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Old 08-09-2007, 06:36 AM   #61
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Default Re: 2007 Steelers Training Camp Notebook Articles

Steelers Notebook: Timmons to get second opinion
Thursday, August 09, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers sent rookie linebacker Lawrence Timmons, their first-round draft choice, to a doctor in Philadelphia today to get a second opinion on his troubling groin injury.

Timmons, the team's first-round draft pick, has not practiced in two weeks since the groin was re-injured on the third day of training camp practices at Saint Vincent College. He also missed all the spring drills after the groin was first hit in his first practice after being the 15th player taken in the NFL draft.

"From what I understand, there's somewhat of a breakthrough there, but I'll have more information tomorrow and we'll see where we go with it," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We'll expect him back in town tomorrow. Whether or not he practices or to what degree he practices we'll see in the morning."

Parker, Faneca miss more time

Running back Willie Parker's injured left knee will keep him out a more extended time than first believed, and offensive guard Alan Faneca may be on the same timetable with a shoulder injury.

"It's just inflammation of the knee -- it usually takes 10-14 days," Tomlin said yesterday about Parker, who missed the first preseason game Sunday. "We're about 11 to 12 days into it now. So it's coming toward the end. We'll see where that is, but we'll continue to monitor that day to day."

Faneca left the game Sunday after the first series with a shoulder injury.

"Alan's in a similar situation with his shoulder," Tomlin said. "We're going to give him a few days, see if that thing calms down a little bit and take it day by day."

Two others, both starting linebackers, returned to practice: Larry Foote (sprained ankle) and James Harrison (ribs). Harrison did not go the whole way through practice, though, as planned, after missing a week.

"It's good to have him back," Tomlin said. "He fought through it, and we'll just continue to move forward and crawl him back in until he's at full strength."

Quick exits

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and center Chukky Okobi left practice two plays apart. Roethlisberger's foot was stepped on, and Okobi went down with what appeared to be a lower back injury. Tomlin said Roethlisberger should be OK.

As for Okobi, "He went down, a lot of pain and discomfort, but I don't think it's anything that will be long-term."

There's nothing new

Bruce Arians has been around the block a little, back to his days coaching the running backs for the late, great Bear Bryant.

So Arians laughed yesterday when someone mentioned to him that the new Steelers offense isn't all that new.

"There's not that much difference," Arians said. "Every offense in this league is pretty similar. It's just what you do on first and second down as far as creating mismatches."

Arians remembered an old Bryant story to illuminate his point.

"Coach Bryant told me one time, there's nothing new in this game," said Arians, who coached at Alabama in 1981 and 1982. "We had a wishbone team and we had a four-wideout-looking, single-wing thing that we came up with. And he said, 'General [Robert] Neyland ran that play back in '22, and this is the defense for it.' I looked at it and said, 'Coach, you think anybody remembers that?' He said, 'I doubt it, it'll probably be pretty good.'

"So there's nothing new, it's all recyclable."

That does not mean it can not be more effective. Arians never said he was scrapping the Steelers' offense. He added some things to the playbook and actually streamlined it from all the stuff the previous coordinators added to it through the years.

Two things he has added and likes are the use of three tight ends, particularly bunching them on one side of the line, and the use of four wide receives on first down with one back with the quarterback under center, not in the shotgun. Those are alignments he believes can help the Steelers create mismatches against defenses.

What you don't see

Things you see but don't see watching a football game:

Brian St. Pierre is sacked just before he cuts loose on what would likely have been a 74-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington Sunday night.

The sack occurs because Max Starks moved from right tackle to play left tackle, a position he has never played in an NFL game.

"Max's inexperience at left tackle showed up because on that play they went all-out blitz," Arians said, "and we had everybody blocked and he got beat inside because he just wasn't sure of the look. And we don't get to rep against this defense of ours that much or it would have been a huge play. It was just something to show, make people think about it."

And, for the record, the Steelers lined up with four wide receivers on that first down of the series.

Room for improvement

All five Steelers opponents in the preseason play the 4-3 defense, so Starks and the rest of them will get plenty of practice against it.

They plan to zone block more often this season, too. A zone block is just what it sounds like -- blocking in a zone, rather than a particular assignment on a man.

