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Galax Steeler
06-15-2009, 03:42 AM
Little wonder Mike Tomlin was pleased with his team after O.T.A. drills came to a close Thursday. The coach of the Steelers oversaw a healthy, happy and motivated group this spring, a group that didn’t show a hint of Super Bowl hangover.

Attendance was up and distractions were down, so down that a missed practice period by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made as many headlines as James Harrison’s snub of the White House. Tame stuff for a reigning champ, and it only followed that the performance on the field proved satisfactory.

A few players missed, but at positions where depth must be groomed. Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu and Tyrone Carter gave way to Ryan Mundy, the second-year safety who’ll step in for Anthony Smith as the backup to Clark, a player with his own health issues.

“From an evaluation standpoint at this point, he’s verbal, which is a good sign,” Tomlin said of Mundy. “It’s a requirement that comes with that position. He communicates pre-snap very well. That displays understanding to me. He’s generally in the right place at the right time after the ball is snapped, and of course that’s a prerequisite for that position. Whether he finishes plays will ultimately determine what type of player he is and what he can do for us. That’ll unfold in August.”

Like Clark, Hines Ward rehabbed a shoulder injury and played mentor this spring. It allowed Tomlin a better look at the group vying to replace Nate Washington as the No. 3 wide receiver. Limas Sweed flashed spectacularly at times but dropped his share of passes. Free agent acquisition Shaun McDonald was a favorite of Mike Martz’s in St. Louis and Detroit, and his stocked dropped last season after Martz left. The Steelers believe they found a gem, and McDonald appears to be a veteran slot receiver in the Cedrick Wilson mold. A wild card for the No. 3 job is rookie speedster Mike Wallace, who worked more on inside routes this spring and is the frontrunner to win the kickoff return job.

“We have some flexibility with (Ward and Santonio Holmes), so we have an opportunity to pick the guy who will help us win in that spot.” Tomlin said. “We’ll legitimately look at all these guys and determine who has the most complete, well-rounded game and consistently can provide winning performance and play for us.”

The running back position should be much improved this season. Rashard Mendenhall is healthy and motivated. In turn, Willie Parker showed up for the challenge down a few pounds and running hard. Parker showed he still has blazing speed by crowning Stefan Logan -- the diminutive jitterbug and former CFL star -- in a challenge race after one practice. Mewelde Moore, plow-horse rookie Frank “The Tank” Summers, and two-year practice squadder Justin Vincent round out the deep tailback corps.

The main roster weakness – offensive line depth – was addressed with draft picks Kraig Urbik and A.Q. Shipley and the best of the undrafted free agents, Ramon Foster. Second-year men Tony Hills and Jason Capizzi are more confident in their play and are in position to help the team.

The loss of Larry Foote at mack inside linebacker opened the door for the team’s next defensive superstar, Lawrence Timmons. The former first-round pick has his weight up to 245 (from 236 at the Super Bowl) and he carried it like a future All-Pro this spring.

Will Gay moves into Bryant McFadden’s cornerback spot, with Deshea Townsend telling reporters not to count him out. A new No. 4 CB must be developed, and third-round pick Keenan Lewis showed plenty of promise. The 6-1, 200-pounder flashed that size along with speed and a physical nature this spring; however, Lewis may have to give way on the game-day active list to fifth-round pick Joe Burnett, the coaching staff’s frontrunner for the punt return job.

First-round pick Ziggy Hood showed off his athleticism as an inside defensive lineman, but had to fight for reps with a group of proud veterans who turned out en masse to show they’re not as old and decrepit as some have been saying.

On another positive note, Roethlisberger showed little ego for a 27-year-old quarterback with two rings. He reported every day but the last, and with Ward out his growing chemistry with Holmes became apparent. They should be quite the connection once training camp starts on July 31.

“One thing I’m certain of,” Tomlin said in summation, “Nothing stays the same in this business. Somebody’s going to surprise us and be on the rise; somebody’s going to surprise us and be on the decline. I make a conscious effort to remain open to those possibilities. I’m looking forward to watching our team report to training camp individually and collectively, and I’m going to let the dust settle where it settles.”

http://pit.scout.com/2/872160.html

GBMelBlount
06-15-2009, 06:58 AM
The loss of Larry Foote at mack inside linebacker opened the door for the team’s next defensive superstar, Lawrence Timmons. The former first-round pick has his weight up to 245 (from 236 at the Super Bowl) and he carried it like a future All-Pro this spring.

Harrison, Woodley, plus Timmons packing on some muscle in the off season. Could be a fun year...


“One thing I’m certain of,” Tomlin said in summation, “Nothing stays the same in this business. Somebody’s going to surprise us and be on the rise; somebody’s going to surprise us and be on the decline. I make a conscious effort to remain open to those possibilities. I’m looking forward to watching our team report to training camp individually and collectively, and I’m going to let the dust settle where it settles."

Good philosophy.

StainlessStill
06-15-2009, 07:39 AM
If this team doesn't repeat, then there's something wrong.

What's the day count until Training Camp?:tt02:

mesaSteeler
06-15-2009, 07:59 AM
"On another positive note, Roethlisberger showed little ego for a 27-year-old quarterback with two rings. He reported every day but the last, and with Ward out his growing chemistry with Holmes became apparent. They should be quite the connection once training camp starts on July 31."

