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mesaSteeler
08-17-2009, 07:10 AM
Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report

Persistent national reports — and even some out of Pittsburgh — continued to put the Steelers among the favorites to sign Michael Vick right up until the fallen quarterback signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Steelers, though, never had any intention or interest in Vick. Early on, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the Steelers had no interest, but somehow the idea persisted. Many sources on the Steelers not only disputed the reports privately but laughed at their persistence.

Yes, coach Mike Tomlin grew up in the same Virginia area as Vick and knows him, which could be why Tomlin did not want to publicly reveal the lack of interest by his franchise.

There just were more negatives than positives for the reigning Super Bowl champs, and among the reasons is the presence of quarterback Dennis Dixon. The Steelers believe Dixon is a rising quarterback who may be able to help them this season in either the Wildcat offense or in some other form. He was a Heisman Trophy candidate at Oregon with an 8-1 record in 2007 when he suffered a torn ACL late in the season.

The Steelers drafted him on the fifth round last season and he hardly played as the No. 3 quarterback. However, on one short-yardage snap in the preseason, he rolled right and clipped off a 47-yard touchdown run. Tomlin sees a chance to possibly make him No. 2 on game day while keeping Charlie Batch ready to go in if something happens to starter Ben Roethlisberger.

That way, Dixon could parade in and out of the game, but if Roethlisberger were hurt, Tomlin could send in Batch to replace him. They tossed that idea around last season but determined Dixon, less than a year after his ACL injury, was not ready for that role.

Dixon completed 10 of 19 passes for 112 yards in Pittsburgh's first preseason game against Arizona last Thursday. His best was a perfect strike on a slant over the middle to rookie Mike Wallace.

"I was looking to stay in the pocket more,'' said Dixon, who did not have a carry against the Cardinals. "As a quarterback, your initial reaction is to throw the ball first. I look at myself as a quarterback; if the pocket breaks down, I'll use my God-given talent, but I'll throw the ball first."

Said Tomlin, "I liked his presence and I thought he handled the group very well."

CAMP CALENDAR: Players have daily practice through Thursday, then break camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., to return to their training facility on Pittsburgh's South Side.

NOTES, QUOTES

—Punter Daniel Sepulveda, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, returned in a booming way. His punts vs. the Cardinals resembled the kind everyone else was seeing in this training camp. Sepulveda, a fourth-round draft choice in 2007, punted six times for a gross average of 49.5 yards, 43.8 net.

"It was just good to see him in uniform,'' coach Mike Tomlin said. "It is not a good feeling to look around and see a fourth-round punter in street clothes. It was great to see him in uniform. He kind of gave us what we think he is capable of giving us."

—The Steelers pulled out the DDGrassmaster surface that has been at Heinz Field since 2003 and put down 100 percent pure grass, which they had in the first two seasons at Heinz.

By doing so, they now can patch the grass late in the season, something they could not do with DDGrassmaster, which contains mostly grass but also synthetic fibers that hold it together.

—Turns out, C Justin Hartwig had a broken big right toe that kept him out of practice until Sunday. He said when he reported to training camp that nothing was wrong with his toe and he would start camp with everyone else, even though there were many reports he had injured it.

"It lingered more than I originally thought," said Hartwig, who joined the Steelers last season as a UFA and became their starter. "I thought I would be ready to go when camp started, but they decided to hold me out to make sure it healed. I was anticipating it not being a big problem, but I ended up sitting out a little longer than I hoped."

—The Steelers might do one more contract extension before the start of the regular season, when they cut off all negotiations and do not resume them until the end of the season as a matter of club policy. Defensive end Brett Keisel has reportedly been the most likely target, if and when the team does decide to negotiate with another player this summer.

"We're just kind of waiting, see what happens,'' Keisel said. "Obviously there are a lot of great players who are up right now and I'm one of the older ones. So we're just kind of seeing what's going on, but I think both sides would like to get something done."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's ahead of anybody I've seen coming in. He's a talented kid. He's a smart kid. He understands it more than the rest of us did as a rookie. I would have cut me my rookie year." — Veteran DE Aaron Smith on No. 1 pick Ziggy Hood.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The Steelers signed six-year veteran center Alex Stepanovich, who played for the Atlanta Falcons last season.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Limas Sweed vs. Mike Wallace and Shaun McDonald as No. 3 wide receiver. Sweed is the heavy favorite and he caught two nice passes in his first game for 56 yards. But don't count out the veteran McDonald, who had six receptions for 69 yards vs. Arizona. Wallace, meanwhile, looks like a No. 4 man.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Kraig Urbik vs. Ramon Foster as top rookie guard. Although Urbik was the Steelers' No. 2 pick as a third-rounder and Foster was undrafted, Foster is way ahead.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Running back Isaac Redman, an undrafted rookie running back from Bowie (Md.) State, came to the forefront when he scored twice in the first goal-line drill in camp. He then had touchdown runs of three and five yards in the first preseason game. Redman has a ways to go, but if he keeps this up, he could get the short-yardage job.

