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 10 years ago '07        #101
Gods Smile 
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Steelers Ace Conditioning Test


LATROBE, Pa. So much for St. Vincent College turning into Parris Island.

The first training camp of the Mike Tomlin era began here on Monday, and all of the speculation about how ridiculously difficult it was going to be turned out to be just so much talk. For one day, anyway.

The Steelers reported during the early portion of the day Monday everyone was present and on time and then Tomlin put the team through its conditioning test. Under Bill Cowher, the conditioning test was 14 40-yard dashes, all under a pre-determined time. Tomlin's version consisted of 16 110-yard runs, all under a pre-determined time.

But Tomlin's version also included a couple of wrinkles. First, any player who attended at least 44 of the 50 voluntary workouts during the offseason was not required to participate; and then after 14 of the 110-yard runs convinced Tomlin that everyone was in top shape, he called off the final two.

"We did 110s. We were scheduled to do 16 of them in required times based on position," said Tomlin. "The guys were doing so well, we cut it at 14. It didn't look like anybody was going to have a tough time making it. It's a testament to their preparation. Hats off to them.

"The guys who didn't participate in the run test were able not to participate because they completed a required number of voluntary workouts as part of our offseason program. We wanted to reward those guys for being in town and being a part of a voluntary program this offseason. Once they got in a certain number of workouts, they did not have to participate in the run-test, because if they were at the facility working out we knew what kind of shape they were in."

There were 36 players who participated in the run test, but afterwards Tomlin admitted that some of those who didn't have to run because they met the offseason workout requirement chose to run anyway.

And if the players were burdened physically by what happened Monday afternoon, they sure weren't showing it.

"This is a good thing," said Troy Polamalu. "It wasn't very challenging. It was a lot different. I don't want to say too many bad things about it, because then they'll change it."

Things could begin to change on Tuesday, when the Steelers will have the first of five straight two-a-day workouts.

"I'd be surprised if anybody was surprised," said Tomlin about what practices would entail. "Camp is camp, and these guys have been going through it since high school, so I don't expect anybody to be surprised by what we do tomorrow."
 10 years ago '05        #102
thegame23 
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Thats what I like to hear from camp... a lot of hittin goin' on! So how do you all you fellow Steelers fans think we are gonna do this year? Lets hear some predicitons.
 10 years ago '05        #103
The Utmost 1 heat pts
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 thegame23 said:
Thats what I like to hear from camp... a lot of hittin goin' on! So how do you all you fellow Steelers fans think we are gonna do this year? Lets hear some predicitons.
realistically i think 9-7 or 10-6 is possible and anything better will be a bonus obviously but we'll see...parker should have a decent year and hopefully roethlisberger got his focus back...i dont even need to speak on the defense cause i dont think we'll miss porter as much as some may think
 10 years ago '05        #104
thegame23 
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 The Utmost said:
realistically i think 9-7 or 10-6 is possible and anything better will be a bonus obviously but we'll see...parker should have a decent year and hopefully roethlisberger got his focus back...i dont even need to speak on the defense cause i dont think we'll miss porter as much as some may think
I think your right that anything over 9-7 or 10-6 would be a bonus in most peoples eyes, but for some reason I have a good feeling about this season. Like they are going to surprise a lot of people. I got faith in Tomlin...we'll just see how long my faith in him lasts...lol. I think Big Ben will be back too, he was already back at the end of the season last year. You could see the difference. Santonio Holmes is going to be a Playmaker this year and is going to help make a difference. I'm also waiting to see this tight end thing work. They have the talent there and now I think two of the best receiving tight ends in the league really. Speath has only proven himself in college, but he's a BIG target and the Steelers have been missing that since Plax. And defensively I believe we will be fine. Like you said, Porter will not be missed much besides his locker room presence. He has not played well over like the last two or three seasons besides his great performances in the playoffs during the SuperBowl run. All I know is that I just cant wait too much longer.

