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Old 12-18-2006, 04:21 AM   #1
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Default Rookie steps into a scolding

Steelers Notebook: Rookie steps into a scolding
Monday, December 18, 2006
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Anthony Smith continued to make a big impression on the Steelers when the rookie safety came up with his second interception in the past two games.

Then he made the wrong impression.

Smith, getting his second start at free safety for injured Ryan Clark, pulled down a one-handed interception in the fourth quarter at the Steelers' 25, a Chris Weinke pass that was headed for Taye Biddle.

As the rookie weaved through the Panthers with the ball, however, he began high-stepping like a show horse in the middle of the field before he was pushed out of bounds at the Steelers' 45.

He no sooner hit the Steelers sideline than defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau flew over to him with an irate look on his face few have ever seen. He grabbed Smith and lectured him.

As LeBeau turned back to walk away, coach Bill Cowher was next in line on the lecture circuit for the rookie.

"I didn't appreciate his gesture,'' Cowher said. "We don't do that around here. He understood that.

"I think everybody was [upset]. That's not us. We won't tolerate that. He's a good football player, he learned from it. It won't happen again."

LeBeau smiled when asked what he told the rookie, something he did not do while talking to Smith.

"I just told him that was a nice interception,'' LeBeau said.

Smith, who played mostly on special teams and made an occasional visit on the dime defense through the first 12 games of the season, might finish it out as their starting free safety. Clark aggravated his groin injury yesterday.

"Coach LeBeau said a little something, he said the same thing coach Cowher said -- don't do it again,'' Smith said.


Antwaan who?


The Steelers have missed wide receiver Antwaan Randle El in two particular areas of their play this season -- throwing the occasional pass on offense and scoring touchdowns on punt returns.

Yesterday, they did one of each for the first time this season.

Cedrick Wilson, who essentially replaced Randle El as the starting split end, threw his first pass with the Steelers and completed it to Hines Ward for 21 yards. It helped set up the Steelers' second score, a field goal.

Wilson has practiced the play and also played quarterback on the scout team the week before they played Atlanta when they needed someone to simulate Michael Vick.

"He got excited the week he played Michael Vick,'' Cowher said. "He's been throwing that ball really good. All you have to do is give him a window. It was a good pass."

Randle El completed all three of his passes in the regular season and returned two punts for touchdowns.

Rookie Santonio Holmes returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown against the Panthers.

"It was nice to contribute positively for a change,'' special teams coach Kevin Spencer said.


Lowered expectations


Carolina Panthers coach John Fox didn't have to say much after the game. His team -- once considered a Super Bowl contender -- said plenty with its lousy performance in its fourth consecutive loss, a defeat that left it with a 6-8 record.

"We are just not a very good football team right now," Fox said. "I don't think it's a matter of guys giving up. I just think that we're not very good right now."


Landing a big one

You might say Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel did a little fishin' yesterday. When he sacked quarterback Chris Weinke late in the second quarter, he pretended he landed the big one.

"Yeah, I brought my rod and reel today," Keisel said. "That was my first Weinke catch. It was nice catch. I kept it."

Keisel also shared a sack with linebacker Clark Haggans and has 51/2 for the season. Defensive end Aaron Smith also got a sack, giving him 41/2.

"I thought we really played well upfront," coach Bill Cowher said.

"Those guys have played well all year."


Quick Hits

Kicker Jeff Reed raised his record to 9 for 9 on field goals away from Heinz Field this season ... Carolina's Chris Weinke fell to 1-17 as a starting quarterback after winning his first start. His 17-game losing streak is the longest since Dan Pastorini lost 21 straight from 1972 to 1974. ... With three more sacks, the Steelers have allowed 43, their most since they also gave up 43 in 2000. ...The Panthers came into the game with the most effective third-down defense in the league, allowing conversions only 28.6 percent of the time, but the Steelers went 10 for 17 on third down (59 percent). ... The Panthers, who have lost four in a row and six of the last eight, have outscored their opponents 61-19 in the first quarter, but have been outscored 110-52 in the fourth. ... The Steelers are 6-0 when Ben Roethlisberger scores a rushing touchdown, 8-0 including the post-season. ... Yesterday was the worst Carolina loss since a 41-0 shellacking courtesy of the Atlanta Falcons, Nov. 24, 2002.


Injuries


Steelers linebacker Chad Brown's season likely is over after he left the game in the first half with a severe left knee injury.

"It doesn't look good,'' coach Bill Cowher said. "We'll probably have to make some moves there."

