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DIESELMAN
06-07-2007, 09:55 AM
Deshea Townsend is taking the Steelers' coaching change in stride and trying to impress Mike Tomlin.

http://media.scout.com/Media/Image/43/436752.jpg

They form a three-man triangle and take turns swatting the ball back and forth to each other as if it were a hot potato.

Deshea Townsend, Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark don’t have a real name for the little game they’ve come up with as one of their after practice workouts. But the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive backs do have a method to their madness.

“It’s something we started on this offseason for hand-eye coordination. I guess it’s kind of like a game of pepper,” said Townsend of the drill. “We DBs don’t get to touch the ball too much in practice, so its a way to kind of help our ball skills while having a little fun too.”

The little drill is just one of the ways the players use to help break up the monotony of their spring drills as they work through the third week of their OTAs here at the team’s practice facility on the South Side.

Then again, with the way that new head coach Mike Tomlin has been rotating players on the first-team, just showing up at practice is a different situation every day.

“We’re looking at a lot of combos,” said Townsend. “It just gets you more ready for the game.”

But with nearly every cornerback on the roster seeing some time either with the first team defense or as the nickel back, does it make things seem more like an open competition?

“It’s always a competition,” said Townsend, who is entering his 10th season with the Steelers. “You have to think that. There’s always somebody here to get your job.”

This year, it seems like a three-man fight for the two starting jobs, with some combination Townsend, Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden lining up with the starting defense at some point and other corners on the roster getting long looks with the first team units on passing downs.

But that didn’t always seem to be the case under former head coach Bill Cowher, when a lot of positions seemed to be set in stone. In fact, Townsend had to wait six seasons as the team’s No. 3 corner before finally getting his shot to start.

“Even then, I always came to fight,” said Townsend. “I still had to come and get my job. That’s how I had to see it. There’s always going to be competition at this position. That’s how you become an elite team, when the guy behind you could be a starter.

“Everybody has got to be ready to play. It’s about getting reps for guys and seeing what they can do.”

It’s all part of the new coach taking a good long look at the entire roster.

“I was taught to be a professional, so whenever change came, you had to be ready for it,” said Townsend. “Regardless of who the coach is, I try to go out and prepare the same way and make his transition a little easier. I’m one of the older guys here, so I try to get the younger guys to be ready to follow the new leader. That’s how you have to approach.”

By Dale Lolley
SteelCityInsider.com
Posted 7 June 2007


The more I hear about certain positions set in stone when Cowher was here, the more pissed off I get. Just imagine how we would've played had players played that actually beat someone out. That crap leads to attitudes and animosity, not good for the ebb and flow of a defense or offense. It seems with Tomlin, players who earned the starting gig will actually start. :bigthumb: I like how the competition in camp is flowing everywhere. :bigthumb:

SteelerSal
06-07-2007, 10:08 AM
The more I hear about certain positions set in stone when Cowher was here, the more pissed off I get. Just imagine how we would've played had players played that actually beat someone out. That crap leads to attitudes and animosity, not good for the ebb and flow of a defense or offense. It seems with Tomlin, players who earned the starting gig will actually start. I like how the competition in camp is flowing everywhere.

I could'nt agree more. A good example was with Ike Taylor, last season. Ike signed a big contract before the season and named starter which took away any competition for him to lose his starting role and his play went downhill compared to the season before when he worked hard, week to week, and earned that role.
As far as Townsend, I'm not sold on him as a starter. He played better in the nickle and dime packages in the past. Hopefully McFadden will step it up and win the starting role.

Iron City South
06-07-2007, 03:44 PM
Cowher was the benefactor of a strong supporting cast of coaches for many years here. There's no question in my mind that if Ben didn't get in Cowher's head just a little to get him to quit playing "Marty Ball" and go for the juggular when we get the lead in games, we would have never seen that 5th ring.

Another thing Cowher will NEVER be accused of being .... A strategist.

BlitzburghRockCity
06-07-2007, 03:49 PM
The more I hear about certain positions set in stone when Cowher was here, the more pissed off I get.

You got that right bro. The more we read from players talking about how things used to the more irritated it makes me. I shutter to think how many more championships we could have been in and won had we not had such a stubborn coach who had to do things his way with "his" players.

Don't get me wrong, I will always respect Bill for what he accomplished and how much he meant to the city and for finally getting us 1 for the thumb but beyond that there's so much that was wrong during his tenure it wasn't even funny.

Black@Gold Forever32
06-07-2007, 04:18 PM
Deshea has 16 career INTs and 15.5 career sacks...He could join the 20 sack/INT club in a few years...That club only has one member currently and thats the Tampa Bay Bucs Ronde Barber....