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Galax Steeler
08-13-2009, 06:25 AM
The pre-preseason game portion of training camp has ended for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and now the evaluation process enters another dimension. That dimension kicks off, literally, at 8 p.m. today when the Steelers face the Arizona Cardinals at Heinz Field in a game to be televised nationally by ESPN.

Coach Mike Tomlin acknowledges that what the staff sees in this preseason game as well as the other three will carry more weight than what has transpired on the practice field.

“Our ability to finish will be displayed tonight,” said Tomlin. “Our ability to finish blocks, our ability to tackle and get people on the ground. Some of the things that you don’t get to see in practice you will get a chance to see – some of the finishes to plays. That’s one of the things we talked about in approaching this game: how we need to finish, how we need to play the game in a physical nature, and I look forward to watching our guys do that.”

The Steelers are looking forward to seeing what all 80 players might be willing to contribute, but for fans some of those are more intriguing than others. Here is a completely arbitrary list of six players who will be interesting to watch in tonight’s game, based on how the first 13 days of training camp at Saint Vincent College transpired.

These half-dozen include two second-year players, two rookie draft picks and two undrafted rookies.

RASHARD MENDENHALL: The team’s first-round draft pick in 2008, Mendenhall was expected to energize the running attack, but he got only 19 carries on a season in which he broke his shoulder against the Ravens on Sept. 29 and landed on the injured reserve list. So far at camp, Mendenhall has shown a nice burst and flashed his abilities as a receiver, but with no tackling it has been difficult to gauge whether he can join Willie Parker to form the one-two punch the team’s rushing attack lacked last season.

“He is a second-year player, and that is how I treat him, that is what I expect from him,” said Tomlin. “I expect the jump from him that I expect from all second-year players. This is his second lap around the track in terms of being a professional athlete and football player. Those are our expectations of him. Injuries are a part of the game, we accept that. We don’t make concessions because of injury. We expect him to be a mature guy and to this point that is how he has conducted himself. He acts like a guy who has been here before, a guy who is ready to burst onto the scene, a guy who is willing to put his hand in the pile and help us win.”

DENNIS DIXON: While an injury ruined Mendenhall’s rookie season, it was a knee injury in November of the previous college season that affected Dixon’s draft status. As a result, the Steelers were able to get a Heisman Trophy contender with a fifth-round pick, and landing a quarterback with his skills at that stage is a bargain. Now, it’s time to see how much of a bargain he might turn out to be.

As camp has progressed, Charlie Batch has done increasingly well, and as this portion of camp ended he wasn’t playing like the 34-year-old man he is. Still, Batch is working on a one-year contract, and the ideal situation for the Steelers would be to have developed a quality backup quarterback in-house. Tomlin has made it clear what Dixon must show in order to be considered for that role, either this year or in the future.

“What he is capable of doing above the neck is going to ultimately determine that,” said Tomlin. “We all acknowledge that the quarterback position is a little different than other positions in this game. Does he have the talent to be a competitor, or to have a horse in that race? Absolutely. But all of the other things that you can’t measure will ultimately determine if that’s a possibility or not.”

MIKE WALLACE: When he was drafted, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians described Wallace as a guy who could take the top off the coverage, and the player who ran the second-fasted 40-time at the scouting combine has flashed that speed several times in the first 13 days of camp. But Wallace has shown himself to be much more than just a track guy masquerading as a football player. In one camp practice, he caught a ball over the middle, took a big hit from safety Tyrone Carter and held on; during another practice, he drew a 40-yard pass interference penalty to put the ball at the 10-yard line and then ended the drill by making a Santonioesque catch in the end zone for the touchdown.

Tomlin also said Wallace will get the first crack at returning kickoffs against the Cardinals.

“At this stage, I’m looking for guys who are reliable and natural in terms of fielding the football, coupled with the guys I know least about,” said Tomlin. “If I don’t know much about Mike Wallace, and he’s comfortable and natural in settling under balls out here in practice, than I’m going to want to see Mike Wallace returning kickoffs, as opposed to Rashard Mendenhall because I know a little bit more about Rashard Mendenhall. That’s been my guiding force in determining who gets the first crack at some of these things this week. It’s not a depth chart, per se. I want to see guys I don’t know a lot about. I’m interested in seeing Joe Burnett and Stefan Logan returning punts. I’m less interested in seeing Mewelde Moore, because I know more about him.”

JOE BURNETT: Tomlin isn’t the only one interested in seeing Burnett in game action. A fifth-round pick from Central Florida, Burnett was a productive cornerback who also returned five kicks for touchdowns during his college career. He probably wasn’t drafted earlier because of his height, but he has been in good position in coverage, he gets himself around the football and he has pretty good hands.

Burnett has at least two interceptions already in practices, and the one he made during Tuesday’s afternoon practice was an NFL-caliber play.

