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Old 08-19-2006, 05:58 AM   #1
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Default Young linemen to enjoy showcase tonight

Young linemen to enjoy showcase tonight

By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, August 19, 2006


The Steelers know what they're looking for from their reserve offensive linemen.
They'll continue finding out who may be capable of providing it in tonight's preseason game at Heinz Field against the Minnesota Vikings.

Once the starters depart, which should be after a quarter or so, the second-team offensive line will feature rookie No. 4 pick Willie Colon at left tackle rather than right tackle, and second-year pro Trai Essex moving from left tackle to left guard.

How the youngsters fare during such experimentation against the Vikings and throughout the remainder of the preseason figures to go a long way toward determining the makeup of the offensive line behind the starting five.

"I always look at it like, do you take the experienced guy or the better guy?" assistant head coach/offensive line coach Russ Grimm said. "The younger guy, if he's the better guy -- how does he get any experience? Somebody's gotta take a chance on him somewhere along the way.

"If he can handle the reps and he's good enough mentally, then you go with the younger guy. If you're not comfortable with that, then you gotta stay with the veteran."

Barrett Brooks was the veteran a year ago, the all-important "swing guy" in Grimm's vernacular. Brooks brought 10 NFL seasons and 103 career regular-season games to the table and was viewed by the Steelers as capable of playing either guard or either offensive tackle spot.

That's one of the reasons why Trai Essex, then a rookie No. 3 pick, started four times when left tackle Marvel Smith was out with an ankle sprain a year ago. It's also one of the reasons why Brooks dressed for every game and promising rookie guard Chris Kemoeatu dressed for one and played in none in 2005.

This year the "swing guy" along the offensive line might be Essex, who came to camp with career totals of four starts and six games on his resume.

"They want me to know every position but center, so I can be ale to dress, hopefully, this season," Essex said.

The Steelers started working Essex at guard during the organized team activities that followed minicamp.

He'll make his preseason debut at guard tonight after missing last Saturday's opener in Arizona due to a groin injury.

"It's a little more complicated moving from tackle to guard because the assignments change," Grimm said. "He's a guy that has some experience. He'll help you out if he can be that swing guy."

The adjustment will be less complex for Colon, who came to camp as a right tackle and started working on the left side as well Aug. 7.

Tonight, he'll play left tackle after playing right tackle at Arizona.

"We're gonna see how he handles that mentally," Grimm said.

Colon has already come to grips with the specific difference between the two tackle positions.

"You have to be a lot more disciplined in your sets (at left tackle) because the quarterback has his back to you," Colon said. "You mess that up, you may not be playing for too long."

Essex and Colon can play for a long time, even if they never develop into starters, provided they become as versatile as Brooks.

"You gotta make sure one of those guys backing up can swing guard and tackle," Grimm said.


http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_466786.html
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Old 08-19-2006, 07:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: Young linemen to enjoy showcase tonight

Thanks for posting this. It helps me to better understand the team's theory when it comes to the preseason games. I can see the difference between the teams that are "in it to win" for the preseason and those that use it more as a time to strategize for the real deal.
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Old 08-19-2006, 07:47 AM   #3
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Default Re: Young linemen to enjoy showcase tonight

Quote:
Originally Posted by floodcitygirl
I can see the difference between the teams that are "in it to win" for the preseason and those that use it more as a time to strategize for the real deal.
Steelers vs Cardinals last Saturday is a perfect example.
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Old 08-19-2006, 07:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: Young linemen to enjoy showcase tonight

Quote:
Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43
Steelers vs Cardinals last Saturday is a perfect example.
Exactly! I was going a little crazy during that game, I admit. I just can't stand to see them lose, regardless. Hopefully I can keep it in perspective for the rest of this preseason....but I'm not counting on it! (lol) The heart seems to overpower the brain when it comes to game time!
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Old 08-19-2006, 09:16 AM   #5
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Default Re: Young linemen to enjoy showcase tonight

Quote:
Originally Posted by floodcitygirl
Exactly! I was going a little crazy during that game, I admit. I just can't stand to see them lose, regardless. Hopefully I can keep it in perspective for the rest of this preseason....but I'm not counting on it! (lol) The heart seems to overpower the brain when it comes to game time!
You sound just like my brother. lol

He was going crazy last week also against the Cards. He got so bad I had to kick him out of my house. He was driving me nuts. He already has thrown in the Terrible Towel. Well he has come back to earth and knows it was just pre-season. Just remember that pre-season doesn't mean a thing in the win/loss column. Only things I look for in the pre-season is the devlopment of the young players. Plus no injuries.
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Old 08-19-2006, 09:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: Young linemen to enjoy showcase tonight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Black and Gold Forever 32
You sound just like my brother. lol

He was going crazy last week also against the Cards. He got so bad I had to kick him out of my house. He was driving me nuts. He already has thrown in the Terrible Towel. Well he has come back to earth and knows it was just pre-season. Just remember that pre-season doesn't mean a thing in the win/loss column. Only things I look for in the pre-season is the devlopment of the young players. Plus no injuries.
Well, I don't think I was so bad that you'd have to kick me out! (lol) And throw in my Terrible Towel!!!!! Bite your tongue! THAT will never happen. I have just always watched the games and not really payed much attention to all of the aspects that go into it. I'm learning though!
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