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Old 08-26-2009, 05:57 AM   #1
mmalone
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Default TE Johnson Improves his chances

By Mike Bires, Times Sports Staff
Published: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 11:37 PM EDT


PITTSBURGH — When training camp started on July 31, rookie tight end David Johnson was a long shot at best to earn a roster spot with the Steelers. But now, 27 days later, his chances have improved significantly.

For one thing, Johnson has gotten better and better on the practice field. Then on Tuesday, coach Mike Tomlin said that Sean McHugh, a third-team tight end last year, needs arthroscopic knee surgery.

McHugh, who missed Saturday’s preseason game in Washington, was to be operated on this morning. Tomlin called it “some clean up surgery.” So there’s a chance McHugh may miss the final two exhibitions.

A seventh-round pick who was the 241st player taken in this year’s NFL Draft, Johnson has yet to catch a pass in the two preseason games. But he’s blocking well both at tight end or occasionally when he's lined up as a fullback.

“The best thing I’ve been doing is just adjusting (to the pro game),” said Johnson, who played at Arkansas State. “I’m learning from the vets every day and I’m just fighting for a job.”

MORE INJURY NEWS

Besides McHugh and third-team quarterback Dennis Dixon (separated shoulder), three other Steelers missed practice Tuesday with injuries.

Wide receiver Santonio Holmes sat out after taking a helmet to the back Saturday in Washington.

Tomlin said Holmes “will participate here soon (at practice).” But Holmes told the NFL Network that he may miss Saturday’s game against Buffalo. Stay tuned.

Running back Willie Parker, who scored the Steelers’ only touchdown Saturday, sat out with a tender hamstring.

“He’ll be fine,” Tomlin said.

Running back/fullback Frank “Tank” Summers is still hobbled with a hamstring injury that kept him out of Saturday’s game in Washington. He’ll likely miss the game against the Bills.

Tackle Jason Capizzi was limited Tuesday due to a sore shoulder.

Wide receiver Hines Ward isn’t hurt but was given the day off by Tomlin.

FIRST GAME PLAN

For the first and only time this preseason, the Steelers are actually putting in a game plan for Buffalo.

“We have a legitimate, simulated (regular-season) game week,” Tomlin said. “We laid the foundation (Tuesday) for our game plan in all three phases, offense, defense and special teams.”
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Old 08-26-2009, 05:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: TE Johnson Improves his chances

TE - Dave Johnson

1. “He’s the first guy I’ve ever seen knock James Harrison an inch backward,” said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. “Not a foot, but an inch, anyway.

2. “He’s just so powerful when we put him up against linebackers. And against our defensive ends, he really stood out. You talk to those guys, they say, ‘Man, this kid’s got some punch.’ And he can run and catch.”

3. “If he continues to come around, we might have found a jewel because that’s the guy who can also play fullback,” Arians said.

Not a bad day’s work for the guy now being labeled “one of the biggest surprises in training camp.” At 6′2 260lb he can play TE or FB. We pulled a few of his clips and sorted them in the 70 second video we posted below. There might be a Frank Summers sighting in the video as well.

It’s funny how the FB/TE/RB debate is turning out to be the most heated battle in camp. Bruce Arians doesn’t really use traditional fullbacks but he likes using 3 TE sets. The one “true FB” on the roster from last year is Carey Davis and most Steeler fans have no clue why this guy is even on the team…..yet the media is telling us that Davis is a LOCK to survive roster cuts.
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Old 08-26-2009, 06:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: TE Johnson Improves his chances

I love what I've read about Johnson

I'd like to see them give him a chance to lead-block in some short yardage situations
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Old 08-26-2009, 06:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: TE Johnson Improves his chances

It's funny that the headline states "improves his chances". An injury to another player? Really. I guess I don't get it unless he actually caused the injury.

Chances have improved, not improved his chances.

I was hoping to read that his play was the determining factor.
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Old 08-26-2009, 07:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: TE Johnson Improves his chances

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelMember View Post
I was hoping to read that his play was the determining factor.
I dunno - I got out of mesa's original post that Johnson's play IS somewhat of a determining factor thus far:

Quote:
For one thing, Johnson has gotten better and better on the practice field.

But he’s blocking well both at tight end or occasionally when he's lined up as a fullback.
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Old 08-26-2009, 07:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: TE Johnson Improves his chances

Quote:
Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
I dunno - I got out of mesa's original post that Johnson's play IS somewhat of a determining factor thus far:
I understand, and have read that also. I'd just like to hear it from multiple sources. It would make my prediction of him pushing McHugh out of the #3 TE spot more legit. I say McHugh, because I don't think they're ready to give up on Spaeth yet. Although he is probably the weakest (legit)TE at this point.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: TE Johnson Improves his chances

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelMember View Post
I understand, and have read that also. I'd just like to hear it from multiple sources. It would make my prediction of him pushing McHugh out of the #3 TE spot more legit. I say McHugh, because I don't think they're ready to give up on Spaeth yet. Although he is probably the weakest (legit)TE at this point.
From what I hear...I will be happy with either McHugh or Johnson....especially if they can get Davis off our roster.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:03 AM   #8
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Default Re: TE Johnson Improves his chances

here is a video of Johnson from the 1st game: http://vimeo.com/6205690
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:29 AM   #9
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Default Re: TE Johnson Improves his chances

Quote:
It's funny that the headline states "improves his chances". An injury to another player?
yeah - I saw that too

Johnson gets a reprieve from the Turk while his competition gets cut on.

I guess that's just the way it goes.

Sucks for McHugh though.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:58 AM   #10
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Default Re: TE Johnson Improves his chances

Quote:
Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
I dunno - I got out of mesa's original post that Johnson's play IS somewhat of a determining factor thus far:
theres a line for that type of reading comprehension..

"Are you picking up what im laying down"....

i think arians from his 4 quotes is lovin this guy Johnson.....

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