View Full Version : 2010 Steelers OTA updates & info.....

05-20-2010, 02:23 PM
It appears that Troy Polamalu has gone back to Southern California to resume his high-intensity spring workouts with his personal trainer. Polamalu didn’t show up for Tuesday’s resumption of Offseason Training Activities (OTAs), and he’d hinted at minicamp that he might skip the remaining voluntary sessions in order to work with his trainer, as he had the previous two springs. Also missing was Hines Ward, who’s healing from a minor hamstring injury at minicamp.

Rookie fourth-round pick Thaddeus Gibson also missed, as expected. He’s bound by NCAA rules to remain off the field until his class graduates. It’s always a problem with Ohio State players, although rookie Doug Worthington was able to report to OTAs since he’s already graduated from OSU.

Lineup changes from last year: Byron Leftwich at QB, Doug Legursky at C, Will Allen at SS, and Mike Wallace and Antwaan Randle El at WR. Legursky is filling in for Justin Hartwig, who suited up but only snapped in the 7-on-7 drills as his shoulder heals from surgery.

As for the quarterback situation, Leftwich plays better with each practice, but it seems as if Dennis Dixon plays worse. Charlie Batch has been the most consistent quarterback. He doesn’t have Leftwich’s arm strength, but can drop an intermediate pass into the right hands for big gains. In fact, Batch threw a beauty to tight end David Johnson, who had a step on rookie OLB Jason Worilds about 25 yards down the field along the sideline, but Johnson dropped it.

Leftwich is beginning to have some fun with speedster Wallace. Leftwich slightly underthrew the receiver on a completed deep ball early in practice, and two plays later – with the nervous CB playing well off Wallace – threw a laser to Wallace on a slant over the middle that went for a big gain. Late in practice, Leftwich hit Wallace in stride on a deep pass.

On the other hand, Dixon made two of the worst throws in Tuesday’s practice. On the first, he attempted to throw an out to rookie Antonio Brown but Anthony Madison stepped in front and intercepted it for a touchdown. Dixon was also intercepted by diving safety Tuff Harris on a pass over the middle without an offensive player in the area.

Here are some other practice notes from Tuesday:

* William Gay accidently blew up Eugene Bright when he broke up a helmet-high pass to the tight end.

* Arnaz Battle and Will Allen were the first gunners to work, but Battle wouldn’t consider that to be any kind of promotion over Madison. My interview with Battle will be posted a little bit later.

* During the third-down portion of practice, the Steelers stuck with their nickel defense. On one play, ILB Lawrence Timmons lined up over Randle El in the slot and blanketed him before going over Randle El’s shoulder to break up a short pass.

* On another third-down play, Allen lined up over Battle in the slot, and had good coverage, but Battle rose up to snag a high Leftwich fastball that left Allen muttering to himself.

* One play after Madison stepped in front of Brown for his pick-six, Dixon went right back to the rookie from Central Michigan but Brown dropped the easy pass.

* The second-team OL, from left to right, is: Jonathan Scott, Ramon Foster, Kraig Urbik, Maurkice Pouncey, Tony Hill.

* Gay played some safety during 7-on-7 drills.

* Wallace and Rashard Mendenhall were the only players used on kickoff returns.

* I asked someone in the know whether the Vikings feared the Steelers when the Vikes traded up in the second round to draft Toby Gerhart. “I don’t know,” he said. “But I know we loved Jason Worilds.”

* Stefan Logan went in motion the wrong way and drew the ire of an assistant coach. Logan then went the right way and caught the short pass. I believe it’s further proof that the Steelers are making an effort to include Logan more in the offense.

* Rookie fullback Demetrius Taylor caught another short pass and rumbled down the sideline for a big gain. The 273-pounder looks interesting.

* Later, rookie tailback Jonathan Dwyer took a handoff and cut off right tackle for an impressive run. He looked fast and powerful, but when someone asked Mike Tomlin what he thought about Dwyer, the coach just said, “He’s a rookie wearing shorts.”

* Gotta love that.

By Jim Wexell
Posted May 18, 2010
News and notes from OTA's #3 by Jim Wexell.....

05-20-2010, 04:39 PM
I think Dixon should be getting more work than Leftwich at this point. I understand wanting to get Byron acclimated to the offense again and all that, but he's a vet so he's going to catch on pretty quick. Dixon though, they need to force feed this dude reps constantly and get keep his confidence up. Right now the starting job in September is up for grabs but I'm still thinking that Dixon has a great shot at landing it unless he just totally tanks this offseason and can't do anything.

