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Old 08-27-2006, 03:28 AM   #1
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Default LeBeau: 'This will be a big week for us'

LeBeau: 'This will be a big week for us'

By Mike Prisuta
Sunday, August 27, 2006

The game was over, but Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau wasn't about to stop coaching.
"I've already talked to a lot of our guys as we came in from the field that this is a really important week to grow on the practice field," LeBeau said after Friday night's 16-7 preseason loss in Philadelphia. "This will be a big week for us, this last week of the preseason."

The Steelers conclude the preseason Thursday night against Carolina and open the preseason Sept. 7 against Miami.

The first-team defense didn't allow a touchdown for the first time in the preseason. The Steelers also registered a preseason-high three sacks, all against starting quarterback Donovan McNabb.

"We did a better job on third down," coach Bill Cowher said.

The Steelers held the Eagles to a preseason-low 31-percent success rate on third-down conversions (4 for 13).

But cornerback Ike Taylor dropped two interceptions, and linebacker Larry Foote dropped one. And cornerback Ricardo Colclough surrendered a 61-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.

"I thought we made some strides," LeBeau said. "We dropped those interceptions, and any of those plays could have made the difference. And we gave up one big one. I think a lot of those things we can learn and grow from."


The Steelers are one loss away from their first winless preseason under Cowher.

They fell to 0-3 in the preseason for the first time under Cowher on Friday night.

"I look at halves with our groups," he said. "The preseason, to me, is about your first units, how efficient they are out there. And, once that takes place, then, to me, it's about an evaluation of personnel.

"We're trying to make the right decisions on the 53-man roster, get experience for the people that will be playing roles that could change, so it's invaluable experience for them to see what their role might be. So, that, to me, is what it's about.

"And, at the same time, you're trying to win the game, but I think you still have to prioritize what you're looking for as you come out of it."

The Steelers went 1-3 in the preseason under Cowher in 1994, '95, '99 and 2003.

Not many happy returns

Rookie Willie Reid has apparently all but been officially anointed as the Steelers' punt returner.

On kickoffs, the Steelers opened with Santonio Holmes and Quincy Morgan deep against the Eagles, then shifted to Holmes and Reid.

The return games have yet to click, regardless of the combinations.

"I feel OK about the returners," Cowher said. "We're trying to look at different people (as blockers). Some of the guys that are going to be out there -- the Clint Kriewaldts, the James Harrisons -- they have not been out there on a regular basis. And I know they're going to be there, and that should help us dramatically.

"But, at the same time, we're just not in sync."

Cowher used kicker Jeff Reed to illustrate the dangers of trying younger players on special teams.

Reed missed a 50-yard field goal in the third quarter with first-year punter Mike Barr holding.

"Not a good hold," Cowher said.

Reed then "kinda pulled the one to the left" on a subsequent failed 47-yard attempt with his normal holder, Chris Gardocki.

"There's a fine line between trying to look at the other people and making sure that it doesn't tinker with the confidence that you have established," Cowher said.

QB or not QB?

Omar Jacobs and Shane Boyd continued treading water in their attempt to prove worthy of the No. 3 quarterback job.

Boyd was intercepted and lost a fumble. And Jacobs lost a fumble.

"We had (three) turnovers with those two kids, so it wasn't one of their more stellar games," Cowher said.

Next week

Colclough started at right cornerback in place of Deshea Townsend (thumb), but in the event Townsend can't play in Carolina, Bryant McFadden may get a start, in the interest of getting equal time with Colclough.

"We may kind of reverse next week, with Bryant starting and Ricardo coming in," Cowher said.

It's a snap

After one preseason game at the position, right guard Kendall Simmons believes he can handle center.

And he's equally confident in Chris Kemoeatu handling right guard in the event Simmons is asked to handle center again.

"Oh yeah, big Chris can handle it; I know he can," Simmons said. "We were communicating. He said he hadn't heard that much talking in a while, because the second group doesn't talk that much.

"It was helping him out, because we were doing so much talking and directing traffic."
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: LeBeau: 'This will be a big week for us'

Yes,lots of questions!!!!! Who will be the 3rd string QB?????
He had no teeth, and he was slobbering all over himself. I'm thinking, 'You can have your money back, just get me out of here. Let me go be an accountant." I can't tell you how badly I wanted out of there." Denver rookie QB John Elway, on Jack Lambert, after Lambert and the Steelers knocked Elway out of his first game as a pro (1983)
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: LeBeau: 'This will be a big week for us'

When Mr.Dick LeBeau speaks , you better listen. I`m down with all his comments
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Old 08-27-2006, 12:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: LeBeau: 'This will be a big week for us'

I am VERY interested in seeing McFadden start next week...Not sure if I am sold on Colclough, he got beat like he had stole something on that long pass!!!
I think McFadden has much better instincts. I also like what they said about Kemoeatu, I think that kid is going to be a BEAST!!!..I thought he filled in fine... on a line that looked sluggish all night.
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