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Old 08-22-2009, 12:14 AM   #1
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Default Steelers linebacker Davis still an outside shot

Steelers linebacker Davis still an outside shot
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...s_639531.html#
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bruce Davis roomed with LaMarr Woodley at Steelers' training camp for a second consecutive year, and it was not a coincidence.

"I was known to talk a little trash in college," Davis recalled of drawing Woodley as a camp roommate last year, "so Wood tells me that coach (Mike) Tomlin says to him: 'I'm going to stick this guy with you. See what he's all about, pound him down a little bit.' "

The Steelers are still waiting to see what Davis, a third-round pick in 2008, is all about. Davis may struggle to make the team this year even though the former UCLA star could have the fastest first step of any Steelers pass rusher - and that includes reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison.

Davis played so sparingly as a rookie that he is still eligible for the practice squad, and the 6-foot-3, 252-pounder didn't make one tackle in the five games he dressed last season.

Davis got off to a solid start in preseason play Aug. 13 when he intercepted a pass and recorded a tackle behind the line of scrimmage in the Steelers' 20-10 win over Arizona. He will get a chance to make another impression on the coaches tonight when the Steelers visit the Washington Redskins for a 7:30 p.m. exhibition game.

Depth chargers?
James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley are locks to start at outside linebacker, and the Steelers will likely keep two or three backups. Here are the candidates:
Player Ht/Wt Exp Notable
Patrick Bailey 6-4/235 2 Special-teams standout was Steelers' top rookie last season.
Bruce Davis 6-3/252 2 Third-round pick in 2008 has had few chances to show quick first step.
Andre Frazier 6-5/245 5 Has inside track to No. 3 outside linebacker job and is a special-teams stalwart.
Arnold Harrison 6-3/241 4 The consummate battler is trying to make it back from a second major knee injury in three seasons.

"He's still got a lot of work to do, but he's come along OK," Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler said. "He's better than he was last year. There's still some things I'd like to see him do better."

Helping Butler to that end is Woodley.

He constantly pushes Davis to study his playbook and doesn't spare any candor when it comes to his St. Vincent College roommate. His critique of Davis' play after the Cardinals game is a good example of the latter.

"I told Bruce he's got to get to the quarterback a little more, use some of that speed and start attacking the quarterback," Woodley said. "Because out of all of our outside linebackers, I think he gets off the ball the fastest."

Davis, second on UCLA's all-time sacks list with 29, is trying to hone the power moves in his pass-rushing repertoire and become a better all-around player.

While Woodley and Harrison are entrenched as the starters at outside linebacker, the Steelers need quality depth at the position. That is especially true now that Lawrence Timmons, who served as the Steelers' third outside linebacker last season, is starting inside alongside James Farrior.

What may ultimately determine how much Davis helps the Steelers this season - or simply stays with them - is whether he can convince Tomlin he can contribute on special teams.

"No doubt about that," said Davis, who was passed on the depth chart by undrafted rookies Patrick Bailey and Donovan Woods last season because they were better on special teams. "I've worked really hard on that, and I'm going to continue to work hard. I want to earn my keep.

"My draft status, none of that matters. It's a new start, and I've still got to make the team. I've got to get my seat on the bus."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.
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Old 08-22-2009, 04:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers linebacker Davis still an outside shot

I look forward to playing against him when he's on the Cardinals next year. Interesting player, but it looks like he's got a couple shortcomings that quickness made up for in college, but not in the NFL.
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Old 08-22-2009, 07:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers linebacker Davis still an outside shot

I know Tomlin will pick the est back ups for the team, no matter where they were drafted...
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Old 08-22-2009, 11:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers linebacker Davis still an outside shot

The only thing that saves Davis this year is his "potential". He has a speed and quickness, but has yet to display the learning of technique and strength to take on blockers.

Last week he was just at the right place at the right time which made it look like he did OK. I still think he has way more upside at OLB than Patrick Bailey........but Bailey is a special teams demon where Davis is not. Still gonna be interesting, but I think Davis makes the 53 again.
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers linebacker Davis still an outside shot

I think that Davis makes the team.

Patrick Bailey and Andre Frazier have proven through ST's that they can contribute...but Arnold Harrison's injury history may make him expendible for a young OLB with potential.

Has anyone noticed how Davis has bulked up? When he was first drafted I remarked about his small biceps and thin build. The training camp pics from this year show a more buff young man with some nice sized guns!!! He is definately hitting the weight room!!
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers linebacker Davis still an outside shot

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Originally Posted by lamberts-lost-tooth View Post
I think that Davis makes the team.

Patrick Bailey and Andre Frazier have proven through ST's that they can contribute...but Arnold Harrison's injury history may make him expendible for a young OLB with potential.

Has anyone noticed how Davis has bulked up? When he was first drafted I remarked about his small biceps and thin build. The training camp pics from this year show a more buff young man with some nice sized guns!!! He is definately hitting the weight room!!
lets trade davis and bailey for Rey Maualuga.....
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers linebacker Davis still an outside shot

Davis played so sparingly as a rookie that he is still eligible for the practice squad

well, there's always that
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers linebacker Davis still an outside shot

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Originally Posted by mmalone View Post
lets trade davis and bailey for Rey Maualuga.....
Heck...if people are taking those kind of trades I say we trade Urbik & Essex for Ryan Clady!!!
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers linebacker Davis still an outside shot

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Originally Posted by lamberts-lost-tooth View Post
Heck...if people are taking those kind of trades I say we trade Urbik & Essex for Ryan Clady!!!
see if we were running the show, we would have two problems solved already...

this is fun.

now lets sign parker and trade him for a high first round and pick up O'dowd C or taylor mays FS..

and a second rounder, since we will be picking 32nd again.
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