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    Post Steelers healthy, happy with new starters

    Steelers healthy, happy with new starters
    The Associated Press
    Article Last Updated: 09/02/2008 05:05:09 PM EDT
    http://ydr.inyork.com/ci_10363875

    PITTSBURGH由oster turnover is a way of life in the free agency era of the NFL, yet the Pittsburgh Steelers boast a starting lineup largely the same as last season.

    Five days before the season opener, the Steelers are a relatively healthy team that will have three new starters葉wo on the offensive line.

    Steelers coach Mike Tomlin seems pleased with his offensive line, but is witholding his opinion until he sees the group in real game action.

    "I've been pleased with the pocket in training camp and preseason, particularly in the area of play-action passing. That's been good," Tomlin said Tuesday at his first regular-season weekly news conference. "But we'll get a better sense of how it is on Sunday."

    The Steelers open their season at home Sunday against the Houston Texans, who feature a young defensive line stocked with former first-round picks, including 2006 No. 1 overall selection Mario Williams.

    Offseason free agent signee Justin Hartwig will start at center for Pittsburgh after beating out Sean Mahan during camp. Chris Kemoeatu takes over at left guard after free agent Pro Bowler Alan Faneca departed. So, the line用articularly the left side揺as yet to have an opportunity to develop any cohesion in a meaningful game.

    "The only way you do it is playing together," Tomlin said. "Those are problems everybody has, any time you have turnover. In today's NFL, you have turnover. They have some new guys. Everyone's working on cohesion. That's what makes September football so exciting."

    The only new starter on offense or defense is second-year outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who saw extensive time in pass-rushing situations last season.

    Tomlin said he expects inside linebacker Larry Foote to be able to play after sitting out last week's practices due to a knee injury. Also, Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu will play. Tomlin said the team will "toss him in" even after sitting out the majority of training camp with a hamstring injury.

    Another Pro Bowl player with health concerns entering camp was running back Willie Parker, who broke his leg in December. His game based on speed, Parker had to prove to the coaching staff that he was all the way back.

    "I needed to see that he is Willie Parker," Tomlin said. "I think he's shown that he is, not only in preseason games, but in practices. He appears to be extremely healthy."

    The Steelers also are leaving little suspense whom will dress for the opener. Depth players on the offensive and defensive lines might still need to be decided, and Tomlin wouldn't commit to who would be Pittsburgh's fourth wide receiver, Dallas Baker or Limas Sweed. Baker was a seventh-round pick last season; Sweed a second-round choice in April.

    If it's Baker, that would likely mean that first round pick Rashard Mendenhall would be the only rookie to see action Sunday. Dennis Dixon will be in uniform as the emergency third quarterback. And even Mendenhall's level of playing time as an alternative to Parker is questionable after he fumbled three times in the final two preseason games.

    "We're looking at his preparation this week, his attention to detail in terms of how he executes his assignments, and his level of ball security," Tomlin said. "We'll see as we get closer to game time."

    Tomlin named Mendenhall the team's primary kick returner and said that newcomer Mewelde Moore will return punts預lthough he said starting receiver Santonio Holmes will be used as a "situational" returner. Moore also was named the Steelers' primary third-down back.

    NOTES:@ The Steelers traded veteran center Sean Mahan to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for an undisclosed 2009 draft pick

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    The Absolute Truth Koopa's Avatar
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    i think it's a mistake not to have timmons starting, foote is good, but not on the level of timmons good
    "SA, it's more than a FEVER it's an ADDICTION" -BlacknGold Bleeder

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koopa View Post
    i think it's a mistake not to have timmons starting, foote is good, but not on the level of timmons good
    I agree..... Timmons will still serious playing time though.....Foote is solid and nothing more...He comes up with the occasional big play....But Timmons has really grown this year and is a big play waiting to happen...I really like his ability to run and hit...He will add to the pass rush and can drop back in coverage.....My only concern is him shedding blocks to stop the run on running plays...But still that concern wouldn't be enough for me to not start him....Plus the only way Timmons can improve is by playing.....

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    I think Tomlin likes the experience that Foote brings but Timmons will get a lot of playing time for sure. Once he gets his feet wet playing more in the regular defenses unlike last year when he barely got to play he'll get even more time and might even beat out Foote and take over the job by the end of the year.

    Sweed needs to take advantage of every chance he gets with the ball because Dallas Baker isn't just going to concede the 4th WR spot to him because he's a higher round pick. Im anxious to see Limas in action but I don't think he'll be a big factor until atleast the 1/2 point if that.

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    Waterboy DawgBone's Avatar
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    I can't believe Pittsburgh gave Foote a 5 year deal. So I don't see Timmons playing for the next 3 or so years unless Foote is injured.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DawgBone View Post
    I can't believe Pittsburgh gave Foote a 5 year deal. So I don't see Timmons playing for the next 3 or so years unless Foote is injured.
    No way man....Timmons will be starting before this season is over, and Foote will be the veteran back up that will be well welcomed, by us and him.He has already said he'll be content in the back up role. This is a win-win situation.

    "He's running around there, running his mouth, doing all that, but if you watch him on film and really look, where was Ray Lewis? He was nowhere to be found. I could have tackled the water boy and had as many tackles as him. He didn't do nothing today. He's all mouth. When you talk like that, that's what happens: You get hit in the mouth. He's over there crying now, thinking about what went wrong. You got your *** whipped, that's what." ~ Peazy

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DawgBone View Post
    I can't believe Pittsburgh gave Foote a 5 year deal. So I don't see Timmons playing for the next 3 or so years unless Foote is injured.
    The Steelers resigned Farrior to a 5 year deal......He is still playing at a high level and is one of the leaders on this team.......Foote will be eventually replaced by Timmons.....

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    THAT DAMN GOOD yinzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DawgBone View Post
    I can't believe Pittsburgh gave Foote a 5 year deal. So I don't see Timmons playing for the next 3 or so years unless Foote is injured.
    you mean farrior got a 5 year deal.
    RIDICULOUSLY good looking...

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    Waterboy DawgBone's Avatar
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    Oh yeah.... just shows how big of a non-Steelers fan I am. LMAO!!

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    I don't think Farrior will play long enough to see the end of that contract but Im sure glad they gave it to him, that ensures our depth at ILB for the next few years and will give us viable options even if Foote leaves after 2008 and Timmons takes over full time. For once we have some legit guys behind the starters at LB, atleast on the inside. With Arnold Harrison gone our depth on the outside is alittle weak so Bruce Davis needs to be ready when called upon.

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