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08-24-2006, 09:56 AM
FULL ARTICLE (http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/teamReport?categoryId=67067&type=StrategyAndPersonnel)

With backup center Chukky Okobi out for a month or so following neck surgery, starting right guard Kendall Simmons will get some time at center Friday when the Steelers play their third preseason game in Philadelphia. Simmons, who has never played center in his life, has been taking snaps in practice.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Rookie Omar Jacobs vs. Shane Boyd for No. 3 QB -- Neither has distinguished himself, although Jacobs threw a 1-yard TD pass in the first game. The Steelers have little confidence that one or the other young quarterback could play for them effectively if something happened to Roethlisberger or backup Charlie Batch. Whoever wins this likely will get a consolation prize of joining the practice team as the Steelers go with just two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster.
OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Ryan Clark, their only UFA this year, got his first start with the Steelers this past Saturday and did little to distinguish himself in his fight with Tyrone Carter to replace departed Chris Hope as the starting free safety ... RB Duce Staley played extensively with the first team in his bid vs. Verron Haynes to back up Willie Parker. Staley ran 5 times for 11 yards and caught one pass for 3 yards. Haynes, their third-down back, caught three passes for 31 yards and has left little doubt that at least that job is still his.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: WR Nate Washington -- This undrafted rookie from 2005 continues to impress his coaches and nail down the No. 3 spot behind Hines Ward and Cedrick Wilson. He started his second straight game for an injured Ward and led the team with three receptions for 53 yards. He also opened the game with a 20-yard run on an end around.

ROOKIE REPORT: WR Santonio Holmes saw one thing and QB Charlie Batch saw another and it resulted in an interception Saturday against Minnesota ... Holmes and fellow WR Willie Reid lined up in a two-deep vs. the Vikings in punt formation, something Cowher has never done in his 14 previous seasons. "It gives you better coverage of the field and I think we have two good returners there," Cowher said. Reid, who caught three passes Saturday, seems to be ahead of Holmes at receiver.

--S Anthony Smith, who had two interceptions in his first preseason game, recorded his first sack in his second.

--C Marvin Philip has played well as Jeff Hartings' backup with veteran Chukky Okobi out for a month or so following neck surgery.

INJURY REPORT: LB Joey Porter went through full practices for the first time last week since his May knee surgery and played Saturday night on three series.

--WR Hines Ward (hamstring) has missed both preseason games and likely won't play in the third.

--TE Jerame Tuman (hamstring) missed Saturday's game.

--Special teams captain Sean Morey has a soft cast on a sprained wrist and did not play in the second game.

--Backup DE Shaun Nua sprained an ankle in Saturday's game.

08-24-2006, 10:56 AM
Hmm...Santonio and Reiod returning punts. Seems like it could actualy work if these guys arent afraid to block someone and get laid out.

08-24-2006, 11:11 AM
I dont like using Santonio as a Punt returner yet. I just have that winslow thing in my head from when he went down because he was playing special teams.

08-24-2006, 11:18 AM
Right but Winslow was/is more important to the team right now then Holmes is. If he was our #1 WR I might think otherwise but we would live without him, at least this year. Maybe as he gets better in years to come then we'll want him staying with the offense only.

08-24-2006, 11:21 AM
How can you say that if Wards injury lingers like I have been heaing it is your going to count on Cedrick Wilson and who to be your #1 and #2? This is if SH gets injured returning kicks.

08-24-2006, 11:23 AM
The thing about using Holmes and Reid as punt returners it adds another play to the playbook... a reverse off of the punt return! With the 2 speedsters the reverse could be dangerous for the Steelers opponents.

The only reason I think Reid is ahead of Holmes is because he seems to be Boyd's favorite target. The first preseason game it felt like they were the only two on the field... Holmes will come around, plus he missed some early practices because of the stupid NCAA rule about not being able to work out with your team until your class has graduated. He'll catch up and Reid will only be though come punt return time or a 5 reciever set maybe...

Good stuff though, thanks for posting!

08-24-2006, 01:03 PM
Smith will start opposite Troy before the season is over. Clark and Carter scare the crap out of me.

08-24-2006, 01:15 PM
Smith will start opposite Troy before the season is over. Clark and Carter scare the crap out of me.

I would love to see this happen, Smith has been awesome his first 2 games so far. The Cardinals first score was due to one of those two (Clark or Carter) running into another DB which left the WR wide open for an easy score! They both seem lost on the field where Smith has fit in quite nicely.