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Thread: Rookie Safety looks to get more playing time

          
   
   
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  1. #1
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Exclamation Rookie Safety looks to get more playing time

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06286/729686-66.stm

    Friday, October 13, 2006

    By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


    Peter Diana, Post-Gazette
    The injured Deshea Townsend leaves big shoes to fill in the Steelers' secondary.

    Outside linebacker isn't the only position where injuries will force changes in the Steelers' lineup.

    An injury to starting cornerback Deshea Townsend, coupled with the season-ending loss of Ricardo Colclough, could do more than force Bryant McFadden to start at right cornerback against the Kansas City Chiefs.

    It could probably mean more playing time for rookie safety Anthony Smith, the team's second pick in the NFL draft.

    Smith, a rookie from Syracuse, likely will be the sixth defensive back on the field when the Steelers use their dime defense against the Chiefs.

    "I'm excited," Smith said. "I've been waiting my turn and waiting for things to happen. If I get my opportunity, I'm pretty sure the coaches will be pleased with what they see."

    The Steelers usually use three safeties (Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Tyrone Carter) and three cornerbacks (Townsend, McFadden, Ike Taylor) in their dime defense. But, if Townsend (hamstring/questionable) cannot play, and with Colclough on injured reserve, the Steelers probably will use Smith rather than rookie cornerback Anthony Madison as the sixth defensive back.

    Townsend, who was injured in practice Wednesday, did not practice yesterday. He's usually in the slot when the Steelers use their nickel and dime packages, a position that could be manned by McFadden or Polamalu.

    McFadden, a No. 2 pick in 2005, will make his second NFL start if Townsend cannot play. He started last year in the Dec. 4 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field when the Steelers opened with their nickel defense. This would be his first start as the regular right cornerback in the base defense.

    "The most important thing is just try to stay positive and stay focused because you never know when the situation comes when your number is going to be called," McFadden said. "I kind of went through the same thing last year when I was inactive the first couple games and an injury occurred [to Townsend] before the Jacksonville game and I needed to play."


    Injury update


    In addition to linebacker Joey Porter, return man Willie Reid (foot sprain) also has been ruled out for the Chiefs' game. But, defensive end Brett Keisel (ribs) returned to practice and was upgraded from questionable to probable.

    With Reid out, coach Bill Cowher said running back Najeh Davenport will return kickoffs with Santonio Holmes.

    Guard Kendall Simmons (foot) missed practice for the second day in a row and remains probable. Simmons received the equivalent of freezer burn -- or frostbite -- on his left foot when he fell asleep wearing a cooling device to treat a heel injury.

    Chiefs wide receiver/returner Dante Hall (hip) has been downgraded from probable to questionable.
    I can't wait to see what Anthony Smith can do. He's been a demon on ST and he sounds pretty confident, so far he looks like the real deal.

  2. #2
    AZ_Steeler's Avatar
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    I really like Smith in the secondary! He was the only bright spot in the preseason with the exception of Reid returning punts!

    Najeh to be returning punts? isn't there a better option than him?

  3. #3
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    I can't wait til the beast is released in Anthony Smith. We are going to have two of the most dominating Safeties in the NFL with Polamalu mentoring him. OH I AM READY TO ROCK AND ROLL ON THIS RIDE!!!

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    K Train's Avatar
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    Najeh had a hell of a KR last week, that big guy gets some momentum behind him and look out, besides, he has great hands, at least hes reliable enough to catch the damn ball.

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    AZ_Steeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K-Train View Post
    Najeh had a hell of a KR last week, that big guy gets some momentum behind him and look out, besides, he has great hands, at least hes reliable enough to catch the damn ball.
    Ricardo had a KR for 26 yards as well, I don't see what the big deal is about Najeh

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    K Train's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K-Train View Post
    at least hes reliable enough to catch the damn ball.
    Right there, hes always had good hands, and it might have been only 26 yards but it went to near midfield if im not mistaking, bad kick...good return.

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Najeh did a good job in his first PR... he may not be the fastest but he sure is his own wedge buster Besides the fact we don't have many people left to do it besides Holmes.

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    Living Legend Steelersfan's Avatar
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    How come they haven't used McFadden more in the return game? He has some good speed the only question would be his hands.
    Davenport did well in his return last week. Wasn't that the one we got called for holding on?
    We really don't have too many other options right now.

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    Rookie Free Agent augustashark's Avatar
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    I agree SF, I would like to see Mcfad get some KR action. I want to see him in space and what he can do with it.
    aushqf4

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    SA First Blitzburgh Blitzburgh55's Avatar
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    Smith is gonna be a pretty good player i think prolly better than most of are CB

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