FRIDAY, AUG. 27
5 p.m. Mike Tomlin met with the media today to talk about Sunday’s preseason game in Denver. It’s the Steelers’ third preseason game and therefore the “dress rehearsal,” as it’s known throughout the league.
Tomlin provided the following nuggets of information:
* Rookie receiver Antonio Brown will again return punts and kickoffs.
* Punter Daniel Sepulveda will handle all kickoffs.
* Matt Stewart will handle all kick snaps. Tomlin explained the move by saying (of the player re-signed after being cut July 30), “We wanted to get him back in here and give him the opportunity we intended to give him before we went to training camp.”
* Brown and fellow rookie receiver Emmanuel Sanders will switch positions, with Brown moving to split end (X) and Sanders moving to flanker (Z). “X is a catch and run position, hopefully Antonio Brown will be able to highlight some of his skill sets in that position,” Tomlin said. “In Z, which is the position Hines Ward plays, they are in a lot of combative situations in the run game with strong safeties. Emmanuel Sanders has proven to be somewhat surprisingly aggressive and physical. We want to see if that can continue. We want to see if potentially he can block a guy the caliber of Brian Dawkins, who is going to be around or on the line of scrimmage.”
* Maurkice Pouncey will make his first start at center and will be up against veteran nose guard Jamal Williams. “I intend to see a lot of Maurkice,” Tomlin said.
* The only quarterback Tomlin mentioned in the same sentence with “first-team reps” is Dennis Dixon, but didn’t mention who would start. Tomlin said Dixon has been more consistent this camp. Tomlin also mentioned the improved consistency of Tony Hills, Kraig Urbik and Keenan Lewis. Tomlin did say that the three top quarterbacks will play.
* The starters will play into the third quarter, but Tomlin warned they could remain on the field longer if their play was “below the line of performance.”
* Lewis will start at left cornerback in place of injured Bryant McFadden and Will Allen
Alot of what we already knew/speculated. I like the move between Sanders and Brown... i hate to read too much into this, but Brown may have a shot to compete for MORE playing time at the (X) and getting the ball in his hands! Sanders could also be more productive with his route running at the (Z) position. I like tis ALOT!!!
Puncey Vs. Williams is an awesome "measuring sgtick" for just how good Pouncey can fair in our division against the NTs/DT's he will face.
Hopefully Mike starts Ben for some 1st quarter action, then goes to Dixon for the 2nd QB reps with starters! I highly doubt it but it should be exciting to see Dixon get his "Sunday" Reps!