Good article. Thanks for posting.

Exactly what I want to hear about Big Ben.

Steel Head
06-15-2009, 08:21 AM
look for Casey Hampton to have a monster year. he is in a contract year and is already getting into playing shape rather than showing up fat and overweight as in previous year

mulldog24
06-15-2009, 08:47 AM
I think Timmons will be a definate improvement over Foote as he is faster, can cover better,and I really think hits harder than Foote!!

lamberts-lost-tooth
06-15-2009, 09:03 AM
I think Timmons will be a definate improvement over Foote as he is faster, can cover better,and I really think hits harder than Foote!!

Agreed...I also think that we lose nothing by moving Gay into the starting CB slot in place of McFadden. Those games that Gay started last year, showed me that he was just as good.

Any word as to if Lewis is getting any reps at Safety?

LambertLunatic
06-15-2009, 09:15 AM
“From an evaluation standpoint at this point, he’s verbal, which is a good sign,” Tomlin said of Mundy. “It’s a requirement that comes with that position

Um, wasn't Anthony Smith verbal also? Verbal to the point of guaranteeing a win against the patriots, only to be beaten every time they passed on him.

SteelCityMan786
06-15-2009, 09:22 AM
If this team doesn't repeat, then there's something wrong.

What's the day count until Training Camp?:tt02:

46 to go.

Good to hear this team is entering in great shape. Hopefully things pan out so that way in Miami we have to celebrate another Super Bowl.

mmalone
06-15-2009, 09:32 AM
The running back position should be much improved this season. Rashard Mendenhall is healthy and motivated. In turn, Willie Parker showed up for the challenge down a few pounds and running hard. Parker showed he still has blazing speed by crowning Stefan Logan -- the diminutive jitterbug and former CFL star -- in a challenge race after one practice. Mewelde Moore, plow-horse rookie Frank “The Tank” Summers, and two-year practice squadder Justin Vincent round out the deep tailback corps.



This sounds like a made to order backfield... a new adjective for the tank: Plow-Horse. The whole offense has to be feeling that more power is at the doorstep.
Bring on August.

lilyoder6
06-15-2009, 10:35 AM
the steelers do have a crowded backfield..

i think we can say that vincent prob won't make the team has there are too many ppl in front of him...

so it basically comes down to, whether logan is good enough to make the team and contribute.. and whether carey davis will make the team with mchugh playing fb and frank the tank coming into the situation

LVSteelersfan
06-15-2009, 10:49 AM
If Carey Davis makes the cut, I will lose some of the great respect I have gained for Tomlin and the coaching staff. He is just not that impressive. He knows the plays but it sounds like there are quite a few players on the cusp of making the team. I just hope he is not in the conversation. Frank "the Tank" should be the man.

mmalone
06-15-2009, 12:24 PM
the steelers do have a crowded backfield..

whether carey davis will make the team with mchugh playing fb and frank the tank coming into the situation

i thought mchugh was a TE they were trying to groom into a FB. Summers will make him look like a college freshman.

rich4eagle
06-15-2009, 07:27 PM
Good thread. But Repeating in the NFL is a very hard agenda. I hope the Steelers repeat.

I am sure they wlll play hard but a football is an odd shape the ball bounces funny, the rels decide a lot of games often in the wrong.........and stuff happens

Cross your fingers and hope things fall into place!!!!!!!!!

My guess based on history it does not happen ...........but they will make a big collison all season

Psyychoward86
06-15-2009, 07:53 PM
I hope that extra weight on Timmons makes him a better run stopper, but not much slower :tt:

BlastFurnace
06-15-2009, 09:42 PM
If Carey Davis makes the cut, I will lose some of the great respect I have gained for Tomlin and the coaching staff. He is just not that impressive. He knows the plays but it sounds like there are quite a few players on the cusp of making the team. I just hope he is not in the conversation. Frank "the Tank" should be the man.

I know Davis is not popular, but what he does offer the team is positoin flexibility. He's very good at Special Teams, he's a decent FB, can play RB in a pinch, and has good hands out of the backfield.

The RB's that make this team are Parker, Mendenhall, Moore, Summers, and probably Davis. Summers is taking the roster spot vacated by Russell.

Galax Steeler
06-16-2009, 03:53 AM
I know Davis is not popular, but what he does offer the team is positoin flexibility. He's very good at Special Teams, he's a decent FB, can play RB in a pinch, and has good hands out of the backfield.

The RB's that make this team are Parker, Mendenhall, Moore, Summers, and probably Davis. Summers is taking the roster spot vacated by Russell.

I am not a big Davis fan but I think it will come down to Logan are Davis which one wants it more. This is why trainning camp is so fun.

MongoSteeler
06-20-2009, 06:02 AM
Logan also returns kickoffs and is supposed to be very good at it.

wezx
06-22-2009, 12:31 AM
Good thread. But Repeating in the NFL is a very hard agenda. I hope the Steelers repeat.

I am sure they wlll play hard but a football is an odd shape the ball bounces funny, the rels decide a lot of games often in the wrong.........and stuff happens

Cross your fingers and hope things fall into place!!!!!!!!!

My guess based on history it does not happen ...........but they will make a big collison all season

I agree...we're still champions all season and I will definitely be enjoying that! :tt: