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Notes from the first day of camp

Postby vrabinec » Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:43 am

So here are my observations from the Steelers’ first practice. In order to understand the notes, you have to understand that, unlike Cowher’s and Noll’s practices, which moved smoothly and methodically from stretching, to individual drills such as pylon hopping and ball reaction drills, to one-on-one drills, then culminating with a long scrimmage at the end of practice, Tomlin’s practices (I didn’t have the privilege of seeing any last year) seem more geared to the MTV crowd, a bunch of small scrimmages scattered through practice around the basics. The practice took about 30-45 minutes longer than a Cowher practice, but the actual work done seems to be the same, they just spent more time moving from one venue to the next. So my notes will seem scattered and haphazard, but that’s because the team is jumping from drill to drill. I thought I could concentrate on some specific players, but it’s just easier when things are moving this fast to jot down numbers and worry about who the number belongs to later. Sorry if I missed your favorite player, I tried to jot down as much as I could.

One preemptive strike before I get to the meat and bones of this, realize that this is the first practice of the year, if I say someone isn’t playing well, it’s just an observation on this particular practice. So don’t get your panties in an uproar because I say something derogatory about “your guy”.

Here we go, in chronological order, just like I saw it and thought it:

- I see Casey Hampton in a tee shirt. I try real hard not to exaggerate, but anyone who has seen the movie “Wildcats” should picture Finch, and you will know how freakin’ fat he is. He’s got the thunder thighs and spindly calves, so that his knees are pushed together like a fat chick at the mall. His jowls are handing down from his face, and I swear, even his eyelids are fat. Not happy with the first thing I see in camp.

- I notice right away that the setup is more tailored for the crowd. Before, it was more of a case of watch what you can, we’re working here. Now the grass is manicured like a golf course, the “exciting” part of the practice is performed in front of the crowd in the stands, and the players seem much freer to play around and joke. They seem happier. Not sure if that’s a good thing or bad.

- In the warm-ups, I notice that Dixon throws a sinker. You know what I’m talking about, it’s a beautiful spiral, but the delivery is so overhand and his hands are so big that it nosedives the ball. He’s gonna have to watch that.

- There’s a coach in the warm-ups working with Humpal about his reads and his slides. The coach came and sought him out about it (it’s not Butler, I don’t recognize the coach) so he may have had a problem with it in the first practice of the day (the cameras are rolling above, catching everything from warm-ups to scrimmages)

- The offense and defense split after warm-ups, and they run some plays with their helmets and shoulder pads off. Ward starts it off by catching the first pass from Ben to a big ovation from the crowd. (Ward would get an ovation every stinkin’ time he touched the ball, I don’t get it) By the way, the crowd was only around 5-6 thousand, a far cry from the biggest crowds I’ve seem at the first practice which were in “05 after the 15-1 season and looked to be about 20 grand)

- Limas Sweed is asking a lot of questions about where to line up, and Washington is helping him as best as he can. Moving him in or out, depending on the play. Good for Washington.

- The defense across the field is running several crossing stunts, the one they’re working on this morning is to overload the left and stunt Woodley inside with the ILB swinging around the outside. Right away I can tell that the defensive practice is going smoother than the offensive.

- Max Starks comes out and is the starting right tackle, he looks as slim as I’ve seen him. Hope that’s good news for him.

- Across the field, the defense is running the middle blitz over and over. Might be something the personnel offer this year. Curious to see Timmons in action.

- Dixon throws a bad pass in padless drills. Not a good sign. He’s either nervous, or he can’t throw the short to intermediate stuff.

- Dixon throws a pass to Walker, complete, but high, Walker goes up for it and makes a nice catch. Looks like Dixon needs to work on his touch.

- Ben has hit his first 5-7 passes in stride. He looks better than I’ve ever seen him. No worries about the Qb spot as long as he’s healthy,.

- Potts hits Anthony Trucks over the middle with a nice pass, but Potts looks stiff. He doesn’t look to be in the same league athletically as Ben, Dixon or Batch.. Still, it was a nice effort and he works hard. We’ll see if he gets paid off for it.

- Nice pass on the tight end hook to Spaeth. Damn, this guy looks surprisingly smooth. He has a great awareness of where the defenders are and he comes back for the ball very well.

- Mendenhall makes his fist appearance and catches a swing out pass in which he drifts out to the flat them runs an in-pattern about 5 yards down field. He makes the catch, but I hear a bit of a “slap” when the ball hits his hands. His hands aren’t as soft as we were lead to believe.

- Ben hits Miller with a nice flare out to the right. Miller makes an over-the-shoulder catch over the outside shoulder on a perfectly thrown ball then cuts it upfield and looks good doing it. They seem to be concentrating on the short stuff to the backs and the tight ends. No question as to whether or not Ben and Miller are on the same page. They are.

- They switch drills and now they have the special teams firing off the line in coverage with nobody across from them. As for shear quickness off the line, Woodley is the quickest off on the first group.

- Ryan McBaen is the quickest off the line in the second group.