05-20-2010, 05:26 PM
* Rookie fullback Demetrius Taylor caught another short pass and rumbled down the sideline for a big gain. The 273-pounder looks interesting


05-20-2010, 06:04 PM
* Rookie fullback Demetrius Taylor caught another short pass and rumbled down the sideline for a big gain. The 273-pounder looks interesting


Yea, I could wear a rainbow wig and a tutu and look pretty interesting, but I don't think I'm going to be on "Dancing with the Stars".

I thought Legursky did alright at fullback for goal line situations, they should stop wasting their time and get some more depth in the secondary if they want to bring in some UFA's.

05-20-2010, 06:20 PM
"As for the quarterback situation, Leftwich plays better with each practice, but it seems as if Dennis Dixon plays worse.

On the other hand, Dixon made two of the worst throws in Tuesday’s practice. On the first, he attempted to throw an out to rookie Antonio Brown but Anthony Madison stepped in front and intercepted it for a touchdown. Dixon was also intercepted by diving safety Tuff Harris on a pass over the middle without an offensive player in the area."

Oh what do you know, Dixon sucks. I mean who could have predicted this?

05-20-2010, 09:41 PM
From the sounds of it Dixon hasn't shown jack this OTA season yet....I think Lefty will get the nod...

05-21-2010, 03:24 AM
Can anyone post the other 2 OTAs available for us poor college kids who can't afford to be a member of SCI?

Layin the wood
05-21-2010, 07:49 AM
Leftwich should start. Dixon needs to prove himself in pre-season!!

05-21-2010, 10:21 AM
I don't know why Rashard and Wallace are the only ones were the only ones doing kickoff returns..I hope that's just an OTA thing.

05-21-2010, 10:42 AM
Leftwich should start. Dixon needs to prove himself in pre-season!!

you missed him in Tampa.. he was booed off the field after three regular season games.

maybe if dixon starts throwing to wallace and battle. and not the rookies he will look a little better.

imo.. dixon will end up the starter. just for the reason creating a young quality backup, he has to start..

right now in ota's, this is just reindeer games, batch has the shiny red nose so far.

05-21-2010, 11:08 AM
If they didn't intend to let Lefty start why did they trade a pick away for him?

I agree with you on Dixon only getting reps w/ rooks...Maybe this will all change come camp???

05-21-2010, 01:47 PM
Lefty was brought in for just this type of scenario. With Batch having injuries the last few years and Dixon still largely unproven they needed a 3rd option if for no other reason than insurance if one of them got hurt. Dixon will get his chances to win the job but he needs to get it in gear because every rep he gets this offseason will go a long way towards his improvement.

Byron did a great job for us 2 years ago when he was on the field, he moved the offense pretty well over all so it's no surprise that he's doing well so far.

Real Deal Steel
05-22-2010, 02:15 AM
Well, based on the reps, you have to say that Lefty is the favorite but it could be that since he was gone, they just want to force feed him and get him refamiliarized with the offense.

I know one thing, if Lefty is going to be the QB for those 4 games, they'd better shore up the pass blocking for sure. Better yet, just run the ball 2 out of three plays. :lol:

05-22-2010, 03:08 AM
Remember OTA is just a training activity, no pad and no full contact. so yea it's somewhat meaningful for the sake of staying in shape and learning the play's but not very many positions is based on OTA's. It's when training camp comes along in the summer when it come to full contact Dennis will be ready, he will be the starter. If they did not expect him to be a starter at this time of crisis they would have cut him like they did St. Pierre. And good point to those who said it Dennis will be more effective with the 1st team offense with people he knows that can run the right routes and breaks. and not fall down when the pass is in the air. which was one of those interceptions that was metioned earlier.

05-22-2010, 10:19 AM
"Well, based on the reps, you have to say that Lefty is the favorite"

I have to disagree. He and dixon are the ones who know the offense the least . Batch knows it probably as well as Ben does. Therefore It makes sense that the other 2 would get more reps now . Don't you guys be surprised that barring Batch getting hurt , that he is the opening day QB .

05-22-2010, 01:49 PM
I agree that Batch knows the playbook better than dixon and lefty but batch and lefty can not exectue the offense. when lefty was here a couple years ago all he did was fire the ball high over recivers heads, he was doing the same thing last year with tampa. Batch I have always thought of as a waste of space on the steelers lineup. He sucked in detroit, and I belive the only reason the steelers have kept him on this long is he is a pittsburgh product and he has great community relations. other than ben dixon is the only other one that has moved the offense and he did that on limited play calling as well. and almost pulled off the overtime win. he made one bad desicion that game and yea it cost him. look how many bad descions ben makes yea some work out and end up in disaster.

Real Deal Steel
05-22-2010, 02:26 PM
"Well, based on the reps, you have to say that Lefty is the favorite"

I have to disagree. He and dixon are the ones who know the offense the least . Batch knows it probably as well as Ben does. Therefore It makes sense that the other 2 would get more reps now . Don't you guys be surprised that barring Batch getting hurt , that he is the opening day QB .