Are you planning on going to see Camp Tomlin at all? I am going to try to go down here one day. I'm a season ticket holder and I usually try to make it to at least one day of camp a year and I didnt go last year so I def. gotta make it to one this year.
 10 years ago '05        #105
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^^man thats great for you but i live in london so the sofa and tv are my bestfriend come football season
 10 years ago '05        #106
thegame23 
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Damn....thats why I don't care what anyone says, the Steelers have the largest fan base. Its crazy man, but I love it. There are Steelers fans everywhere. Steelers bars in Florida, in Carolina, in Cali...that sh*t is nuts.:applause:
 07-26-2007, 01:10 PM         #107
ShadyBeforeMath  OP
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Im Here bi*chessssssssssssssss
 10 years ago '07        #108
Gods Smile 
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STEELERS OUTLOOK FROM CAMP THUS FAR...I go to Saint Vincent College and I work the football camp for the steelers and this is what I have noticed so far...I am out there every day! AND ITS HOT lol!!!


WR....I think santonio and ward and wilson will be just fine. They will be great number one and number 2 receivers. Ward is a top 5 receiver in the league (talking about overall package) and holmes if he can keep his off the field antics cool then he will be a great number 2 receiver. He turned into a Great Playmaker toward the end of the season. There is no doubt in my mind in the first 2. The number 3 spot will go to Cedric wilson. He is a good 3 receiver and will get the job done but after that I dont know. Nate washington is a returning veteran but he has not shown me much. He can fit the spot but I feel we can do alot better. This is major cause they keep saying we will be running alot of 4 WR sets on ats and second down. Since Ben will have alot of control of the offense this year I feel at times he will need help and I dont think Nate can do it. Willie Reid will be a special teams Ace on the return game and nothing more. There are two rookies getting some hype this summer. first Drafted Wr dallas baker. He is 6-3 206 which can make some noise cause of his size (look at Burress in NY) if used right. and Eric Fowler he is 6-3 198.They are making some noise this summer and maybe they will step up and take that fourth spot on the offense. Rasheed Marshall is also having some moments this summer. 2nd year guy from WVU. So the 4th spot is competitive which is good. Hope they step up to the Plate.
TE.....Along with 4 Wr sets, we will be running multiple sets. Which is good cause we have 2 of the best receiving and blocking TE's in the League. Heath Miller of course. Don't need to say anything about him just look at last year. Matt Spaeth came from Minnesota and he is a receiving TE just like Miller they play the same way. They can block and catch which is what we need. But most of the catches will go to miller of course. Spaeth proved himself in college but is he ready for t he big leagues? we will see. So far so good at camp. But the other TE spot will go to Tuman for blocking. He is very good at blocking and he is proven so until spaeth steps up (if he steps up) tuman will be in there and we will be fine. I feel this is our strongest position on the offense.
QB....what can I say lol. Big Ben better not have a season like last year. He needs to stay off Motorcycles and stay focused on the game and we will be fine. Hopefully the pressure will not get to him of having alot of the reigns in his control. He will be like a Peyton (with all the audibles at the line. He will control the offense and our success depends on him. If he cant get the job done we have charlie batch which is a great backup and will get the job done and has proven time and time again I can do it if given the chance.
] RB...Of course willie Parker will be the starter but Now that Davenport knows the offense and has a training camp with us I fill he and willie will be an amazing one 2 punch. The steelers also brought in barlow and resigned haynes for competition. Barlow will be competition bacause he is smart and and has experience and this will be beneficial to willie and davenport. Barlow will give them some knowledge and vet experience to benefit from and also competition to make willie step up and play his best football. Also if u remember from last preseason John Kuhn the RB had an amazing preseason. He is also back for competition. I felt he should have made the team but that is a whole different story lol. Larry Croom is also here a 2 year player from UNLV might make a noise (probably Not lol) or atleast special teams haha.
OL.... The O line needs patched up. We do have faneca and smith at left tackle and left guard (which are guaranteed spots)...but the other 3 spots are open. We have a decent mix with starks, simmons, mahan (the new veteran center), okobi, colon, Trai Ess3x, Marvin Philip, and Kemoeatu. It should be a competitive camp there. I say it needs patched because no one knows where they will be playing it could be anywhere from center to any OL potition on the Right side of the ball....We will see how this goes.
SPECIAL TEAMS....After the draft we released Gardocki who will be a Hall of Fame Punter because he has 1,177 punts in 16 seasons and NONE OF THEM WERE BLOCKED. Why did we realease him you say??? Thats because of Baylor punter Daniel Sepulveda. His punting style is unusual but very effective for putting puts inside the 20 yard line. He is amazing guys!!! This kid will be good if the pressure of the NFL doesnt get to him. He is also 6-3 230 and loves to hit people. (Thats the kind of punter I like). He isnt small like Hall was which shortened his punting career. He is durable at 230. Reed can get the job done as place kicker. He did it last year he will do it again.
DL....We are fine at this position. Since resigning of Aaron Smith and Chris Hoke that leaves us with 4 quality lineman (Hampton and Keisel are the other 2). We also have Travis Kirsche there the only problem is he is in his 11th season. How much longer can he hold up since there is contact every play at that position.
LB.....Woodley, Timmons, Foot, Farrior, James Harrison, Clark Haggans, Kriewaldt, and the return of Arnold Harrison. Porter's leaving doesnt hurt us one bit (well in motivation it might. Who is gonna step up). These are quality linebackers and everyone knows pittsburgh breeds linebackers. I think out of the rookies Woodley will be better than Timmons. In My opinion most florida state players that are drafted are busts! Maybe timmons will prove me wrong.
SAFETY....TROY POLAMALU. What more can I say the best all around safety in the league. This kid is amazing. Other than him I feel as of now Tyrone carter and Ryan clark will be the other starting safety. That is unless Anthony Smith Steps up. This kid is a playmaker and he showed that last preseason and his whole career at syracuse. He is one to watch.
CORNERBACK....ummmm...well I think myself and every other steeler fan has been saying this for years that we need better corners. We need one guy that can get the job done on a consistent basis. We brought back Chidi Iwuoma from the Rams for another season with us. The starters will be Townsend and Ike Taylor for now. Unless Ike plays like he did last year because that was awful and thats why he lost his starting spot mid season. Maybe he will go back to his pro Bowl calibur form he was the year before last year. Colclough and McFadden did well last year and made plays when they needed to but also they got burned sometimes. They need to step up some more. But also some good about them they have come a long way from where they started at. They have improved alot and if they continue to grow like they have they can be starters.

