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Old 05-08-2009, 09:53 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Time to Make Your Money: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Battles

Time to Make Your Money: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Battles
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1...les/show_full#
by Josh Sanchez (Member)

This is an exciting time for a lot of fans. The NFL Draft is over, the free agency period has slowed down, and now it's time to start early evaluations on your teams roster. In training camp, it is do or die time. This is where careers are made or careers are ruined.

For the rookies entering camp, make sure you study that playbook endlessly and do everything in your power to get noticed. For the unproven veterans, make sure you don't get outshined by a rookie, and for the starters...just don't do anything ridiculous and you'll have your job.

Every team has intriguing battles during camp and the Steelers have a few exciting ones as well.

Starting Right Guard: Darnell Stapleton vs Kraig Urbik

Darnell Stapleton was the starter this previous season, but with issues consistently surrounding the Steelers offensive line he shouldn't feel too comfortable. Urbik is a highly touted rookie who could very well end up winning this job.

Urbik was a tackle at Wisconsin, but he struggles in space so will get bumped inside. His size and the ability to be a mauler in the running game fits the mentality of the Steelers organization perfectly.

Fans are already on Urbik's side in this battle and as long as he continues to show the work ethic and intelligence that he had while he was a Badger, he should get the edge entering the season.

3rd Wide Receiver: Limas Sweed vs Mike Wallace vs Shaun McDonald

Limas Sweed was the Steelers second round pick last season and he really failed to impress. Coming out of Texas he was hampered by wrist injuries and it seemed like he never got the hang of the Pittsburgh offense.

His rookie year was littered with penalties and dropped passes, reminiscent of a young Plaxico Burress. There is some hope that Sweed can turn things around, but he has some stiff competition.

Mike Wallace was the one of the fastest wide receivers at the NFL Scouting Combine where he ran a sub- 4.3 40 yard dash. He struggles when it comes to blocking, but having a guy like Hines Ward as a mentor would work wonders for any wide receivers game.

The one aspect Wallace really contributes is in the return game, so if he doesn't win the third wide receiver position, I fully expect him to be the return man this season.

One of the newest editions to the Steelers family is Shaun McDonald. McDonald has the most experience out of this bunch. As the third wide receiver for Detroit in 2007, McDonald led the team in receptions(79) and yards(947).

McDonald was hampered by injuries last season and that along with financial issues ultimately led to his release.

This will be one of the most intriguing battles and the one I am most excited to see. When all is said and done it will likely be Limas Sweed who has the edge due to his previous experience in the offense.

2nd/3rd Cornerback: Deshea Townsend vs William Gay vs Keenan Lewis


Losing cornerback Bryant McFadden may have been one of the biggest losses for Pittsburgh this season. It leaves the team with a big question mark at the postion.

Deshea Townsend has been a familiar face to fans, but he was benched last season in favor of McFadden. It is very possible that Townsend, who will be 34 early into the season, is seeing his last run as a Steeler.

He doesn't appear to have much left and when he does see the field, he usually gets a good view of the back of opposing receivers jerseys.

William Gay has been a favorite of the coaching staff since he first made the roster. Gay is incredible in zone coverage and really has that ball-hawking mentality. He may have the best nose for the ball in the secondary outside of Troy Polomalu. He isn't the tallest of guys (5'8) but he has the swift hips and awareness that it takes to be successful.

Lewis is a rookie who was drafted in the third round. Lewis has very good size for a corner (6'1, 208) and he has the physicality to contribute in run defense. He doesn't have the best speed, but has he intelligence and collegiate experience to make up for it.

I expect William Gay to win a starting spot and Deshea Townsend should be the third corner.Although keep an eye out for Lewis, I think he could make a real significant impact.

Backup Quarterback: Charlie Batch vs Dennis Dixon


Charlie Batch missed last season with a broken collarbone while Dennis Dixon spent the year holding a clipboard as a rookie. With Byron Leftwich leaving for Tampa Bay, this job is completely up in the air.

Charlie Batch has long been a favorite of the Steelers fans and when he comes into the game there is no real need for concern, but will he be able to return to his fully healthy form?