"And we weren't very good at it the other night," Arians said. "We don't get to practice against 4-3 penetrating tackles and ends, which is a real good test for us. Our angle blocking was real good, our zone blocking real average. It's an area we have to improve."

Mahan returns

Center Sean Mahan returned to practice after taking an excused leave of absence since Friday to attend to family matters. "Everything's fine now. I just had some personal stuff I had to take care of, and the Steelers were great about it and that's all taken care of," he said.

Mahan immediately was placed with the first team at center, a planned rotation with Okobi, who ran with the top unit the first two weeks of the season.

"It's good to get to work with those guys and get a feel for us working together to get a shot to show what I can do with the first team," Mahan said. "It's good to be in there."

Quick hits

Roethlisberger completed 7 of 8 passes on a 60-yard touchdown drive in the two-minute drill. His only incompletion was a spike to kill the clock. Backup Charlie Batch then completed 4 of 5. Each ended with a touchdown pass. ... Tomlin said Mahan will start at center and Willie Colon will start at right tackle Saturday against Green Bay. ... The Steelers released former West Virginia University quarterback Rasheed Marshall and signed center Donovan Raiola. Marshall was signed early this year as a receiver by the Steelers. Raiola was released last week by the St. Louis Rams. He is the brother of Dominic Raiola, Detroit's starting center.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07221/808116-66.stm
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Old 08-09-2007, 08:39 AM   #62
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Default Re: 2007 Steelers Training Camp Notebook Articles

Good to see that Roethlisburger is doing well.

Okobi though, blah, that back seems to be worse then I was thinking.
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Old 08-09-2007, 09:44 AM   #63
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Default Re: 2007 Steelers Training Camp Notebook Articles

God this is scary i just hope everyone is healthy for the season geez!
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Old 08-09-2007, 02:28 PM   #64
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Default Re: 2007 Steelers Training Camp Notebook Articles

Apparently Ben is "fine," (Brown has his days wrong, though - everything happened Wednesday, not today) assuming Coach Tomlin is telling the whole truth (...says alittlejazzbird as she breathes a HUGE sigh of relief):
************************************************** *
Steelers' Timmons gets second opinion on injury
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, August 9, 2007

Coach Mike Tomlin said the Steelers believe they have made a “breakthrough” in regard to the puzzling groin injury that has plagued first-round pick Lawrence Timmons.

Timmons got a second opinion on his groin problem Thursday in Philadelphia and arrived back in Pittsburgh late this morning.

The outside linebacker has missed the last two weeks of practice and won’t play Saturday against the visiting Green Bay Packers.

“Obviously he’s behind,” Tomlin said of Timmons. “But he’s a smart guy, a talented guy. He has a chance to make it up.”

Tomlin indicated that the Steelers will start easing Timmons back into practice and will see what he is able to handle.

Tomlin all but ruled out running back Willie Parker (knee) and guard Alan Faneca (shoulder) for the 7:30 p.m. game at Heinz Field.

The starters, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, will play about 12-15 snaps, Tomlin said.

Roethlisberger got his foot stepped on in practice Thursday but Tomlin said he is fine.


Chris Kemoeatu will start at left guard for Faneca while Willie Colon will start at right guard and Sean Mahan will start at center.

Colon and Mahan are locked in battles for starting positions and Tomlin said he wants to see them with the first-team offense.

Chukky Okobi, who is No. 1 on the depth chart at center, hurt his back in practice Thursday but he still may play Saturday. Max Starks, who is No. 1 on the depth chart at right tackle, will again play both tackle positions Saturday. Tomlin said he has not decided whether Ryan Clark or Anthony Smith will start at free safety or whether Deshea Townsend or Bryant McFadden will start at right cornerback.

Tomlin also hasn’t decided whether Clark Haggans or rookie LaMarr Woodley will start at left outside linebacker.

Haggans will play some at right outside linebacker with Timmons still out. James Harrison, who missed last Sunday’s game with a rib problem, is expected to start at right outside linebacker.

Tomlin said the Steelers will treat Saturday as a first exhibition game since they have an extra preseason contest this season. That is why the starters are expected to play as much as they did in last Sunday’s Hall of Fame game.

Bad weather will force the Steelers to go to the South Side this afternoon and practice at their indoor facility.

Thunder showers washed out the two-hour morning practice that had been scheduled. The Steelers will take buses to the South Side for practice and then ride back to St. Vincent College in Latrobe.

