Mike Tomlin has to be pleased with not only a great and full week of work, but with the attitude of his veteran team as May draws to a close. Coming off the Super Bowl, there are few distractions -- real distractions, not media-driven distractions -- and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been at every practice. Even the injured players -- Hines Ward, Ryan Clark and Dan Sepulveda -- have shown up regularly. There's no sign of a hangover, or malaise, possibly because there are so many veterans in salary drive mode. But more likely is that this is a group of smart and ambitious people. The only players missing (working out elsewhere) are Troy Polamalu and Santonio Holmes, and both of them play positions where depth must be developed.
* The running backs look great. Rashard Mendenhall has all the makings of a bell cow and Willie Parker is up for the challenge. Competition is already driving these two players. Parker is in great shape and is working hard on his receiving. Mewelde Moore is a solid No. 3 and Frank Summers got a chance today to show off why he's nicknamed "Tank." The big guy was rumbling through the touch-football field and looks like he can develop into a force some day. He has good hands, too; caught a high swing pass, turned it upfield to the sound of Tomlin roaring. Afterward he took some advice from the coach in the middle of the field, something about looking to run people over more. Even FB Ryan Powdrell, the former USC fullback who lost his college season to a knee injury and spent 2007 on IR with Green Bay, showed some explosiveness today. Good, solid group with the potential for greatness.
* Max Starks missed the workout and Trai Essex moved over to left tackle. That moved Kraig Urbik up to second-team guard, but please don't ask this amateur to gauge his progress. I'll just say that he seems strong enough and quick enough.
* I watched Limas Sweed take a slant all the way up the middle -- without a defense -- and shuddered at the big, fast man's potential. Then I saw him drop a short pass over the middle with Anthony Madison trying to cover. One scout likened his inconsistency to a young Plaxico Burress, and of course is hopeful, even optimistic, of a similar developmental curve.
* Shaun McDonald had a good day. Mike Martz really liked this guy in the slot, and drafted him and then brought him to Detroit. The departure of Martz from Detroit is what McDonald blames for his poor 2008. I'll give him Catch of the Day today for the way he "ziggied" up the field after a few short catches.
* Speaking of Ziggy, everyone likes him. The big man can move. I'll have a little story on him coming up in a few days. The big man was running from sideline to sideline today and had Tomlin pretty excited.
* Tomlin really makes you feel like you're here for a reason. Bill Cowher used to leave much of these workouts to his coordinators. May have been good for the coordinators, but the practices didn't have the same urgency.
* Backup ILB Donovan Woods turned his ankle and left the field.
* Rookie WR Mike Wallace again had the Indoor Arena in a state of eruption, but Ike Taylor recovered to break up the slightly underthrown bomb from Charlie Batch. Tomlin threw a phantom flag on the play