Dennis Dixon is an extremely talented young guy who was a Heisman front runner and would have been a first day pick if not for a torn ACL in his final games as an Oregon Duck.

Backup quarterback is one of the most important positions on a football team, and this decision will not be made lightly. Due to the importance, I see Charlie Batch getting the nod due to his huge experience advantage over Dixon.

After this year Batch could call it a career and you could see Dennis Dixon as the new backup QB in Pittsburgh.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: Time to Make Your Money: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Battles

Dixon will be number 2 this year due to the style he can bring to the game at any certain time.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Time to Make Your Money: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Battles

I'm hoping....

Urbik
Sweed
Gay
Dixon
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Old 05-08-2009, 11:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Time to Make Your Money: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Battles

Dixon will be #2 unless ben gets hurt and then batch will be.
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Old 05-09-2009, 03:00 AM   #5
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Default Re: Time to Make Your Money: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Battles

I see the battles being won by:

Stapleton - Experience factor
Sweed - Too much talent not too win
Gay - This kid is gonna be good
Batch - He knows the offense inside and out and the team rallies around him when called upon.

On a side note, don't count out Dixon being used in a few packages a game. Miami may get the credit for the Wildcat but Pittsburgh was doing it with Kordell, in his slash role and most recently Randle El, long before Miami made it a house hold name. Look for Dixon to get 2-3 snaps a game as an added wrinkle to the Steelers offense.
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Old 05-09-2009, 03:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: Time to Make Your Money: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Battles

Whats the rule on this? If I'm not mistaking Dixon would have to be #2 to be able to sub him in and let Ben be able come back in afterwards... Is that right?
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Old 05-09-2009, 03:58 AM   #7
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Default Re: Time to Make Your Money: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Battles

I believe they can list Dixon as a WR / HB type to get around the rule. Ronnie Brown is not the #2 QB in Miami and he subs into the QB spot for the Wildcat. To be honest though I am not sure the exact rule. Good question bro.
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Old 05-09-2009, 05:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: Time to Make Your Money: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Battles

Quote:
Originally Posted by steelerguy26 View Post
I believe they can list Dixon as a WR / HB type to get around the rule. Ronnie Brown is not the #2 QB in Miami and he subs into the QB spot for the Wildcat. To be honest though I am not sure the exact rule. Good question bro.
I think the rules are that the #1 or #2 QB has to be on the field at all times on offense. So if you have a RB, WR -- or anyone else besides an officially listed QB -- line up behind center, either the #1 or the #2 quarterback still has to be on the field. If there is no QB on the field (or if the #3 guy comes in), the #1 and #2 QBs can't come back into the game.

When Kordell Stewart was early in his career and not listed as a QB, it led to a lot of weird situations where Neil O'Donnell or Mike Tomczak had to line up at wide receiver just because of that rule. This year, I remember seeing Chad Pennington and Joe Flacco as receivers when their teams ran the wildcat.

So if we listed Dixon as a HB/WR, we could bring him into the game, but either Big Ben or Batch would have to be on the field also. If Dixon was named as the #2, we could bring him in freely and do whatever we wanted.

Personally, I would just name Dixon as the #2 guy this year and be done with it. Because let's face it -- if Batch has to come into the game, it's probably a disastrous situation anyway.
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Old 05-09-2009, 07:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: Time to Make Your Money: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Battles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoes View Post
I'm hoping....

Urbik
Sweed
Gay
Dixon
I would say that is probably going to be the way it ends up.
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Old 05-09-2009, 09:50 AM   #10
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Default Re: Time to Make Your Money: Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Battles

Quote:
Originally Posted by steelreserve View Post

So if we listed Dixon as a HB/WR, we could bring him into the game, but either Big Ben or Batch would have to be on the field also. If Dixon was named as the #2, we could bring him in freely and do whatever we wanted.

Personally, I would just name Dixon as the #2 guy this year and be done with it. Because let's face it -- if Batch has to come into the game, it's probably a disastrous situation anyway.
i agree.. there would be no harm in placing him as the #2 qb behind ben... i think dixon can hold the clipboard just as well as batch can
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