We'll see. Dixon is my preference.

05-22-2010, 03:27 PM
Diesel, can you post OTA 4 and 5?

05-23-2010, 11:21 AM
Diesel, can you post OTA 4 and 5?
No problem, I'll post up up 1, 4 and 5, can't find #2 :yellowthumb:

05-23-2010, 11:26 AM
One writer compared the cloud of ash hanging over Europe to the cloud hanging over the Steelers’ South Side practice facility. Well, I sensed something similar as I walked to the far side of the practice field to settle in for the first OTA practice of the spring.

“I told you I don’t want those *******s NEAR this practice field!” Mike Tomlin shouted at the new PR intern while pointing at me and another writer.

OK, I thought to myself, this is to be expected.
And then Tomlin broke into a big smile, walked over, shook hands and asked about our families.

So, the ice was broken. I had wondered how Tomlin would handle the proceedings that day, and I liked the bombast and assertiveness.

Later, he called the practice “business as usual.” He also refuted a comment made by Willie Colon (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835629) that the Steelers now employ a “zero tolerance” stance on off-the-field trouble. Aaron Smith (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835665) supported the coach by saying, “Guys took it different ways in how they interpreted it.”

Regardless of what was said between head coach and players at the morning greet, Tomlin apparently said it with emotion. In my mind, his approach of upbeat bombast just might be the perfect tonic. What Colon heard is perhaps what he expected to hear.

And let me just say a few words about Colon. He appears to be fuming over the events of the last six weeks. At one point Monday, while standing up and fielding questions from a group of reporters after practice, he said, “I have a female family and they have to read negative things, so-called things that I’ve said.” I gave Colon a chance to set the record straight, but he declined. It was probably a good move.

But, really, I’d thought Colon came out of the mess in Milledgeville unscathed for the most part. I don’t recall anything negative written about him, other than the occasional message board post that, “He’s just another troublemaker out of the Bronx.”

Let me just say that Colon is far from that stereotype. If you know anything about him, you know he’s a guy who did all the right things to scratch and claw his way out of a difficult environment. He didn’t just get by with talent and catch a lucky break. No, he was raised by good people and kept his nose to the grindstone (and gridiron) to make it to the big time. In my opinion, Ben Roethlisberger (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835663) is helped more by Colon’s friendship than vice versa.

As for Colon’s anger, it probably doesn’t help him that he’s on track to become a restricted free agent for a third consecutive year next March, and that would be – because of bad timing and the lapsing of the CBA – an NFL record. He’s probably feeling as if he’ll never cash in the way his contemporaries have, and that the stink from Milledgeville won’t help his cause. But he’s a smart guy who’s scratched and clawed out of messes before. If he keeps his head, it’ll happen again.

Now, on the field, I was struck first by Kraig Urbik (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835672) playing center for the second-team line while the normal second-team center, Doug Legursky (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835648), played right guard on the same line.

This occurred during the first of three “team” scrimmage sessions, and I hadn’t counted heads on the first team. So I made sure to do so at the start of the next two team sessions, and I noticed Legursky was the first-team center.

I’m not sure what to make of it. Last year’s starter, Justin Hartwig (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835640), seemed healthy. He snapped in 7-on-7 drills (but injured centers will do that). Even if he was healthy, I wouldn’t know what to read into it. Were the Steelers taking one last look at Legursky before drafting Maurkice Pouncey (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4187046) on Thursday? I guess we’ll learn more Thursday night.

(http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835675)Hines Ward (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835675) was the only absent starter (Ryan Mundy (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835657) and Johnny Williams (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4840739) were the only players standing on the sideline without helmets, meaning they’re injured). So with Ward missing, and Santonio Holmes (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4314008) gone, Mike Wallace (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835674), Antwaan Randle El and Limas Sweed (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835669) received plenty of work. Wallace beat Ryan Clark (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4839238) and Troy Polamalu (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835659) by nearly five yards deep on one play, but Roethlisberger badly underthrew the pass.

Randle El was his typically loud and brash and positive self, and Sweed, wearing No. 80, caught everything thrown his way while all the coaches seemed to lay on the positive encouragement pretty thick.

Earlier in the day, Sweed had released a worthless statement that he was glad to be back at practice (after missing the last few weeks last season for “personal reasons,” but that was not addressed in the statement) and he was off-limits to reporters after practice.

Speaking of Sweed’s No. 80, here are the new players and their numbers: Adam Graessle (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4856291) 8, Jason Chery (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4840748) 13, Brandon London (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4856312) 15, Will Allen (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4839239) 26, David Pittman (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4856314) 30, Trae Williams (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4840743) 35, Derrick Doggett (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4852765) 45, Renauld Williams (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4856320) 48, Johnny Williams 53, Jonathan Scott (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4839221) 72, Arnaz Battle (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4852717) 81 and Randle El 82.