“I’m interested to see what this practice is like,” Tomlin said.
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Old 08-09-2007, 11:03 PM   #65
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Default Re: 2007 Steelers Training Camp Notebook Articles

Steelers Notebook: Parker says knee is fine, practices
Friday, August 10, 2007

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pro Bowl running back Willie Parker practiced for the first time in nearly 10 days and said his knee is feeling fine, but he will not play in the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers tomorrow night and said he might not play next week in Washington, either.

Parker participated in light drills yesterday afternoon, his first work since coach Mike Tomlin surprisingly held him out of practice July 31. But Parker said he is in no hurry to get back on the field because he wants to be sure he does not aggravate the injury.

"I'm all right; I'm not concerned," Parker said. "I overworked [the knee] a little bit, went too hard in the offseason, and, when I got here, my body slowed down because I went so hard. I was overdoing it on the practice field and I needed some rest, some preseason time, to get better."

Tomlin said Parker will be replaced as the starter for the second consecutive game by Najeh Davenport. Neither Tomlin nor Parker has described the exact nature of the knee injury.

"I'm in no rush to play the next game, either," said Parker, referring to the Aug. 18 contest against the Redskins in Landover, Md. "I feel real good, but I'm not going to be stupid or re-aggravate it."

Faneca remains out, too

Tomlin said Parker and offensive left guard Alan Faneca (shoulder) are the only starters who will not play against the Packers in the preseason home opener at Heinz Field. He said all the other injured players are a possibility, which would include outside linebacker James Harrison (ribs), who practiced for the second day in a row, and center Chukky Okobi (back), who did not practice yesterday.

Faneca will be replaced at left guard by Chris Kemoeatu. Tomlin said Willie Colon will start at right tackle instead of Max Starks, who will be used mainly as a backup at left tackle against the Packers.

Tomlin said he has not decided if Deshea Townsend or Bryant McFadden will start at right cornerback or if Ryan Clark or Anthony Smith will start at free safety.

"Bryant McFadden is a young guy who's on the rise," Tomlin said. "He's got starter skills. When you've got three guys capable of being starting corners, that's a good problem, and I think we have that."

Making the best of it

Because heavy rains flooded the practice field and forced the Steelers to cancel their morning practice at Saint Vincent College, Tomlin decided to move the afternoon practice to the team's indoor training facility on the South Side.

But even that decision backfired a little.

Less than a half hour into practice, a vicious thunderstorm accompanied by high winds knocked out the power in the indoor facility and forced the players to stand around in darkness for nearly 15 minutes. The rain was whipping sideways so hard the doors at each end of the facility had to be closed.

"We have to be light on our feet," Tomlin said, referring to the decision to bus the players -- in full uniform -- to the South Side. "The way we deal with the unforeseen will define us a little bit."

Big Ben just fine

Despite having his foot stepped on in practice Wednesday, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he was fine and went through practice without a problem.

Tomlin said Roethlisberger and most of the other starters will play about as much as they did Sunday night in the Hall of Fame Game victory against the New Orleans Saints.

"We want to approach this thing the same way," Tomlin said. "This is our first preseason game of the official four, so we're taking the same approach that we really kind of took from that standpoint last week."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07222/808431-66.stm
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Old 08-10-2007, 02:48 AM   #66
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Default Re: 2007 Steelers Training Camp Notebook Articles

Parker... SOunds good.. I like the fact that if there is an injury, it comes from the fact that he worked out too hard in the off season. He will find a good balance in the years to come. The body needs time to recoup.

Ben... Hey, if a car at 30 miles an hour cant stop him, a step on the foot won't stop him either.

Chucky... I get worried about "Back" injuries to him... cause the back is attached to the neck, and do you all remember the serious neck injury he had in camp last year? Yeah, just how high up on the back is this?

Faneca... I just remember something about not being able to play through injuries as much this year because of the contract situation. Is that what is happening? Probably not. However, when you whine and cry, people start doubting you.
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Old 08-10-2007, 09:28 AM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Preacher View Post
Faneca... I just remember something about not being able to play through injuries as much this year because of the contract situation. Is that what is happening? Probably not. However, when you whine and cry, people start doubting you.
That's the first thing that came to my mind when I heard about Faneca's 'injury'. I'm sure it's a combination of not getting his contract and taking a few veteran days off during TC. I'm not doubting is shoulder is sore, but I have to wonder if he would be sitting out if it were 2003 or 2004? Eh, he will be ready by September 9 so I guess that's all that matters.