ROOKIE REPORT

—DE Ziggy Hood capped an excellent start to his first training camp with his play vs. the Cardinals. His pressure forced an interception that led to the Steelers' first TD, and he added a sack.

—CB Joe Burnett, also having an outstanding camp, returned an interception 45 yards to the 3 to set up the Steelers' first touchdown vs. Arizona.

—DE Sonny Harris finally started practicing last week after a groin injury. He played briefly in the first preseason game.

—C A.Q. Shipley seemed to struggle in his first game.

—WR Mike Wallace, improving as camp progresses, caught a nice 22-yard slant vs. Arizona to go with another reception.

INJURY REPORT: RB Willie Parker (back spasms) returned to practice Sunday after missing all of last week, including the game against Arizona ... C Justin Hartwig (broken toe) began practicing Sunday ... RB Mewelde Moore (hamstring) continues to watch from the sideline ... WR Martin Nance (groin) resumed some work but has not joined a full practice ... G/C Darnell Stapleton (knee surgery) remains out indefinitely.

Find this article at:
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/steelers/home.htm?csp=34

revefsreleets
08-17-2009, 08:42 AM
Woah! I thought Urbik looked good...hmmmm....

Interesting about Vick. Seems just about every fan here who REALLY knows this team and organization was right...no interest at all form the get-go...

mulldog24
08-17-2009, 09:06 AM
Woah! I thought Urbik looked good...hmmmm....

Interesting about Vick. Seems just about every fan here who REALLY knows this team and organization was right...no interest at all form the get-go...

I agree, I thought that when our 2nd string was in against the Cards thursday night that Urbik and Foster looked great, but I am surprised to see Foster that much ahead! It's great competition this year!:popcorn:

KeiselPower99
08-17-2009, 09:18 AM
The fact a undrafted guy is pushing a 3rd rounder shows how good our scouting dept. is.

Fire Haley
08-17-2009, 10:12 AM
Kraig Urbik vs. Ramon Foster as top rookie guard. Although Urbik was the Steelers' No. 2 pick as a third-rounder and Foster was undrafted, Foster is way ahead.

Redman has a ways to go, but if he keeps this up, he could get the short-yardage job.


I don't care where they come from - just so someone steps up.

goLERS
08-17-2009, 10:35 AM
Other then 2 plays Ziggy didn't have a good game.

Shipley on the other hand I thought played a great game all things considered

OneForTheToe
08-17-2009, 12:35 PM
Other then 2 plays Ziggy didn't have a good game.

Shipley on the other hand I thought played a great game all things considered

I thought Shipley had an average game against the Card's scrubs. I'm rooting for guy, but I now see PS written all over AQ. I'm guessing that Justin broke his toe over the summer and pulled a "Bettis," by pretending it got broke at camp. It is an old vet trick to assure you won't be cut. Jerome admitted in his book that he did it once or twice with the Steelers. Justin's toe being broke could be a blessing. Broken bones tend to heal better than the soft tissue (truf toe) type of injuries that can linger.

steelreserve
08-17-2009, 01:57 PM
Tomlin sees a chance to possibly make him No. 2 on game day while keeping Charlie Batch ready to go in if something happens to starter Ben Roethlisberger.

That way, Dixon could parade in and out of the game, but if Roethlisberger were hurt, Tomlin could send in Batch to replace him.

THANK GOD. I cannot stress how glad I am that they're considering an option that would actually let him get on the field.

And after seeing Dixon play the whole second half last week, I feel a lot more confident about him as a backup QB too. He didn't look like he was in over his head, and he wasn't one of those "athletic" college QBs that all they know how to do is overthrow fade routes into double coverage.

Galax Steeler
08-18-2009, 03:42 AM
From what I have been hearing Foster is way ahead of Urbik. This might end up having Urbik on the practice squad. I thought he would have alot better camp then what he has had.