As for Allen wearing Deshea Townsend (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4314037)’s No. 26, it came as a bit of a surprise since Townsend’s still working out, still playing on the Steelers’ basketball team, and still hoping the team signs him after the draft.

Just a couple of other notes: Randle El and Stefan Logan (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835650) handled all of the punt-return duties, and Joe Burnett (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4840747), a second-team corner, broke beautifully on a pass, cut inside the receiver running a hitch, but dropped the interception.

On a more positive note, the second-team backfield of fullback Frank Summers (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835668) and tailback Isaac Redman (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835660) appears as if it’s ready to start the season. Both players appear to be in great shape and both worked Monday as if they were telling the team not to draft any running backs this week.

By Jim Wexell
Publisher SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Apr 20, 2010
News and notes from OTA #1 by Jim Wexell.

05-23-2010, 11:37 AM
This series won’t devolve into a daily spring QB analysis, but it leads off again today in fairness to Dennis Dixon (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835630). Number 10 came off his worst practice Tuesday with his best on Wednesday, but it was a practice in which Dixon was asked only to manage the short game. He didn’t have the opportunity to show off as a passer, but after a confidence-buster of a Tuesday practice, this step was necessary. Most importantly, Dixon didn’t make any mistakes Wednesday.

Dixon’s best pass was a cross-field throwback to tailback Isaac Redman (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835660) all alone on the sideline to gain 15, 20 yards. Dixon rolled right, looked for his primary receiver over the middle, and checked down to Redman. Dixon did get the chance to show off his mobility later by faking a handoff on a read-option play and sprinting around left end. The coaches liked it enough to blow the whistle on team drills for the day.

Odd Couple: Hines Ward (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835675) dressed like one of those coaches as the healing vet stood on the sideline poring over index cards and reviewing plays with teammates. Ward was a contrast to Dick LeBeau, a coach who dressed as a player by donning a No. 51 jersey.

LeBeau last year staunchly defended his defensive captain, No. 51 James Farrior (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835632), after Farrior was beaten on two critical fourth-down plays late in losses to Cincinnati and Baltimore. Seeing LeBeau in Farrior’s jersey brought to mind a draft-day quote from linebackers coach Keith Butler regarding Farrior and those two plays:
“We had him in a coverage we felt he could handle and he got out of position on both of them. I don’t know if it’s a sign he’s too old, but I think it’s a sign he didn’t use the proper technique to cover the guys; not that he doesn’t have the speed to do it because James can still run. I don’t think he has a problem running. His technique was faulty in both of those situations and it was a poor time to have faulty technique. He’ll tell you that.
“The thing about veteran football players, the reason they’ve stayed around long enough to become veteran football players, is they learn from their mistakes. Do they stop making mistakes when they’ve been in the league 13, 14 years? No, they don’t. They don’t make as many mistakes, but they still make them and the mark of a good professional is you don’t make the same mistake twice. James still runs as good as ever. He may not change direction as good as he used to, but he’s still a valuable member of this football team. And I tell him all the time, hey, there’s always someone coming to take your position in the National Football League, and James knows that.”
Attendance Report: Ben Roethlisberger (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835663) (league suspension), Troy Polamalu (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835659) (working out at home) and Thaddeus Gibson (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4937139) (NCAA rule) again missed practice, as expected, so the next time either of those names is mentioned is to change his status. The same goes for center Justin Hartwig (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835640) (off shoulder surgery), who only snaps in the contact-free 7-on-7 drills. Other than those players, Keyaron Fox (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835633), Brett Keisel (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835646) and James Harrison (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835639) also missed practice.

Daily Buzz: I stopped two team officials and asked them to name someone who’s impressed them this spring. Both said “Jonathan Dwyer (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4937137)” and both talked about the rookie runner’s speed, how he plays faster than his 4.7 40 time. Dwyer, though, didn’t receive much, if any, action Wednesday. The same occurred with rookie WR Emmanuel Sanders (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4937142), who was overthrown semi-deep by Charlie Batch (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4868685) and didn’t touch the ball again until he returned a kickoff at the end of the session. Sanders’ speed, though, was mentioned again by one of the aforementioned sources.

The Replacements: Nick Eason (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4892590), not Ziggy Hood, replaced Keisel at right defensive end. The second D-line, from left to right, was Hood, Chris Hoke (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835642) and Sunny Harris (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4852774); the third D-line was Doug Worthington (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4937188), Steve McLendon (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835653) and Scott Paxson (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835658). Replacing Harrison at ROLB was Andre Frazier (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835634). On the other side, second-team tackles Jonathan Scott (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4839221) and Tony Hills (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835641) switched sides Wednesday, with Hills at left tackle.