BUT THE WHOLE SUCCESS OF THE TEAM HAS TO START WITH THE NEW COACH....depending on how he conducts his self and his program and leadership skills depends on what the team overall does. He is doing an amazing job thus far. I think the steelers will be a suprise this year and make a statement!!!


Last edited by Gods Smile; 07-27-2007 at 09:35 AM..
 10 years ago '07        #109
Gods Smile 
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and the steelers do have a large fan base...did u guys see al the black and gold at Superbowl XL that sh*t was crazy....it was 90% Steelers to 10% Seahawks


I LOVE BLACK AND GOLD!!! I gotta stay true to my boys been a fan all my life and will continue to be win or lose!!!
 07-26-2007, 06:37 PM         #110
G Tizzle  OP
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Steelers got the BEST maybe even the biggest fan base!
The most die hard fans!
 07-26-2007, 10:40 PM         #111
flex001  OP
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 The Utmost said:
fu*k goin on flex

whole bunch a sh*t....just got a car last week..recked it 48 hours later..gettin a new one in a couple days...couple projects me n sum peoples is workin on........glad to see u and others holdin it down in here...keep it up

we gonna be k!llin this season...Tomlin is gonna be passin more and run the hurry up more which i think is a good thing as long as our RECEIVERS keep there hands on the ball... and with us throwin more it will open up the run so willie can get them big yard gains.. its on i cant wait... pre-season is almost here

 thegame23 said:

I'm a season ticket holder and I usually try to make it to at least one day of camp a year and I didnt go last year so I def. gotta make it to one this year.
where the seats at? wanna sell any?


