itself,” Parker said. “The Steelers gave me a chance and I am proud and happy to be a Steeler. That’s all I can say about that. Whatever happens, happens. As of right now, I am just getting ready for this season and have to make the best of it.”

• S Troy Polamalu(notes) had little reaction when he finally spoke about sharing the Madden 2010 cover with Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald(notes).

“That’s cool,” said Polamalu, who added he does not play the game much.

“I’m pretty far removed from video games and that type of prestige, so I don’t know how much stock to put into it. I played a little growing up, but I wasn’t like a ‘gamer.’”

And what about the so-called cover jinx?

“I don’t think it’s a big deal,” he said.

• Coach Mike Tomlin installed a regulation-sized pool table in the middle of the team’s locker room. It was there when they reported for minicamp last week. He promised after they won the Super Bowl to have one because they had one in the locker room at their training facility at the University of South Florida the week of the Super Bowl.

“It’s great,” said Willie Parker. “It takes the card playing out of the question.”

• The Steelers resume OTAs May 19 and are off until then.

• Tomlin on the minicamp: “I had an opportunity to lay eyes on some new guys, instruct them, and watch them take the instruction, and hustle around a little bit. Got a chance to gather the veteran players and started the process of building our team for 2009. Great energy, great enthusiasm, like I mentioned a couple of days ago … successful weekend from that standpoint. Also successful because we came out of the weekend virtually injury free.”

Quote To Note: “It’s going to be real big and it’s going to have a lot of bling, so we’re happy.”—LB James Farrior on the team’s Super Bowl ring, which they will receive in several weeks.

Strategy And Personnel

The Steelers signed four more free agents, including two veterans. Punter Dirk Johnson(notes), 33, was with seven NFL teams and WR Shaun McDonald(notes) led the Detroit Lions with 79 catches for 943 yards in 2007. The Steelers also signed punter/kicker Piotr Czech and WR Jayson Foster(notes), who spent time on their practice squad in ’08.

MEDICAL WATCH

WR Hines Ward(notes) and S Ryan Clark(notes) did not practice in last week’s minicamps because they both had offseason shoulder surgeries. WR Martin Nance(notes) was held out of practice Saturday for a reason coach Mike Tomlin declined to discuss. RB Mewelde Moore(notes) sprained an ankle when he stepped on a teammate’s foot. He should be OK.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=teamreports-2009-nfl-pit&prov=sportsxchange&type=team_report

tony hipchest
05-08-2009, 12:38 PM
The Steelers also signed punter/kicker Piotr Czech

= peter check. :dang: thats what a c0ck gazer does.

FSUBoo
05-10-2009, 01:44 AM
:jawdrop::yikes::rofl::applaudit:

Fire Haley
05-12-2009, 12:04 PM
“He has to be ready,” said linebacker James Farrior(notes), the team’s captain. “He doesn’t really have a choice.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement from your QB on D.

Hines0wnz
05-12-2009, 04:35 PM
= peter check. :dang: thats what a c0ck gazer does.

Thanks for the LOL.