Notable Plays: QB Byron Leftwich (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4937089) threw a curl to primary receiver and fullback Frank Summers (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835668), but the ball bounced off Summers’ helmet-high hands and into the downfield arms of Heath Miller (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835655). Summers bounced back later by catching a Dixon flare out of the backfield in stride for a sizable gain.

* Mike Wallace (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835674) read the blitz the way Santonio Holmes (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4314008) wanted to against Cincinnati, and Leftwich hit him for a first down over the middle.

* Saddled with first-year third-teamers, Batch harshly checked out of a misalignment as both sides of the ball raised their chatter level with a series of calls and counter-calls. Batch took the snap, turned to his right to hand-off to … no one … and curled up to take a loss. To Batch’s credit, he didn’t chew anyone out.

* Antonio Brown (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4937116) showed shiftiness and quickness on a pass up the middle. The sixth-round pick also returned two of the four kickoffs during the teams drill that ended practice.

* Willie Colon (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835629) and Trai Essex (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835631) jumped out in front of a successful sweep to the right side. I’m seeing more of this play than in previous years.
Special Teams: Adam Graessle (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4856291) was the kickoff man on all four looks, and the first-year player from Pitt failed to impress. His kickoffs didn’t threaten the goal line and one knuckled low. Stefan Logan (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835650), Brown and Sanders were the return men.

By Jim Wexell
Posted May 19, 2010
News and notes from OTA# 4 by Jim Wexell.

05-23-2010, 11:39 AM
Dick LeBeau makes work interesting for us reporters along the sidelines. The venerable defensive coordinator showed up for work Thursday wearing his Aaron Smith (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835665) jersey. So, in order this week, LeBeau has worn his No. 44, James Farrior (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835632)’s 51, and Smith’s 91. Is he honoring NFL tenure?

“Tenure?” LeBeau repeated as he pointed to the questioner. “Well, that could be it. But you’ll have to see what’s coming next.”

Well, after LeBeau’s 52 seasons, and Farrior’s 14, and Smith’s 12, next Tuesday’s jersey number should be 98 in honor of Casey Hampton (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835637)’s 10th NFL season. At least that jersey should fit better than the tight No. 91 LeBeau wore Thursday

“I’m just in awe,” said the awestruck Smith. “I can’t believe that guy is wearing my jersey.”

Smith’s tenure probably has a little bit to do with an attitude that took him over to the blocking sled after Thursday’s practice.

Smith – who hasn’t taken a day off this spring (even though he could use his healing rotator cuff as a legitimate excuse) – joined fellow linemen Chris Hoke (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835642) and Brett Keisel (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835646) at the sled, where the three wise men gathered to help undrafted rookie Cordarrow Thompson (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4937165) with his fundamentals and footwork. After Thompson left, the three vets took turns hitting the sled, and then attempted to avoid the media by taking the backdoor into the weight room.

But they couldn’t sneak away quickly enough, and after the perfunctory Ben (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835663)
Roethlisberger (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835663) questions, they were asked why, as accomplished vets, they felt the need to stay so late after practice. But the defensive linemen weren’t the only players staying late.

Out on the field getting in some hand-eye work were David Pittman (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4856314), Antonio Brown (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4937116) and Isaiah Williams (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4959176) catching tennis balls with one hand after they were shot out of a machine; Dennis Dixon (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835630) working with first-year WR Jason Chery (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4840748) on the youngster’s routes; fullback Demetrius Taylor (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4937153) and tailback Stefan Logan (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835650) working on their backfield motions with RB coach Kirby Wilson; James Harrison (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835639) working on new steps at the tackling dummy with assistant coach and former linebacker Jerry Olsavsky; and Jeff (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835661)
Reed (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835661) spending time alone over at the kicking net.

Mike Tomlin took in the busy scene with a satisfied smile before departing.

Special Teams: Speaking of Reed, the placekicker took his turn kicking off Thursday and turned in a superior performance compared to those of the previous kickoff specialists this week, Piotr Czech (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4852757) and Adam Graessle (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4856291). Reed had much better hang time and distance than the others, putting return men Stefan Logan, Mike Wallace (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835674), Brown and Joe Burnett (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4840747) all inside the 10 and sometimes back to the goal line.

Attendance: After fuming to myself over the lack of reps and returns for rookie receiver Emmanuel Sanders (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4937142), I learned that Sanders and fellow rookie Jonathan Dwyer (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4937137) had left after warm-ups to attend a league function. Both were whisked away in a limo. Also, Hines Ward (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835675) and Keyaron Fox (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835633) remained on the sidelines in street clothes.