Last edited by flex001; 07-26-2007 at 10:41 PM..
 07-28-2007, 07:43 PM         #112
flex001  OP
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Saturday, July 28, 2007


LATROBE, Pa. It had a little bit of everything that Coach Mike Tomlin wants in a training camp practice. It was physical, intense, competitive, and it also walked the fine line of practice etiquette. On two occasions, however, it definitely crossed it.

The afternoon following a night practice at Latrobe Stadium where the pass offense made a series of big plays, there were two big hits on wide receiver Willie Reid and a scuffle between Tyrone Carter and Nate Washington.

"It's competitive, but that's what training camp is about," said Tomlin. "You'd much rather say, 'whoa,' than 'sic'em.' So we're having to say, 'whoa,' a little bit, but the big thing is that we're professional about it and leave it on the grass. They're taking that approach."

Actually, the whole series of events could have started because Washington taunted Carter over the course of about three successive plays. On the second, Washington caught a pass, got up and flipped the ball to Carter, which would be a penalty in a game. On the next play, Carter and Washington scuffled.

Shortly after that, Reid caught a pass and was running through the secondary as receivers and running backs do in drills such as this. At one point, strength and conditioning coach Garrett Giemont blew the whistle to signal the end of the play, and then Ryan Clark put a shoulder into Reid and knocked him down. Hitting after the whistle also is a penalty.

A few plays later, Reid caught another pass and was flattened immediately by Anthony Smith, who has been a physical presence during every practice of this camp. Smith's hit was neither dirty nor late, but did it come close to violating the unwritten rules of practice etiquette?

"It's football," said Tomlin. "The big thing is that they have respect for each other. I realize that at times tempers are going to flare. That's part of it. Part of us building this football team is understanding and controlling our emotions, too, because they're going to flare on Sundays in the fall. That's part of it.

"It's also showing your ability take some blows and catch some balls and bounce up. Willie Reid has proven to us that he doesn't have any fear, that he can catch balls in traffic. He's distinguishing himself because of some of the things that are happening. But we have to leave it on the grass; it can't get out of hand. It's a fine line, I know. We're attempting to walk it."

Hines Ward believed that fine line was trampled. He said it to the defensive backs at the time on the field, and he reiterated his stance afterward to the media when asked about it.

"It's chicken(bleep). That's what it is. Chicken(bleep)," said Ward. "We're talking about practice, and you go out there and hurt somebody? I understand we're going at it hard, and you want to hit somebody else, but we have to practice smart. You lose somebody off a great hit, come on. Willie is somebody who's trying to make this team. If he were to get hurt and lose his ACL, who's going to be the stupid person then. You just have to play smart, man.

"Willie is coming off a foot injury. This is his opportunity to make an impression. Yes, we know he's tough; he took a great hit. If he gets hurt, or something like that, we lose somebody who could be a vital part of our offense and special teams. You have to be smart about it. I understand we want to hit each other, but at the same time you have to practice smart."

Determining right or wrong will fall to Tomlin and his staff, but this is another example of the long-time battle that has raged between receivers and defensive backs. It can start with one side or the other preening after making a play, then it's spiced with some trash-talk. Add in the heat of the day and the intensity of the session, and things can escalate quickly.

"It's been happening all day," said Ward. "You do it one time, but you don't just keep letting it happen and happen. If the coaches aren't going to say nothing about it, than hell, maybe a player has to say something about it. I mean, there were a couple of scuffles out there, and in the heat of the war, you're going to get scuffles like that. At the same time, let's be smart. We're on the same team. We're not the opponent. We need all of us to be in this together. We have to practice that way."

