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Old 08-22-2006, 03:57 AM   #1
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Default Cowher not happy with camp

Cowher not entirely happy with camp and he shows it

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher isn't worried about the Super Bowl champions' 0-2 preseason record. What he doesn't like is how they've gone about losing those two games.
Turnovers inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Missed blocks. Pass routes that weren't run correctly, and defenses that were improperly read. Too many penalties and missed third-down opportunities.

That's why Cowher was more animated than usual during practice Monday, once yelling loudly at his linemen during a 9-on-7 drill. The Steelers also practiced in pads, something they almost never do two days after a game.

With the Saint Vincent College training camp running only three more days, and the Sept. 7 season opener against Miami slightly more than two weeks away, Cowher wants his team regaining its championship mindset. Soon.

"We're not where we need to be," Cowher said. "We've been on the edge a little bit, with our pass protection the other night, and a guy here and a guy there in the running game. We've set too high a standard around here, and we're much better than we performed the other night. As I've always said, you can't turn this thing on and off, and we've got to take it up a notch."

One player Cowher won't fault for the uneven preseason to date is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who threw a touchdown pass six plays into the Steelers' opening possession of a 17-10 loss to Minnesota on Saturday night. Roethlisberger was pulled after that, though the offensive line starters played most of the rest of the half.

"Ben's had an excellent camp ? he's been very good, very accurate, (good) with the decision making. I'm very pleased with where he's at," Cowher said.

To Cowher, the third exhibition game is always the most important because the starters play longer. The regulars figure to play most of the first half Friday night at Philadelphia, a switch from the earlier two games when Roethlisberger and most of the skill-position offensive starters played only one series each.

"It's a short week this week and, as I told the guys, we've got to continue to make progress and take faster steps," Cowher said. "The game the other day, we did some things well but not consistently. There were things we can learn from. There were some strides made, but we still have a way to go."

He didn't mean Cowher Way, either ? the alleyway near his family's house in suburban Crafton that was renamed for him in May. Two street signs designating the alley were stolen over the weekend, though one was recovered Monday.

"I don't think it was my brothers or parents (who took them)," Cowher said, smiling. "Hopefully, they'll get it replaced. When that's making headlines, I guess we're not playing that badly."

Notes: The Steelers have afternoon practices again Tuesday and Wednesday, the final two days that camp will be open to the public. They will hold only a walkthrough drill Thursday before breaking camp and heading to Philadelphia. Cowher said, "It (the season) is getting close, and our players have to understand the sense of urgency that's needed, start approaching these practices with the focus that's needed." ... C Chukky Okobi (neck) could play Aug. 31 against Carolina, or much earlier than was expected when he was hurt two weeks ago. Initially, Okobi was told the injury might be career-threatening.
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