Team Scrimmage I: Byron Leftwich (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4937089) came out throwing darts to Wallace as the two continued to build their rapport. Leftwich also threw a laser to slot receiver Tyler Grisham (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835636), who jitterbugged his way through the secondary for a big gain. Dennis Dixon received only one snap and found converted fullback Demetrius Taylor along the sideline and the rookie caught and rumbled as if he’s been doing it his whole life.

Team Scrimmage II: In the hurry-up drill for the first team, these eyes, for the first time, watched Rashard Mendenhall (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835654) drop a pass. On the next play, Wallace blew past Anthony Madison (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835651), but Leftwich underthrew him. But in drawing contact, Wallace drew an imaginary flag at the one-yard line. Heath Miller (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835655) then made a difficult catch along the sideline to move the chains for the first team, and Arnaz Battle (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4852717) made a difficult catch over the middle. Leftwich quickly called the offense’s last timeout, at the 14, with 35 seconds left, and shouted to Battle, “Good snag, Hands, good snag.” Battle followed with a diving catch at the 4, Leftwich spiked the ball, and on third down threw a bullet low and away to Wallace, who pulled it in with his left hand for the touchdown. If Leftwich lacks touch in his short game, it doesn’t seem to faze Wallace.

The second team didn’t fare nearly as well in the hurry-up. After Dixon threw to Brown on the sideline for a first down, his quick out to Matt Spaeth (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4835666) was nearly intercepted by Pittman, who knew he should’ve scored a touchdown on the play. Dixon was intercepted a few plays later by rookie Crezdon Butler (http://pit.scout.com/a.z?s=68&p=8&c=1&nid=4937120) on an underthrown deep ball in the end zone. Butler has good size and showed good ball skills on the play. The 5b pick hasn’t been embarrassed by anyone yet and is setting a solid base for training camp.

By Jim Wexell
Posted May 20, 2010
News and notes from OTA #5 by Jim Wexell.

05-23-2010, 11:43 AM
Dwyer is going to be one of those guys, if he continues to show well this offseason, that will make the roster by sheer determination and the fact that you just can't get him off the field because he's a play maker. I like his potential and he could be one of the steals of the draft this year.

The QB carosel continues on, we won't know for sure who's gonna start till camp so until then Dixon needs to improve or he'll blow his chance, this is a golden opportunity for him.

05-23-2010, 12:41 PM
thanks diesel, you da man!

05-23-2010, 02:56 PM
Much appreciated Diesel!

Looks like Crezdon Butler is making a name for himself based on the past 3 OTAs. Is Keenan Lewis even playing? He was probably the only other pick last year outside Wallace that I was intrigued about.

As with Wexell, I too am bit concerned with the lack of snaps Emmanuel Sanders is getting in favor of Arnaz Battle. I was hoping he was signed primarily to play special teams.

Oh and lol at Dixon, our starting quarterback for the first 4-6 games. I wonder how many interceptions it takes to put him on the 3rd team behind Charlie Batch.

05-23-2010, 03:15 PM
Diesleman, thank you so much! I have been so needy of actual football information and you came through like a champ! YOU ROCK!

05-23-2010, 09:41 PM
No problem guys.....:yellowthumb:

Dobre Shunka
05-24-2010, 12:02 AM
I too eat up as much info as I can get from camps.

Thanx Diesel.:tt02::tt02:

05-27-2010, 06:53 PM
Just wanted to drop a little information, be careful using OTAs in titles and things, it comes up on google searches. Also, some member at the site where the OTAs came from posted a link to one of your threads. The members were quick to point it out.

I appreciate the effort, just giving heads up.

05-30-2010, 02:59 PM
Just wanted to drop a little information, be careful using OTAs in titles and things, it comes up on google searches. Also, some member at the site where the OTAs came from posted a link to one of your threads. The members were quick to point it out.

I appreciate the effort, just giving heads up.

The thread link posted is for a member at Stillers.com, who is also a member here. Thanks for the heads up, I renamed this thread.

06-01-2010, 04:50 AM
OTA No. 7
Dick LeBeau wore James Harrison’s No. 92 today, perhaps to mark the linebacker’s return to the field. Aaron Smith missed his second consecutive practice. He was again replaced at left defensive end by Ziggy Hood. Someone told me that Hood is the back-up on Smith’s side not so much for any tactical reason but out of the common sense that Smith is probably closer to retirement than is Brett Keisel.
A couple of pairs of players drew my attention today, if only because they’re so similar in size that I often confuse them.

First, there’s last year’s seventh-round pick David Johnson and first-year player Eugene Bright, who joined the Steelers’ practice squad late last season. Both are similarly sized tight ends, with Bright appearing to have more jiggle (or fat, to be honest). But as Johnson dropped another pass and Bright simultaneously pulled one in rather smoothly, I wondered whether Bright might give Johnson a run for his roster spot this August.