For his part, Clark apologized for hitting Reid after the whistle, and he understood why Ward said what he did.

"Hines is defending his team, saying we're kind of wrong, kind of dirty, and so we might be," said Clark. "That's why we play defense, not offense. I tell him, if I was wrong, I apologize, please forgive me. I'm willing to accept being wrong and take the repercussions for it. And, you know, we're going to play tomorrow."

STEELERS NOTES: Santonio Holmes was removed from the physically unable to perform list, and he practiced with the team for the first time on Saturday afternoon. Said Tomlin, "He's going to go and do everything tomorrow, so he can catch up. All of those guys who are coming back (from injury), we'll bring them back bit by bit. Verron (Haynes) did a little more today. He'll do some more tomorrow. We just want to make sure we don't have any steps backward as we move forward." Tomlin also said that Lawrence Timmons (groin) is still day-to-day as is rookie tight end Matt Spaeth (shoulder). "I wouldn't necessarily call it hurt he's dealing with something. We'll look at it tonight and see if he can go tomorrow Sunday's practice is scheduled for 2:55 p.m. and is open to the public.


Last edited by flex001; 07-28-2007 at 07:45 PM..
 07-28-2007, 07:48 PM         #113
flex001  OP
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Saturday, July 28, 2007


LATROBE, Pa. Once upon a time, a night practice at Latrobe Stadium ended with a couple of sets of the goal-line drill, a lively and often entertaining exercise to be sure, but also one that relegated the quarterback to the bit part of simply handing off the ball.

That was Bill Cowher's version. Mike Tomlin handled night practice a little differently, in that nothing done under the lights hadn't been done on just any other afternoon at St. Vincent College.

It was a two-hour regular practice that provided very dry viewing for the fans through more than the opening 60 minutes, but then things got a little interesting when Tomlin's practice script put the football in Ben Roethlisberger's hands.

It was a red zone drill, first-team offense vs. first-team defense, and this is in keeping with Tomlin's wont of scheduling periods of situational football within the context of a complete practice. And it doesn't always necessarily have to happen at the end.

The first situation was second-and-7 at the 16-yard line. Roethlisberger dropped back and drilled a perfect pass over the middle to Hines Ward, who caught the ball in front of Anthony Smith at the goal line and got into the end zone for a touchdown.

The second situation was a first-and-10 from the 19-yard line. This time the formation had two tight ends on the field, and Roethlisberger threw a similar pass to a similar spot over the middle. But this time it was incomplete, with one of the reasons being the simple fact intended receiver Jerame Tuman isn't as slick a route-runner as Ward.

The third snap was a third-and-6 at the 11-yard line. Roethlisberger went to his left this time and fired a bullet between Tyrone Carter and Bryant McFadden that stuck between the 8 and the 0 on Cedrick Wilson's jersey. Don't underestimate the job Wilson did to hold onto that throw, either. Touchdown No. 2.

Next play, first-and-goal from the 10-yard line. Again, with the multiple tight ends, and Roethlisberger goes back to the right side of the field with a perfect fade pattern to Heath Miller in the back corner of the end zone. Ricardo Colclough had pretty decent coverage, but he also had no chance because of the execution of the throw and the catch. Touchdown No. 3.

Last play for Roethlisberger, a third-and-goal at the 7-yard line. Back to the left side, and back to Ward, but on this route the timing was a bit off. Either Ward got out of his break a little too slowly, or Roethlisberger led him a little too much, but the pass was just beyond the receiver's reach.

To summarize, Roethlisberger was 3-of-5 for 37 yards and three touchdowns in a drill that had to be exciting to the Steelers coaches for the way their quarterback performed in it.

