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Old 08-21-2006, 03:16 AM   #1
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Default Position Battles

The Breakdown

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
-- He was not trying to emulate the K-Gun offense formerly employed by the Buffalo Bills. He wasn't even trying to be Tommy Gun. But he ran the no-huddle offense for the first time in Saturday night's 17-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and he did it with aplomb -- producing the Steelers' only touchdown with a 16-yard pass to wide receiver Cedrick Wilson in the first series. The Steelers had the no-huddle offense in their playbook -- they call it "Texas" -- but they haven't used the attack since Tommy Maddox was their starting quarterback, said offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. Based on the results, the Steelers might even use it more. "Other teams have done it and had success with it," Whisenhunt said. "It will be part of our package because it's another dimension that somebody else has to work on."

Wide receiver Nate Washington -- He did not catch a pass in the preseason opener in Arizona, but he had three catches for 53 yards against the Vikings, including a 20-yarder. For the second game in a row, he ran a reverse, this time on the first play from scrimmage. Washington gained 20 yards to the Vikings' 35 to help set up the first touchdown.

Center Chukky Okobi -- Coach Bill Cowher said after the game he will give right guard Kendall Simmons some time at center in Friday night's game in Philadelphia. But the urgency to ensure depth behind All-Pro center Jeff Hartings might not be so great because Okobi, who had neck surgery Aug. 9, said he is planning to return against the Carolina Panthers in the final preseason game Aug. 31. "Ever see the X-Men? Wolverine?" Okobi said. "That's how I heal." Okobi, though, doesn't have a claw.

Running back Verron Haynes -- All he does is gain yards every time he touches the ball. Haynes is the team's third-down back and is not about to lose his job anytime soon. He caught three passes for 31 yards and carried two times for 9 yards.

Free safety Ryan Clark -- He admitted to jitters in his first start since being acquired in free agency from the Washington Redskins, which might explain a missed tackle behind the line on running back Chester Taylor on third down. Clark atoned for the mistake when he later dropped Taylor for a 1-yard loss, but he understands he will continue to rotate at the position with Tyrone Carter, who will probably start against the Eagles. "Especially after missing the tackle," Clark said.

Inside linebacker Rian Wallace -- After getting a shot at outside linebacker in training camp, Wallace also got a shot at running back -- sort of -- against the Vikings. He intercepted a pass by Vikings quarterback Mike McMahon and made a nice run to return for 27 yards to set up Jeff Reed's 32-yard field goal.

Defensive end Shaun Nua -- Last year's seventh-round draft choice was the only casualty against the Vikings, sustaining a sprained ankle. But that might not be his only casualty. Nua has dropped to third team and might even be running behind rookie Orien Harris as the seventh defensive lineman.
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Old 08-21-2006, 07:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: Position Battles

Good read....
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