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Old 08-14-2009, 06:35 AM   #1
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Default Sweed finally catching on in offense

Everyone noticed the difference in Limas Sweed, even the second-year receiver himself, who called it "night and day" from 2008 to 2009. His offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians, said he was playing faster because he was more comfortable with the offense. And Sweed said he was running better routes because he knew where he was supposed to be and understanding how to get open.

But the difference was more than that. It has been evident in training camp, where Sweed has been making tough catches and holding onto easy passes -- something he mostly didn't do last season, not even in practice.

And it was certainly evident last night in the Steelers' 20-10 preseason victory against the Arizona Cardinals at Heinz Field, a game that, if nothing else, was another positive step in Sweed's development.

"A very good step," Arians said.

It might not seem like much of an accomplishment that Sweed caught the first pass thrown to him against the Cardinals -- a leaping, two-handed catch of a Ben Roethlisberger pass for an 11-yard gain on third-and-10.

Or perhaps even that he caught a 45-yarder down the right sideline from Charlie Batch, a play in which Sweed adjusted his body and used his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame to catch the ball over cornerback Michael Adams, who was giving away 8 inches and nearly 40 pounds.

"That's something I try to do all the time -- take advantage of my size," Sweed said.

But, to the Steelers, it was significant, if for no other reason than Sweed did what he was supposed to do -- catch the ball. OK, it is the most basic tenet of a wide receiver, a task equivalent to a swimmer treading water. Still, it was something he didn't do much of last season.

Was there any bigger drop last season than a wide-open Sweed flubbing what would have been a 60-yard touchdown in the AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens?

To be sure, there was a flash of the old Sweed against the Cardinals, like when he dropped an out pass from Dennis Dixon at the Arizona 8 in the third quarter -- a muff that would have given the Steelers a first down.

Nonetheless, the catches -- two for 56 yards against the Cardinals -- outweighed the drops, and, for Sweed, that always has been the most basic barometer.

"He made a couple nice on a couple contested catches," Arians said. "He would have had a great night if he made that other third-down catch. I was real pleased."

The Steelers are counting on Sweed, last year's No. 2 draft choice, to be their third wide receiver, a role held last season by Nate Washington, who signed in free agency with the Tennessee Titans.

He will receive some competition from rookie speedster Mike Wallace, a third-round pick from Mississippi who had a nice 22-yard catch in the third quarter, and veteran Shaun McDonald. Dallas Baker, who began last season as the No. 4 receiver, also will give a modest push, especially if he continues to perform well at training camp. But Arians already has said the job is Sweed's to lose, and last night did nothing to loosen his grasp.

"I wanted to catch all the passes and that didn't happen," Sweed said. "But I take it as a positive building step."

Even his first catch was not ordinary. Sweed not only stretched both arms to catch Roethlisberger's high pass, he held on to the ball with both hands as he was tackled to the turf. Sweed even managed to pin the ball, David Tyree-style, against the helmet of linebacker Karlos Dansby.

"I knew he was going to have a great preseason this year," veteran receiver Hines Ward said. "What happened last year was last year. He is going to grow as a wide receiver and make some big plays for us."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09226/990840-66.stm
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Sweed finally catching on in offense

mcdonald, sweed and wallace stay the rest of the could bes end up wherever they end up.
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: Sweed finally catching on in offense

SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: Sweed finally catching on in offense

Nate who?

Sweed, Wallace, and MacDonald should all be able to fill in nicely, and the first two could end up being much better.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:29 AM   #5
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Default Re: Sweed finally catching on in offense

Sweed was good for 3 points last night.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: Sweed finally catching on in offense

Barring injuries, it will be

Holmes
Ward
Sweed
McDonald
Wallace
Baker (if they keep 6)
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:49 AM   #7
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Default Re: Sweed finally catching on in offense

Quote:
Originally Posted by onefortheotherhand View Post
SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:25 AM   #8
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Default Re: Sweed finally catching on in offense

He looked like he knew what he was doing out there last night! SWEEEEEEEEEEEED! Hope he continues to work hard....learn from Ward, and he could be a great 3rd weapon for us!
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Sweed finally catching on in offense

This kid is going to be special. He has the skill set, the size, and most importantly, the drive and willingness to do whatever it takes to be successful. This is why rookies should always get a mulligan on their rookie seasons unless they pull a Ben - that is the time they are learning and adjusting to playing in the NFL.
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: Sweed finally catching on in offense

Many of our 2nd year players looked pretty good last night...Mendy was OK, Sweed had couple good plays, Davis looked good...etc. Nice to see them contributing after a year of learning. Hope it keeps happening.
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