RAMON FOSTER: If it’s true that there is no such thing as a team having too many offensive linemen, it’s even more of a mystery why Foster wasn’t drafted. He has good size (6-5, 325), played at a major Southeastern Conference program (Tennessee) where he was a team captain and was versatile enough to line up at both guard and tackle. Foster appeared in 44 career games for the Volunteers and started all 26 the team played in 2007 and 2008.

What the Steelers think of Foster’s progress through this stage of camp can be found in the players they match him against in one-on-one drills. When camp opened, Foster would go against fellow undrafted rookie Steve McLendon and first-year player Jordan Reffett, who since has been waived. After handling that level of competition, Foster was moved up to face top backups Nick Eason and Travis Kirschke. Foster can take another step if he does well tonight.

ISAAC REDMAN: Maybe he started this training camp as an afterthought in the minds of observers, but on the eve of the preseason opener Redman (6-0, 230) had used the previous fortnight to create an opportunity for himself. It began with some solid showings as a blocker in the backs-on-backers drills, and then he announced his presence by scoring two touchdowns in the first goal-line drill. He did it against fellow rookies and free agents on defense, but he also was playing with a lot of fellow rookies and free agents on offense.

“Relative to who he was competing against, at that moment he distinguished himself, and that’s all we have to judge him on,” said Tomlin. “Hopefully we can put him in more situations against some people who maybe bring something else to the table to see how he matches himself up in those circumstances. But make no mistake, what he showed us the other day was pretty interesting.”

http://news.steelers.com/article/107898/

Texasteel
08-13-2009, 06:56 AM
Thats a good bunch to start with. I am very interested to see how some of the young linemen play. On both sides of the ball.

mesaSteeler
08-13-2009, 07:35 AM
NFL from the sidelines

After hobnobbing around the NFL in the press boxes and sidelines, sports reporter Dale Lolley will let you know the insider scoop.
http://nflfromthesidelines.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Rookies to watch for


Here's a look at some players to watch for in the Steelers' preseason game Thursday against the Cardinals.

Ziggy Hood - This one needs no explaining. Hood, the Steelers' top draft pick, has the look of a future star - or at least as much of a star as defensive linemen can be in this defense.

Mike Wallace - The speedy wide receiver has been catching everything at Saint Vincent College. How will he do in game action with the threat of being hit? He's pushing for the No. 3 receiver spot - or at least spot duty in that spot as a deep threat. He's the frontrunner for the kick return spot as well.

Keenan Lewis - Lewis will be tested by Arizona's receiving corps even though star wideouts Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin won't play much. He's a big, physical corner,

Joe Burnett - Burnett has looked good on special teams as a gunner, but the Steelers got him to pump up their return game. He'll start as the No. 1 punt returner and also get a shot as the kickoff returner. He's not bad as a cornerback, either.

Ramon Foster - Foster is the undrafted rookie most likely to make the 53-man roster. He's outplayed third-round draft pick Kraig Urbik. He'll be playing at left guard. Watch this kid finish his blocks. He's nasty.

Isaac Redman - When I spoke to Redman earlier this spring, I watched some video of him on Youtube first to get a feel for his running style. It's bull in a China shop. He told me then that the Steelers hadn't asked him to play any fullback, but he's seeing time time there now. Keep an eye on him.

Brandon Williams – Williams has flown under the radar, but he's having a good camp after a good spring as well. He could beat veteran Shaun McDonald out for a roster spot.

Doug Legursky - A center-guard combo, Legursky will get the start at center with Justin Hartwig and Darnell Stapleton out. Not too many young players get a shot like this. Look for Legursky to make the most of it.

Rashard Mendenhall - His rookie season was a washout, so Mendenhall has plenty to prove.
Posted by Dale Lolley at 11:33 PM 2 comments Links to this post

KeiselPower99
08-13-2009, 08:09 AM
NFL from the sidelines

After hobnobbing around the NFL in the press boxes and sidelines, sports reporter Dale Lolley will let you know the insider scoop.
http://nflfromthesidelines.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Rookies to watch for


Here's a look at some players to watch for in the Steelers' preseason game Thursday against the Cardinals.

Ziggy Hood - This one needs no explaining. Hood, the Steelers' top draft pick, has the look of a future star - or at least as much of a star as defensive linemen can be in this defense.

Mike Wallace - The speedy wide receiver has been catching everything at Saint Vincent College. How will he do in game action with the threat of being hit? He's pushing for the No. 3 receiver spot - or at least spot duty in that spot as a deep threat. He's the frontrunner for the kick return spot as well.

Keenan Lewis - Lewis will be tested by Arizona's receiving corps even though star wideouts Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin won't play much. He's a big, physical corner,

Joe Burnett - Burnett has looked good on special teams as a gunner, but the Steelers got him to pump up their return game. He'll start as the No. 1 punt returner and also get a shot as the kickoff returner. He's not bad as a cornerback, either.