Also, excellent point on Okobi. I completely forgot about his neck injury last season. While it's hard for me to say the two are related, much like the Faneca situation it does make you wonder. I'm not exactly sure where on Okobi's back he is hurting, but like I said a few days ago, he was down for about five minutes on the field and now he has missed his second day of practice. Doesn't sound good. Back problems tend to linger outside of football, imagine playing center in the NFL with back problems? Ouch.

We could be seeing a good bit of Mahan this season. Hell, at five-years, $17 million with a $4 million signing bonus I would hope so.
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Old 08-10-2007, 03:49 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43 View Post
That's the first thing that came to my mind when I heard about Faneca's 'injury'. I'm sure it's a combination of not getting his contract and taking a few veteran days off during TC. I'm not doubting is shoulder is sore, but I have to wonder if he would be sitting out if it were 2003 or 2004? Eh, he will be ready by September 9 so I guess that's all that matters.

Also, excellent point on Okobi. I completely forgot about his neck injury last season. While it's hard for me to say the two are related, much like the Faneca situation it does make you wonder. I'm not exactly sure where on Okobi's back he is hurting, but like I said a few days ago, he was down for about five minutes on the field and now he has missed his second day of practice. Doesn't sound good. Back problems tend to linger outside of football, imagine playing center in the NFL with back problems? Ouch.

We could be seeing a good bit of Mahan this season. Hell, at five-years, $17 million with a $4 million signing bonus I would hope so.
Yep..

and if it is at ALL serious... please, chukky, retire. not because i don't like you, but because I want you to be able to enjoy life without tremendous back/neck pain.
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Old 08-14-2007, 08:23 AM   #69
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Default Re: 2007 Steelers Training Camp Notebook Articles

Steelers Notebook: Timmons returns, but is limited
No. 1 draft pick goes through light workout

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Lawrence Timmons was back on the practice field yesterday. That's one small step for the Steelers' top rookie, but no giant leaps -- Timmons was limited in what he was permitted to do.

"Today was a non-contact day, just taking it light, that's all," Timmons said.

The linebacker put on the uniform and pads, however, which was something he had not done since July 27, when his groin was re-injured in a morning practice.

Timmons refuses to believe he has been set back by the injury, either mentally or physically.

"I never heard that from any coaches. I go to meetings just like everybody else, so I don't feel any dropoff. I'm still rehabbing. Just being on the field is the only thing."

Timmons got an injection to help with the swelling last week. The Steelers said he visited a doctor in Philadelphia for the treatment. Yesterday, they amended that to say it was a visit to Duke University in North Carolina after Timmons said he never made a trip to Philadelphia.

Coach Mike Tomlin said it was good to see Timmons back, even in a limited way.

"It's time to start marching back. We'll look at it day to day. I think the biggest thing is what he's capable of doing mentally and where he is from a conditioning standpoint. That's going to dictate how quickly he comes back."

Some special messages

Tomlin sent a few messages to his special teams. First, he signed a second long-snapper to compete with Greg Warren, then he added a live place-kicking protection drill to afternoon practice.

The drill lasted 12 plays, and there were no blocks, unlike Saturday night when Jeff Reed's extra-point attempt was blocked. Green Bay's Michael Montgomery bolted between Warren and right guard Chris Kemoeatu to block the kick. Warren, the team's long snapper the past two seasons, discovered competition for his job when he took the field yesterday.

The Steelers released rookie linebacker Matt King and re-signed rookie long snapper Jared Retkofsky. Retkofsky was released by the Steelers four days before training camp opened. Warren had been the only long snapper in training camp until Retkofsky was re-signed.

"We just wanted to get some competition in here," Tomlin said. "We're excited about taking a look at him to see where he is."

Tomlin refused to specifically blame Warren for the blocked kick, but the intent became obvious.

Retkofsky (6 feet 5, 260 pounds) played at TCU, where he was a reserve defensive lineman and the team's long snapper.

Tomlin called the kick protection a glaring weakness and said that is why he called for the extra practice time.

