Monday, August 13, 2007
No Steelers coach has devoted as much time in training camp to special teams as has Tomlin. He holds separate practices for them in the mornings and still devotes large chunks of regular practices to them. His kicking game, however, has failed to love him back. Among the surest things in the NFL is the extra point, but Jeff Reed's only try was blocked up the middle Saturday, six days after his field goal went wide in Canton. Tomlin wasn't happy with the blocking for him.
"It was the second week in a row that we exposed a glaring weakness in our PAT/field-goal protection and, in this league, if you're not sure in any aspect or any facet of your game, people are going to attack you. It's obvious based on the two tapes that we put out there that we need to address that this week and we will. Can't do it till you make problems like that disappear and we'll do that."
Rookie punter Daniel Sepulveda
is all that was advertised, whether draft choices in the fourth and sixth rounds were worth it or not. He has not been in position to try his Aussie Roll spin-back punt, but that 59-yarder he knocked out of bounds Saturday night was a beauty. He averaged 49.8 yards, 48.0 net, on five punts, although his first was almost blocked and was low and benefited from a long roll.
Gary Russell and Carey Davis
continue to carry the day as they make bids for roster spots at running back. Russell, an undrafted rookie who did not play football last year after flunking out of Minnesota, led the Steelers with 56 yards rushing on nine carries. Davis, a dual-purpose back, played fullback strictly and threw a few good blocks.
"We like his running style," Tomlin said of Russell. And of Davis: "We got a few perimeter runs where he showed his athleticism, got on some blocks on the perimeter, sprung us for some significant gains."
Brian St. Pierre
has seen plenty of time at quarterback through the first two games. He completed 10 of 23 passes for 99 yards Saturday. Quarterback Bryan Randall did not play. It seems as if Tomlin is looking hard at St. Pierre to determine whether or not to keep three quarterbacks on the roster. Considering that St. Pierre is no longer eligible for the practice squad, if Tomlin decides to keep only two, he'll have to add another to the practice squad.
Six-foot-4 Walter Young is having his best training camp in his bid to catch on as the sixth wide receiver. He did not hurt himself Saturday with a 41-yard touchdown, catching the ball in the open and breaking a tackle along the way.
The left tackle position had a rough go of it Saturday night. Marvel Smith was beaten once and Max Starks twice for sacks. But then, the guy normally next to them, Alan Faneca, did not play and who knows what kind of effect that had.
does not look like a short-yardage runner. He runs high and he was stuffed on a third-and-1 attempt on the second quarter. On the other hand, he had a 21-yard run around left end with a good stiff-arm.
In the past, Joey Porter and Clark Haggans
stayed on the field as outside linebackers and pass rushers with nary a replacement. That may be different this year. First off, rookie LaMarr Woodley, who made his second consecutive start at left outside linebacker, likely will play on passing downs even if he does not start. Saturday night, while the Packers were running the two-minute drill, the coaches reinserted Woodley to rush from the left for an obviously tired Arnold Harrison. That might not have happened in the past.
Nose tackle Chris Hoke smashed his helmet to the ground when he limped off the field with an injury to his left knee. It looked bad. However, pending further tests to confirm it, Hoke's knee was hyperextended with no serious damage and he may even practice sometime this week. That's good news for anyone who remembers the job Hoke did filling in for an injured Casey Hampton in 2004.