Steelers Team Report
Gerry Dulac (Fox Sports)
In all likelihood, the team will plan on starting the season with veteran Willie Williams at left cornerback. Williams was re-signed to a two-year contract in the offseason after starting 10 regular-season games in 2004 for an injured Chad Scott. Williams made few mistakes and played so well against the run that the team might be reluctant to start this season with Ricardo Colclough, a No. 2 pick in 2004. Colclough is faster and more athletic than Williams, but until Williams starts to slack off the coaches will stick with him. . . .
Veteran Charlie Batch will be in a quarterback battle at training camp, but it won't be with Tommy Maddox as the backup to Ben Roethlisberger. It will be to see if he or Brian St. Pierre, a former fifth-round pick, is the No. 3 quarterback. Batch has the edge because of experience and athleticism, though he hasn't played much in three seasons with the Steelers. He was not re-signed to challenge Maddox, who will be the No. 2 quarterback.
SCOUTING REPORT: The team likes CB Deshea Townsend so much because he is more than their best cover corner. Despite his size (5-10, 191), he is a good tackler and plays very well in run support. Townsend does a good job of transitioning from the receiver to the ball in coverage and has enough athleticism to make plays. What's more, the team likes to use him in the slot in nickel defense because he is such an effective blitzer.
OFFENSIVE ADJUSTMENTS: One of the things the coaches want to do with QB Ben Roethlisberger is open up the passing game in his second season. That's one reason they drafted TE Heath Miller with their No. 1 pick. Miller gives the team a reliable and athletic receiver in the middle of the field, and the coaches want to take advantage of his abilities. Jerame Tuman is a serviceable blocker and receiver, but he doesn't present a matchup problem like Miller.
INSIDE DISH: Do not be surprised if the team gives up on CB Ike Taylor, a fourth-round pick in 2003. The coaches have questioned his dedication, and he could become expendable because of the impressive showing by rookie CB Bryant McFadden in minicamp.
WIDE RECEIVERS ANALYSIS: Grade: B. The biggest question is the loss of Plaxico Burress and how he will be replaced. The free-agent addition of Cedric Wilson should add speed to the outside and help create more big plays.