In talking with a coach, Bright’s name came up with bubbly enthusiasm. The coach told me how much he likes Bright, how hard of a worker he is, and how the team investigated the status of his notorious younger brother, former prep phenom Callahan Bright, only because of how much they like Eugene. The Steelers didn’t sign the younger Bright after he weighed in at over 340 pounds, but it was made clear to me that Eugene Bright, a converted defensive end from Purdue, has a chance. And, really, the only clear edge for Johnson is his experience at fullback.

The other pair of “twins” I put under the scope was the rookie receiving combo of Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown.

Sanders appears so polished and poised that he looks like he’s been here a couple of years. Sanders also ripped off a long punt return with quick cuts into the middle and then back down the right sideline.

Brown, the well-regarded sixth-round pick, matched Sanders’ performance both as a receiver and a returner. In fact, Brown took the same path as Sanders for a long punt return. Brown isn’t quite as polished, explosive or confident as Sanders, but he’s not all that far behind the third-rounder either.

I also focused on No. 47, 5c pick Stevenson Sylvester, a backup mack inside linebacker. He’s rangy, and has a bit more stiffness than I remember from watching film of him at Utah, but he’s always around the ball and wasn’t beaten in coverage at any point Wednesday. It’s difficult to get much of a look in the spring without the contact, but Mike Tomlin is high on Sylvester, as he is with most of his second-day draft picks.

Some of the interesting plays of the day:

* Strong safety Will Allen converged on 273-pound rookie fullback Demetrius Taylor and tabbed him quickly after a catch to the praise of DBs coach Ray Horton. But the distinct size differential made me wonder whether Allen really would’ve been celebrating had there actually been a collision.

* On the first play of red-zone work, Byron Leftwich threw an easy touchdown pass to Mike Wallace on an inside curl over Bryant McFadden. More – much more – on Wallace tomorrow.

* Rashard Mendenhall took a middle screen pass inside the 15 and ran untouched into the end zone as the left side of the line provided the escort.

* Counting a disputed touchdown pass to Antwaan Randle El (whom William Gay may or may not have tabbed a half yard away from the pylon), the first team under Leftwich scored three times in five plays.

* Dennis Dixon quarterbacked the second team and his wide pass to Emmanuel Sanders on the left sideline of the end zone was broken up by Gay. Sanders, the rookie, was told to use his “good hands” by injured receiver Hines Ward and healthy free safety Ryan Clark.

* Speaking of sidelined veterans, Doug Legursky shouted instruction to Maurkice Pouncey after one particular play. And, speaking of Pouncey, he supposedly had his toe stepped on by Trai Essex, necessitating medical attention. I did not see this and expect the news is probably being overblown.

* In seven-on-seven red-zone work, Leftwich tried again to open up with a touchdown pass to Wallace on the first play, but McFadden broke it up in the back of the end zone.

* Heath Miller made the catch of the day by going up over Ike Taylor in the corner of the end zone. Taylor shouted in frustration after Miller came down with Leftwich’s pass.

* Leftwich did end the session with a TD strike to Wallace coming through the middle between Taylor and Clark.

* For the second team, Tyler Grisham made a terrific sliding catch of a Dennis Dixon pass. Grisham will be “a tough out” at training camp because he’s clearly playing with more confidence than last year, when he made the practice squad and then played late in the season.

* Charlie Batch threw 7-on-7 TD passes to Antonio Brown, who cut sharply up the middle at about the 10, and Matt Spaeth, who beat Joe Burnett over the middle.

* In the third and final team session, Leftwich threw a bullet to Antwaan Randle El off a one-step drop, and Randle El showed me a burst for the first time this spring. Randle El reappeared deep downfield a few plays later when Leftwich sidestepped the rush and found the veteran slot receiver along the opposite sideline.

* In the run game, Rashard Mendenhall – still looking quicker than ever – took an inside handoff and broke off a big gain when Burnett and rookie safety Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith collided while converging in the hole.

* Cromartie-Smith’s running mate on the third-team deep patrol, Justin Thornton, broke up what would’ve been a sensational leaping catch in the end zone by Jason Chery off a Batch pass.

By Jim Wexell
Posted May 26, 2010

--- Added 6/1/2010 at 03:50 AM ---

OTA No. 8
Kraig Urbik said he hasn’t gained any weight, that he’s only gotten stronger. And I could only agree after shaking hands with the second-year interior offensive lineman. He nearly crushed my means of employment, but I sucked it up and interviewed him anyway.
The big guy’s been playing first-team center this week because of the injuries to Justin Hartwig and Doug Legursky, and Urbik believes he’s made great strides since his rookie season. I’ll have the complete interview, but I’d better roll through the highlights of OTA No. 8 right now:

* This one started like most, with a big play to Mike Wallace. It’s almost as if Byron Leftwich wants to make that statement every practice. This time, Wallace lined up in the slot and whipped strong safety Will Allen across the field to catch the pass before heading for the opposite sideline.

