View Full Version : Tomlin -- Be patient with Timmons - & other news

08-04-2007, 12:20 AM

Saturday, August 04, 2007
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Don't give up on rookie linebacker Lawrence Timmons just because he always is hurt, Mike Tomlin says, because it's too early to tell what his rookie season will be like, not to mention his career.

Timmons, the Steelers' first-round draft choice from Florida State, will not play in the first preseason game against New Orleans tomorrow in Canton, Ohio. That's no surprise because he has not practiced since July 26, the third day of training camp drills when his groin was re-injured in the morning. This, after he missed all of the spring drills when his groin was injured on his first day on the field after the Steelers made him the NFL's 15th draft pick.

"We still have not played a preseason game," Tomlin cautioned. "We're five [preseason] games away from this thing. He has a lot of ground to make up; he has time to do it.

"But more than anything, the most important thing is getting him back out there healthy and playing. Until he does that, you really can't evaluate where he is in terms of moving ahead because it's a waste of time. We have to get him back out on the field."

Things are quite different for their second pick, linebacker LaMarr Woodley of Michigan. Woodley hasn't left the field, and may not tomorrow night, either. He will start at left outside linebacker because of a rib injury to James Harrison, who won't start and likely won't play. Clark Haggans moved from the left to the right to man Harrison's spot, which previously was filled by Joey Porter.

Three outside linebackers are hurt, and one of them, Derek Rehage, was released yesterday. Rehage came to camp with a broken thumb and never practiced. It means that others will carry the load, including Arnold Harrison and Rian Wallace.

"Maybe a little unsettling from a coach's standpoint because you don't want to run out of bodies in the preseason," Tomlin said, "but it does, on the bright side of things, create an opportunity for some men to show what they're capable of."

Parker out; Davenport to start
Tomlin officially scratched halfback Willie Parker, who did not practice for the fourth consecutive day because of swelling in his left knee.

'I think we'd be smart to protect him," Tomlin said.

Veteran Najeh Davenport will start and also play some on third downs.

"We want to see what Najeh can do in that area," Tomlin said.

Davenport is more brute strength than Fast Willie, two different styles that would require different perspectives in the play-calling.

The Steelers would "not adjust in terms of personality," Tomlin said of the difference in offense depending on the back. "Maybe adjust in terms of play selection, runs that they are most comfortable with. But that's just smart football."

Reid No. 1 returner
Previous coach Bill Cowher preferred to have two deep return men on kickoffs. Tomlin prefers one, and that will be Willie Reid tomorrow night.

"There's another guy back there, but you don't want him to get the ball," Tomlin said. "You just want him to lead the way."

The main man to fill that job at the moment is Davenport, and they wanted him returning kicks last season. He was one of their two deep men in 2006 and led the team with 21 kickoff returns for an average of 21.3 yards.

Reid also will be first up on punt returns.

Day off for Mahan
Center Sean Mahan was excused from practice yesterday for what Tomlin described as personal reasons. Mahan, competing to start with Chukky Okobi, has run with the second team since the start of training camp. He is expected to be ready for the game.

With Mahan out, starting right guard Kendall Simmons took his first snaps at center in training camp with the second team.

Quick hits
Those who have been practicing with the first team will start, and that could change for the second game at competitive positions. Among the starters: Ryan Clark at free safety, Chukky Okobi at center, Deshea Townsend at right cornerback. ... After Ben Roethlisberger makes a brief appearance at quarterback, Charlie Batch will follow, then Brian St. Pierre and then Bryan Randall. ... Regarding how much wide receiver Santonio Holmes will play, Tomlin said, "We'd like to give him a lot of work, but not at the expense of a potential health risk because of conditioning." Holmes started practicing Sunday. ... The Steelers released outside linebacker Marcello Church and signed outside linebacker Matt King. King played at Maine and had been on the roster of the New York Jets, who cut him.

Black@Gold Forever32
08-04-2007, 12:37 AM
I'm not giving up on Timmons at all....Just wish he could stay healthy and learn the defense.......Plus we went through this whole groin thing with Kendrell Bell and I really don't want a repeat of that...lol After those groin injuries Bell was never the same player afterwards........

I'm stoked about Reid on returns....He will show us why he was picked in the 3rd round to be the return man....Its great hearing how he is improving as a WR also....

As for Church being cut and Matt King brought in to take his spot...I have no idea who Matt King is......Saw he went to Main....Wonder if SF can give us any insight on Matt King?

08-04-2007, 12:54 AM
I'll admit I was thinking about Kendrell a time or 2 when Timmons first got hurt. Im holding out hope that this kid gets healthy and gets on the field soon. He's already lose a ton of time and work...mental reps are one thing but the real learning is done on the field.

08-04-2007, 01:29 AM
I'll admit I was thinking about Kendrell a time or 2 when Timmons first got hurt. Im holding out hope that this kid gets healthy and gets on the field soon. He's already lose a ton of time and work...mental reps are one thing but the real learning is done on the field.


08-04-2007, 06:57 AM
They're doing the right thing with Simmons...sitting his *** until he's completely healthy, thats something Bell never had the oppurtunity to do. Just remember also, Simmons wasn't drafted to be a starter for our defense, ST's? yes but not our D. He's a 1 year starter out of college, no way he was going to start. He was drafted for his potential in the NFL (don't make sense but it is what it is :lol:) I would rather see him sit the whole year and be healthy for the rest of his career then to even see spot playin time to aggravate it more. That would give him the rest of this year and the offseason to get into NFL shape. As far as that Martin kid, the only thing I know is he was a UDFA picked up by the jets and released a while back, he's 6'3" 245 lbs. they released Church cuz he didn't have the physical presence they were looking for in their OLB's.