Ramon Foster - Foster is the undrafted rookie most likely to make the 53-man roster. He's outplayed third-round draft pick Kraig Urbik. He'll be playing at left guard. Watch this kid finish his blocks. He's nasty.

Isaac Redman - When I spoke to Redman earlier this spring, I watched some video of him on Youtube first to get a feel for his running style. It's bull in a China shop. He told me then that the Steelers hadn't asked him to play any fullback, but he's seeing time time there now. Keep an eye on him.

Brandon Williams – Williams has flown under the radar, but he's having a good camp after a good spring as well. He could beat veteran Shaun McDonald out for a roster spot.

Doug Legursky - A center-guard combo, Legursky will get the start at center with Justin Hartwig and Darnell Stapleton out. Not too many young players get a shot like this. Look for Legursky to make the most of it.

Rashard Mendenhall - His rookie season was a washout, so Mendenhall has plenty to prove.
Posted by Dale Lolley at 11:33 PM 2 comments Links to this post

Obviously anyone can guess Im pulling for Legursky to make a statement tonight and show he belongs on the roster and should have a chance of being the Center next year. Williams could be the sleeper out of the group if he puts a good show on the next few weeks. Redman might beat out Summers for that roster spot and I really wouldnt be suprised. After watching him on youtube he looks like a Steeler. Foster creates a problem for a few differant people.

BlastFurnace
08-13-2009, 08:12 AM
Obviously anyone can guess Im pulling for Legursky to make a statement tonight and show he belongs on the roster and should have a chance of being the Center next year. Williams could be the sleeper out of the group if he puts a good show on the next few weeks. Redman might beat out Summers for that roster spot and I really wouldnt be suprised. After watching him on youtube he looks like a Steeler. Foster creates a problem for a few differant people.

I agree with you about Redman. What what we are hearing about him, he might be a guy we want to keep around and off the practice squad.

The Lakelander
08-13-2009, 08:27 AM
I agree with you about Redman. What what we are hearing about him, he might be a guy we want to keep around and off the practice squad.

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/jixyYRkaC-k&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/jixyYRkaC-k&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

The Lakelander
08-13-2009, 08:30 AM
Man this guy has some lateral acceleration!

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Ca1KRR62vvo&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Ca1KRR62vvo&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

The Lakelander
08-13-2009, 08:32 AM
Man this guy has some lateral acceleration!

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Ca1KRR62vvo&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Ca1KRR62vvo&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

He's running the wildcat in this clip too!

The Lakelander
08-13-2009, 08:37 AM
Check this out! THIS is Steelers football man!

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/9G9_67P67zk&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/9G9_67P67zk&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

Nadroj 20
08-13-2009, 08:44 AM
I am excited about Mike Wallace tonight hopefully he can show some flashes of how fast he is.

The Lakelander
08-13-2009, 08:52 AM
I'm telling you right now ... !!!!

MIKE TOMLIN IS A GENIUS !!!!!!!!!

BlastFurnace
08-13-2009, 08:59 AM
I'm telling you right now ... !!!!

MIKE TOMLIN IS A GENIUS !!!!!!!!!

I am still amazed that Minnesota let him get away when Childress has shown absolutely nothing as a coach.

Galax Steeler
08-13-2009, 09:01 AM
Thanks for sharing the vids Lakelander.

Steely McSmash
08-13-2009, 11:31 AM
Nice Clips.

He seems really hard to tackle.

a lot of those moves won't play in the NFL but still impressive.

Just think... one of those 15 people in the stands was a Steeler scout.

Preacher
08-13-2009, 03:59 PM
Sure would be nice if we shored our O line and RB's to compliment our pass game.

Balance, Balance, Balance. That IS the key.

I do like the fact that we have two MORE UDFA that are looking to possibly make the roster and contribute.

Talk about an eye for talent.

HughC
08-13-2009, 05:25 PM
Rather than the skill positions, I'm most interested in the performance of the offensive line. If the line does its job well those other positions will take care of themselves.

theplatypus
08-13-2009, 05:39 PM
Nice Clips.

He seems really hard to tackle.

a lot of those moves won't play in the NFL but still impressive.

Just think... one of those 15 people in the stands was a Steeler scout.

I can't decide if he's hard to tackle or those are some of the worst tackling defenses of all time. Can't wait to see what he can do tonight.

I_Bleed_Black_And_Gold
08-13-2009, 05:46 PM
I think I am most interested in seeing Mendenhall.

After him, Sweed is really going to be under the microscope.

jasonhightower
08-13-2009, 06:33 PM
I was looking at Redman's info on CBS Sportsline and according to them on 8/4... Steelers RB Isaac Redman has been inconsistent during practice, especially in receiving drills. His only chance to make the 53-man roster is on special teams."

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/players/playerpage/1675207

rich4eagle
08-14-2009, 02:30 PM
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nice clip.....he may be steal..... the music seem to fit :tt: a porn film better