* Leftwich came back for a second turn at QB during the first scrimmage and his first play was a deep post to tight end Heath Miller, with Lawrence Timmons trailing by a few yards.

* Leftwich is playing with complete confidence right now, while his backup, Dennis Dixon, also looks like a different quarterback than he was just a week ago. Both quarterbacks are finally taking command of their respective units and have pulled away from Charlie Batch. We presumed as much, but it’s now become clear that Leftwich is the team’s best big-play threat at the position and that Dixon is the youngster with upside who must be given work every day.

* I watched third-round pick Emmanuel Sanders closely today and noticed he runs an awful lot of short ins, outs and curls, and that the QB doesn’t look his way much. Dixon did on one play, but Sanders cut the wrong way and Dixon’s pass landed inside instead of out. On another play, Keenan Lewis cloaked Sanders on an intermediate route and the two squabbled about each other’s contact all the way back to the line.

* Speaking of Lewis, he was beaten deep by 6-foot-4 WR Brandon London, who made the diving catch of the day along the sideline. Lewis, otherwise, has been superb. At minicamp he said, “I’ll be awesome this year,” and his buddy Wallace agrees with him. Said Wallace: “He’s been doing pretty well, 10 times better than last year, night and day. He’s just grinding. He’s so much more focused than last year. If he keeps it up, we’ve got a good one.” Lewis is playing behind Bryant McFadden as the second-team left cornerback.

* Speaking of London, he also made a great catch on Wednesday – right in front of me along the sideline – and after he got up and fired the ball in celebration against the fence, I told him “nice catch." But since he didn’t thank me, I didn’t include him in my notes. (Ha, that’ll show him.) So, anyway, his catch today made me re-think my position and give the guy a break. I’m not saying he’ll be any kind of camp surprise, but the big man’s doing OK in shorts.

* Antwaan Randle El had another strong practice. Leftwich hit him deep between Will Gay and Ryan Clark off a play-action fake and Randle El made a juggling, fingertip snag.

* The staff concentrated on the run game today, but without contact there’s really not much to say, other than Rashard Mendenhall, Mewelde Moore, Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer all look fit, quick and ready to form a solid corps.

* Limas Sweed stood on crutches while watching practice. Said Sweed: “I was playing the best football of my life before I got hurt. Everything had slowed down tremendously.”

* Later in practice, Leftwich threw deep to Wallace, who was being tied up by first-year cornerback Trae Williams. The young CB was physical with Wallace – perhaps too physical, because he might’ve drawn a flag had it been a game.

* Dixon may have found himself a main man in rookie receiver Antonio Brown. The two connected on back-to-back 20-yard gains against rookie cornerback Crezdon Butler. Brown cut out on the first and in on the second.

* Chris Scott played second-team left guard today. Down a couple of men, first-teamers Chris Kemoeatu and Trai Essex had alternated at the spot Wednesday, but the staff finally moved the rookie tackle inside.

* Tight end Eugene Bright led linebacker Lawrence Timmons across the middle by a step or two, caught the pass, turned it up, but Timmons recovered to poke the ball free from behind.

* Leftwich threw an interception directly into the waiting hands of Butler, who was playing well off the line in the Steelers’ Cover-3. Obviously, Leftwich and receiver Arnaz Battle had a miscommunication. On the next play, Leftwich smoked an out to Miller, who shielded Butler from the ball and made the catch.

* Batch connected with Brown for a touchdown pass over David Pittman to end practice.

Later in the evening, the league announced that QB Ben Roethlisberger could return to the Steelers on Tuesday for their final six workouts.

By Jim Wexell
Posted May 27, 2010

06-01-2010, 05:21 AM
Thanks for the update :D

I really like what im hearing on offense so far. Seems like Sanders is coming along great. Obviously, he is a rookie, and all rookies seem to run pretty bad routes at start at the training sessions. Im confident he'll be better. Mendenhall faster than ever is a scary thought. He is going to be insane this year!

I dont like that we're not really hearing much about our new LBs. I now Gibson is not playing yet, but we are hardly hearing a thing about Worilds or Sylvester...

06-01-2010, 06:50 PM
Thanks for the update :D

I dont like that we're not really hearing much about our new LBs. I now Gibson is not playing yet, but we are hardly hearing a thing about Worilds or Sylvester...

I would also love to hear any info regarding Worilds and Sylvester...does any one have eyes on the latest OTA? If so, would you kindly add to the previous report or let us know what happened today?

06-03-2010, 05:41 AM
Anyone have no. 10?

06-03-2010, 08:51 AM
Id love to read 9 and 10 as well!