STEELERS NOTES: RB Verron Haynes and LB Derek Rehage both practiced on Friday night, and as a result were moved from the physically unable to perform list to the active roster. Lawrence Timmons (groin) and Santonio Holmes did not practice Tomlin cancelled the scheduled Saturday morning practice as a reward for the players' hard work, but they didn't get the morning off. Meetings and video review were added instead The Steelers practice once each on Saturday and Sunday, with both sessions starting at 2:55 p.m. and with both open to the public
 10 years ago '05        #114
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 10 years ago '05        #115
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Steelers to Delay Naming of Team Mascot



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LATROBE, Pa. ─ Due to the overwhelming response by Steelers fans who submitted entries to the team's contest to name the new Steelers mascot, the club has decided to delay the announcement of the results. The new mascot's name was to be originally announced today during the Steelers 7 p.m. practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.

"Steelers Fans have stepped up once again and due to this overwhelming response and so many good suggestions, we need more time to make the final decision," said Steelers President Art Rooney II.

The Steelers have received over 70,000 entries to name their new mascot. "The field has been narrowed down to a short list of finalists and we expect to have a final decision soon," said Mr. Rooney. "We want to thank the greatest fans in the world for their support!"

The announcement was originally scheduled to be part of the festivities at the team's annual night practice at Latrobe Memorial High School. Tonight's practice will be open to the public and will be followed by a fireworks display. Admission is $3 for adults 18-65 and $1 for children 12-17 and senior citizens. Children under 12 will be admitted for free when accompanied by a parent. Proceeds benefit the Greater Latrobe School District Athletic Program.


i still say cheerleaders would've been better
 10 years ago '07        #116
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I was at the Latrobe High School Practice....It was good!!! Love being at Training camp!!!! GREAT SEEING THE STEELERS WHEN I WALK OUTSIDE MY DORM!!!

BLEEDING BLACK AND GOLD!!!
 10 years ago '05        #117
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Week 2 offers unique challenges

Monday, July 30, 2007

LATROBE, Pa. From Coach Mike Tomlin's viewpoint, now is when it gets interesting.

The first week of training camp is over, and the drudgery has begun to set in. The weather is getting hotter and muggier. There is a game on the horizon, but it's not until Sunday, which is still four days and eight practices away.

Tomlin said he was pleased with the progress that has been made so far, and he backed up those words by shortening each of Monday's two practices.

"Yeah, I'm a nice guy," cracked Tomlin. "But no, these guys are working extremely hard. You'd anticipate that. It's easy to subtract; it's tough to add. When we were putting the (practice) schedule together we had that in mind. They've met certain criteria, they've done that and then some. They're playing with great energy and enthusiasm, and we want to throw them a bone every now and then."

When asked what has pleased him in particular, Tomlin pointed to the overall competitive nature of the players as individuals and as parts of their respective units.

"I liked the ebb and flow," said Tomlin. "We were giving up some deep balls on defense, and we have to make that disappear. But at the same time if you're doing that it means the offense is executing. We turned the ball over some offensively, we had a couple of interceptions this morning, but if we're doing that it means the defense is getting it done. Ebb and flow is a sign of the football team competing, and we're going to keep moving forward."

With the team now in its second week of training camp, and with the first of five preseason games looming, interest is focusing on battles for both roster spots and then roles within the schemes. Before camp Tomlin said there would be no rush to judgment on any of that, and one week into it he hasn't wavered.

"We have to let it play out. We can't come out here with any pre-conceived notions because then you're not giving the men an opportunity to show what they're capable of," said Tomlin. "We start playing preseason games on Sunday. If we're patient enough the picture will become crystal clear."

As time passes, more of Tomlin's beliefs and philosophies manifest themselves. Another one of those came into focus after Monday's afternoon practice when the scenario was presented in terms of a player not showing much in practice and then putting together an eye-opening performance in a game.

"I think gamer is a misused term. Those animals usually don't exist," said Tomlin. "Guys who are good on Sundays are usually pretty good during the week. Every now and then you get guys who are capable of rising to the occasion, and those guys are the guys who are special. But very rarely are you totally surprised about what a guy is capable of because they burst out of the locker room doors on game day and play lights out. Usually you have evidence of that."