"The only way we're going to make it disappear is if we make it disappear, so we came out today with the attitude that that was going to be the period today. We were going to address that issue. It's not a short-term issue."

Injury updates

Offensive left tackle Marvel Smith "had some tightening in his back," Tomlin said. "We gave him a day off and protected him from that standpoint.

"Chris Hoke has a knee injury, not significant, thankfully. The MRI came back negative, but he's going to need some time. We'll see where he is later in the week. Chukky Okobi has got a rib injury similar to what [outside linebacker] James Harrison had. We'll continue to monitor him, see where he is later in the week. Maybe he can play; maybe he can't. Jerame Tuman has some discomfort in his back. We'll see where he is in the morning."

Offensive guard Alan Faneca (shoulder) returned after not practicing last week and missing the game Saturday night. Harrison (ribs) returned to practice. Running back Willie Parker (knee), held out of his second game, practiced.

Rookie defensive lineman Derrick Jones (calf) did not practice.

Position battles

Ryan Clark, who gave way to Anthony Smith as the starter Saturday night, was back with the first team at free safety in practice.

Willie Colon continued to run with the first team at right offensive tackle. Max Starks played left tackle with Marvel Smith out.

Cornerback Deshea Townsend continued to run with the first-team defense ahead of Bryant McFadden, and offensive right guard Kendall Simmons stayed ahead of Chris Kemoeatu.

With Harrison back practicing with the first team at right outside linebacker, Clark Haggans moved back to the left side and rookie LaMarr Woodley ran behind Haggans.

Quote to note

Hines Ward, on trash-talking in the NFL: "Trash-talking is just trying to get into somebody's mind mentally and try to take them out of their game."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07226/809275-66.stm
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Old 08-15-2007, 07:52 AM   #70
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Steelers Notebook: Parker will play against Redskins
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pro Bowl running back Willie Parker has his fifth gear back and will play for the first time Saturday night when the Steelers face the Washington Redskins in a preseason game in Landover, Md.

Parker missed 10 days of practice and did not play in the first two preseason games because of a strained muscle in the back of his left knee. He said last week he wanted to play against the Redskins but didn't think the coaching staff would use him.

But coach Mike Tomlin said yesterday Parker will play with the rest of the starters, who are expected to get about 20 snaps against the Redskins.

"I think I'm ready now," Parker said after going through a full afternoon practice. "I'm 100 percent. It's the other things I need to work on, like the plays. I'm trying to get that back in my memory bank."

Parker's injury prevented him from accelerating.

"Right now, he looks pretty good," Tomlin said. "He tells us he has that fifth gear back. You know how those high-performance athletes are. He's feeling like he's got the fifth."

Big Ben OK

The Steelers received a brief scare near the end of their afternoon practice when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger injured his throwing hand on a helmet.

But Roethlisberger was pronounced fine after an examination by team doctors in the locker room and is scheduled to practice today.

The injury occurred when he followed through on a pass and hit his right hand on a helmet during 11-on-11 drills.

Injury update

Safety Anthony Smith sustained an abdominal-related injury during practice and sat out the rest of the afternoon session.

Tomlin said he didn't think the injury was serious, but he said it was too soon to speculate. Asked if Smith would miss the game against the Redskins, Tomlin said, "I would hope that he wouldn't, but I'm not a doctor."

Left tackle Marvel Smith (back), center Chukky Okobi (ribs) and nose tackle Chris Hoke (knee) did not practice. Tight end Jerame Tuman (back) returned to practice.

Outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (groin), the team's No. 1 pick, continued to do light workouts in uniform, but has not participated in any contact drills.

"Probably not as quickly as he or I would like," Tomlin said, when asked when Timmons will resume full practice, "But we're dealing with it."

Quick hits

Wide receiver Nate Washington made a nice leaping catch in the end zone of a pass by No. 3 quarterback Brian St. Pierre.

Outside linebacker James Harrison and running back Verron Haynes staged the best battle in the 1-on-1 blocking drill pitting running backs against linebackers. Harrison twice bowled over Haynes in a simulated blitz, but Haynes got his revenge when he stuffed Harrison another time.

Today's 2:55 p.m. practice is the next-to-last session that is open to the public before camp ends Friday morning.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07227/809478-66.stm
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