Besides Clark, the Steelers had a few other injuries. Chidi Iwuoma "hurt his arm,'' Cowher said. "I'm not sure what his status is."

Safety Tyrone Carter had a minor head injury. "I think he'll be fine,'' Cowher said.

Carolina defensive end Mike Rucker left in the first quarter with a injured knee and did not return.


Inactives


Steelers -- No. 3 QB Brian St. Pierre, WR Walter Young, S Mike Logan, S Troy Polamalu, C Marvin Philip, G Chris Kemoeatu, OT Willie Colon, WR Lee Mays.

Carolina -- QB Jake Delhomme, CB Derrick Strait, RB Nick Goings, LB Brandon Jamison, DE Stanley McClover, G D'Anthony Batiste, WR Keary Coilbert, TE Kris Mangum.
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Old 12-18-2006, 09:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: Rookie steps into a scolding

Rookies do dumb, classless things like that sometimes - thats more of an indicator about the way of doing things at their college rather than the Pro-team.

Impressed with the way LeBeau and Cowher both jumped right on it - hopefully that message wil be reinforced by some of the vets on the team - he should take a look at Willie P and how to celebrate a big play.

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Old 12-18-2006, 09:14 AM   #3
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Default Re: Rookie steps into a scolding

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Originally Posted by Livinginthe past View Post
Impressed with the way LeBeau and Cowher both jumped right on it - hopefully that message wil be reinforced by some of the vets on the team
Same here. Nice to see somebody jump on him for that bonehead decision. At the same time Cowher has warned others on this team before when it comes to that type of behavior and it was completely ignored.

Remember the "It will never happen again" statement after Verron's celebration? Then again after Ward's celebration? Now Smith's celebration. Obviously Cowher is not getting through to these guys. Both veterans and rookies.

I'm not holding my breath.
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Old 12-18-2006, 09:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Rookie steps into a scolding

Ok I agree that what Smith did was stupid. When he did that I was screaming at the tv what the f$ck are you doing. But at the sametime lets not make to big of deal of this. At least Smith isn't spitting into another players face. With the way LeBeau scolded Smith I doubt Smith will do it again. If the players are not listening to Cowher I still think the defensive players listen to Coach LeBeau.
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Old 12-18-2006, 09:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: Rookie steps into a scolding

Smith is a rook and he made a mistake. He forgot he plays in Pittsburgh, not Dallas.
As long as the lesson is learned, then all if forgiven. And man, love the way he brings the wood. Great hit on Steve Smith yesterday.
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Old 12-18-2006, 09:53 AM   #6
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Default Re: Rookie steps into a scolding

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Originally Posted by Black and Gold Forever 32 View Post
Ok I agree that what Smith did was stupid. When he did that I was screaming at the tv what the f$ck are you doing. But at the sametime lets not make to big of deal of this. At least Smith isn't spitting into another players face. With the way LeBeau scolded Smith I doubt Smith will do it again. If the players are not listening to Cowher I still think the defensive players listen to Coach LeBeau.
Amen! Classless? Probably.

But it really wasnt that big a deal, should he do it again? NO! I feel Lebeau should have saved the scolding for the lockerroom. I`m sure it will be brought up again when they go over films.
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Old 12-18-2006, 09:56 AM   #7
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Default Re: Rookie steps into a scolding

I'll pass it off as a "rookie mistake". That's fine. I'm more concerned with it getting through to not only Smith, but with the team as a whole. Once again, I've heard the "It will never happen again" statement before.

If this was the first time this type of incident occured this season I wouldn't even be talking about it. Much like the Hayne's incident, I guess we will have to wait and see. Much like the Ward incident, I guess we will have to wait and see. Much like the Smith incident, I guess we will have to wait and see. Did I leave any others out?
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Old 12-18-2006, 10:01 AM   #8
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Default Re: Rookie steps into a scolding

It was a silly thing for that boy to do...but I tell you one thing that guy brings the leather when he hits someone...
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Old 12-18-2006, 10:02 AM   #9
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thing that guy brings the leather when he hits someone...
That he does......
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Old 12-18-2006, 10:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rookie steps into a scolding

As I said in another thread last night, Cowher saying "this will not happen again" is getting old.

The point of practice and coaching is that players act instinctively in game situations. The message to cut out the on field performance art apparently has not sunk in yet, which is a coaching issue

It was Carolina's own fault that they were being blown out when Smith became a drum major after the INT, but that trick created the potential for a Knicks-Nuggets style brawl.
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