STEELERS NOTES: Matt Spaeth (shoulder) returned to practice, but Lawrence Timmons (groin) and James Harrison (rib) missed the session. Tomlin said Timmons had an MRI on the groin, but he did not get specific about what the test revealed. "Timmons and Harrison are still day-to-day," said Tomlin, "and we will continue to monitor those guys." Verron Haynes also did not practice, but that seems to be part of a plan to ease him back into things following his rehabilitation from knee surgery last year. "Verron Haynes, we're going to be somewhat cautious with him, take a load off him every now and then," said Tomlin. "We don't want him to take a step back."

ROSTER MOVES: The Steelers made two roster moves on Monday, when they released first-year safety Harrison Smith and claimed veteran outside linebacker Marquis Cooper off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks. Cooper (6-3, 220), a four-year veteran, originally signed with the Steelers on Oct. 31, 2006. He played in two games and was inactive for a third before being released on Nov. 25. Cooper played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004-05 and in four games last season with Seattle. He has recorded 28 tackles in 30 career games.



Last edited by The Utmost; 07-31-2007 at 08:28 PM..
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Reed comes through in the clutch

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

LATROBE, Pa. If numbers are your thing, the temperature was at 87, but it's also accurate to call it the hottest day of this training camp. The afternoon practice was just about to enter its final 30 minutes, but those minutes were reserved for team drills, and it's the team drills that include all of the hitting.

Coach Mike Tomlin gathered the team around him and laid it out for them. There was one more field goal attempt left in the special teams period, and then it would be time for 30 minutes of banging heads but if Jeff Reed made the final field goal of special teams period 42 yards out with the ball on the left hash practice would be over. Miss it, and the team drills would start with the no-huddle. Oh, and Reed had just missed on his previous attempt.

"The hardest thing in practice is trying to create game-like situations," said special teams coach Bob Ligashesky. "That was pretty much as close to a game situation as you could get right there."

This special teams period had begun with Connor Hughes kicking field goals, and when he was finished, Reed stepped up for his turn. By then, Tomlin had told Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward what was coming, because they started yelling to the kicker, "Take us home, Reed. Take us home."

Reed made his first couple of kicks, and then hooked one. That's when Tomlin called the team together and gave everybody the news. There was a lot of expectant chatter at the prospect of 30 minutes cut off an afternoon practice as Reed went through his normal pre-kick routine.

"At this time of year, the guys are a little leg weary," said Tomlin. "I told Jeff last night the possibilities of it, and I asked him to keep it to himself so he could sleep on it a little bit. He wore it well, and he delivered for his teammates. And really, that's what training camp is about. We're pitting these guys against each other and coming out here and competing here every day. We want to make sure we're providing that same opportunity for Jeff."

Reed knew what was on the line, even if it wasn't going to show up in the standings.

"Coach Tomlin mentioned it to me and told me to keep my mouth shut, and not tell anybody else. Actually, it was worse that he did mention it, because I thought about it all night last night," said Reed. "I didn't want to let my team down. I'm glad it worked out for the best, and actually the one before that I mis-hit. It was good that it all wasn't riding on that one."

There are several themes emerging as Tomlin's first training camp continues to unfold, and among those are an emphasis on special teams, and the reality that while there is going to be hard work, there are rewards for working hard.

"I was finished after that period anyway, so if anything, it helps those guys," said Reed about the significance of his kick. "At this point, we're pretty tired anyway, and we're f!ghting through camp. Team drills was coming up, and if there are any hits that occur, that's the period when they occur, so I saved them a few bruises."

INJURY REPORT: Rookie Darnell Stapleton hyperextended his knee. "I don't think it's anything major, but he might require a day or two before he can get back out there," said Tomlin Willie Parker, Chris Hoke and Travis Kirschke were given the afternoon off. "It's training camp, and there are bumps and bruises along the way," said Tomlin. "We try to take care of a few guys like Willie Parker, Chris Hoke, Travis Kirschke. Yesterday, we took a little bit off Verron Haynes. We want to make sure we keep our horses up and running."

