Notebook: Sweed science? Don't think
By Mike Bires
Times Sports Staff
LATROBE — It’s probably way too early to say that Limas Sweed has the No. 3 wide receiver spot locked up but he certainly looks like he has every intentions of doing so soon.
Sweed, below, who struggled last year as a rookie, made two impressive catches Sunday afternoon during an 11-on-11 drill. The first was a diving grab on an intermediate out route near the sideline. The second was a long pass in which he out-jumped rookie cornerback Keenan Lewis.
“Just playing football,” Sweed said afterward. “Honestly, I wasn’t just playing football last year. I was just thinking too much.
“Now I’m out here playing like I was playing on Friday nights in high school (in Brenham, Texas). I’m not over thinking. I’m not trying to be perfect. I’m not trying to play up to anybody’s standard. I’m playing to my own standard, and I feel like I’m coming into my own.”
The Steelers are looking for a new No. 3 receiver after Nate Washington left for Tennessee via free agency in March. The candidates to succeed Washington are Sweed, free-agent acquisition Shaun McDonald and rookie Mike Wallace, a third-round draft pick.
Sweed didn’t have a perfect practice Sunday, however. He did have one glaring drop. But after that long catch on a pass from Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback made it a point to congratulate Sweed.
“Ben said, ‘That’s confidence,’” Sweed said. “‘That’s confidence that I can throw you the ball like that. That builds confidence and it builds a relationship. You make plays like that, and that will make me believe in you even more.’”
RAIN DIDN’T HURT
Around 4:25 Sunday afternoon, rain began to fall in the Laurel Highlands while the Steelers were finishing up special teams practice. When it began to rain harder, most of the fans in attendance headed home but the Steelers kept on.
Then about 20 minutes later, the rains let up.
“We came out here to work today, and I thought they did,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “They maintained focus throughout the rain, which is great. There was no lightning, so there was no real danger. I thought we had a very productive day.”
HURRY IT UP!
Late in practice, the Steelers worked on their “hurry-up” offense and defense. Tomlin put the ball near midfield and put 1:12 on the clock. The offense tried to score a touchdown, the defense tried to prevent one.
The first-team offense failed to score though as Roethlisberger’s pass was intercepted by strong safety Troy Polamalu. The second-team offense, which Charlie Batch at quarterback, moved into the red zone but couldn’t score. The third-team offense, with Dennis Dixon at QB, scored on a 1-yard run by running back Justin Vincent.
* LB Lawrence Timmons was held out of practice for what Tomlin said was cramps. Timmons left Saturday afternoon’s practice for the same reason.
* Rookie DL Ra’Shon Harris sat out with a strained groin.
* TE Heath Miller (sports hernia) was in uniform but hardly participated in drills.
* C Justin Hartwig (toe) practiced but didn’t take part in the two 11-on-11 sessions.
* WR Hines Ward didn’t practice after Tomlin gave the veteran the day off.