 10 years ago '05        #119
The Utmost 1 heat pts
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Hampton a big man in Steelers' plans - except on offense

07/31/07

LATROBE, Pa. Casey Hampton, like many players who spend their careers stopping the run rather than carrying the ball, always wanted to be in the backfield once. Just once.

Let him plow his 340 pounds through the middle of the line, Hampton always thought, and he'd show them how to carry a pile. Sure, he may be 100 pounds heavier than most running backs, but few men of his weight can move their feet like he can.

Hampton got that one play in this Pittsburgh Steelers training camp and, when he did, he understood why he is on defense rather than offense.

Trying to lighten the mood of what has been an intense, up-tempo and unusually physical camp since it began July 23, new coach Mike Tomlin allowed his Pro Bowl nose tackle to line up at fullback at the end of a goal line drill.

Hampton, blocking for Najeh Davenport, hadn't hit the line before linebacker Clint Kriewaldt plowed into his chest and knocked him backward, causing Hampton's helmet to shift sideways.

"I think Casey Hampton was on the take on that snap at fullback," Tomlin said, laughing at what figures to be a one-and-done experiment.

Count defensive end Brett Keisel among those glad to be getting Hampton back for the rest of his career. To Keisel, it's possible the Steelers may have better players than Hampton, but none are more valuable.

Hampton, one of the NFL's top run stoppers, comes off the field on most passing plays - or, roughly, at least 50 percent of the time. Regardless, his teammates chose him and wide receiver Hines Ward as their most valuable players during their Super Bowl championship season two years ago.

"He's the anchor of our defense and if he doesn't do his job, everything else falls apart," Keisel said. "I think everyone else can pretty much mess up and we have so much speed that we will get to the ball. But if Hampton doesn't take his two or three guys, things fall apart and everyone respects him for that."

It's not an overstatement, Keisel said, that Hampton sometimes occupies two offensive linemen at the same time.

"There's no guy in the league I've watched, and this is my sixth year, that can take on men like he does," Keisel said. "He's just so strong and so solid. I've said this before, but when God built a nose tackle, he built Casey Hampton."

Hampton laughed at that.

"He built a short, fat guy, that's what a nose tackle is," Hampton said.

Still, while nose tackles may look alike, they don't all play alike. Hampton, a first-round draft pick in 2001, has made the Pro Bowl the last two seasons and three times overall and often is cited among opposing players as one of the league's toughest linemen to block.

Hampton fits the Steelers well because he occupies the middle of their 3-4 defense. But even if Tomlin decides to shift to a 4-3 in a year or two, Hampton thinks he will fit in.

"It would be nice to switch it up a little bit," he said.

Hampton, a former star lineman at Texas, could prove more valuable to the Steelers this season as they adjust to not having linebacker Joey Porter, who was released in a salary cap move and signed with Miami.

Keisel wouldn't be surprised if Hampton replaces Porter as the vocal leader of the defense, even though Hampton isn't one to stir up rivalries and speak his mind the way Porter does.

"I always said something when it needed to be said, I'm just not as rah-rah as Joey was," Hampton said. "I'm always holding everybody accountable, just as I'm holding myself accountable."

The respect his teammates have for Hampton allows him to speak his mind without creating internal disputes.

"Everybody knows how I am, so they don't take it the wrong way if I call them out in front of everybody," Hampton said. "Even as a rookie, if something was wrong I was going to let it be known, that's just the way I am."

Notes: When camp began, Tomlin said all players would be required to attend all practices, even those devoted to special teams. But players not on special teams are now being excused from those practices, including Tuesday morning's workout. ... With LB James Harrison bothered by sore ribs, second-round draft pick LaMarr Woodley is taking some snaps with the first-unit defense.

 10 years ago '05        #120
The Utmost 1 heat pts
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can't wait for that hall of fame game boy...hope i can find a stream
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