- Dezmond Sherrod is quickest off the line in the next group.

- Gary Russell is doing a good job of spring down field in the drill as is Mike Humpal.

- Micah Rucker and Matt Spaeth are the slowest ones getting off the line, as though they don’t want any part of this. (either that, or they are really slow getting out of their stance)

- They have the punt returners catching balls. Holmes makes the smoothest catches out of all of them.

- Mewelde Moore is making the catches, but you hear the ball slapping against the pads when he does. I’m a bit nervous here. I was expecting him to be the punt returner.

- Hold the bus. Willie Reid actually looks good making the catches. Could it be that he has seen the light?

- Travis Williams looks very smooth catching the ball on punt returns. Not sure who he is, but other than Holmes, he looks the best at actually pulling the ball in. Of course, they aren’t really taking the ball back at this point.

- They have Ryan McBean running down on punt coverage, and he looks to be a little stiffer than his 230 pound counterparts, but he is the most powerful guy they have covering punts. Remember Orpheus Roye and his wedge busting? This may be the second coming. Of course, he needs to play the d-line first.

- Jonathan Dekker is working real hard at downfield blocking on punts. I wish the rest of our guys worked this hard.

- During the change to the next drill, Roy Lewis did a very cool dance to get the other defensive backs fired up. The crowd loved it. Who’s Roy Lewis?

- The team stretches and gets ready for the “real” part of practice to start. Tomlin squats with Washington and Reid. Washington tries to convince Tomlin of something. Tomlin is skeptical.

- The players put on the helmets and it’s time to start the festivities. In passing drills, Wards starts it off with a nice one-handed catch of Ben’s pass.


- Batch hits Mewelde Moore on a screen, and it’s immediately evident why they got Moore. He squats real nicely in the pocket and he’s really hard for the defenders to see. Then he turns is up-field quickly and goes for daylight. Moore’s a nice addition.

- I’m watching the QB’s go though their fakes before passing the ball, and Ben goes through the fake and sells it much better than any of the other QB’s. He gets a high shoulder lift after the handoff, and it really looks like he’s got the ball and gonna throw it. I can’t help but see Kenny Anderson in those mannerisms. If Anderson is good for nothing else, he has made Ben’s fakes top-notch.

- Dezmond Sherrod makes a nice catch on a button-hook. He’s playing well.

- Ben hits Carey Davis out of the backfield in the hands, and Davis bobbles the ball. Turns what could have been a 10 yard gain into a 2 yard gain.

- Billy Lasko tries hard when he’s coming out of the backfield, but he looks really stiff when he’s trying to turn around to catch the ball. Really stiff.

- The tight ends are trying to block, and Cody Boyd looks to be the worst blocking tight end we have. He has his arms way too extended, and he’s just leaning on the defender, trying to push him out of the way.

- Dezmond Sherrod makes a nice block in the blocking drills. Gets his hands under the pads nice and firmly, and drives his man.

- They have the blocking racks set out with a blocking sled at the end of the chute. If you’ve never seen these racks, they are a little like bicycle racks, only they are chutes low enough to force the blocker to fire out low. Spaeth is topping out every time he fires out. He is hitting the top and it’s messing up his blocks. He needs to somehow learn to keep his asss down.

- Justin Vincent looks great catching the ball over the middle. Who knew?

- Sherrod looks better than everyone except Miller at firing out of the chute and hitting the sled. Whoever the hell this guy is, he’s making a serious attempt at making the team.

- The passing phase turns to the throw-it-behind-the-receiver drill. Sweed makes a nice catch on a ball behind him. He looks to be more flexible than the other receivers (other than Holmes, who is head and shoulders that best athlete on the field. He can make his body do whatever the hell he wants)

- Willie Reid bobbles a ball thrown behind him. He is making very solid catches on the balls that have him squared up to the QB or going across the field, but sideline stuff is definitely not his forte.

- Jeremy Bloom is no receiver. I lost count at 8 balls in a row bobbled. It’s not the passes where he is facing the Qb that are a problem for him, he seems to do okay with those. But when he’s asked to run down field on something like a fly, out or post pattern, he consistently bobbles the ball. He will either make this team, strictly as a punt returner because he is THAT much better than the other returners we have, or he will not be on the team, because he is no receiver. If we were in a crunch, and needed him to step in, I would assume the game was lost.

- Heath Miller fires out and hits the sled with authority. Sorry if I don’t give more reports of what Miller’s doing. Just assume that, whatever it is, he is doing it right, and doing it better than anyone on the team. I want to concentrate on the ones who are in question.

- The running backs go down to the right end of the field for foot-quickness drills. Believe it or not, Mendenhall has the quickest feet of any of them in the short shuttle where they quick-step through the cones. Mewelde Moore is a close second.

- Moore is the quickest in cutting drills when the spread the drills apart a bit and have them run full speed and zig-zag through. Parker looks a bit awkward. Even more than he used to. I believe he’s not 100% yet.

- Meanwhile, in the passing drills, Willie Reid is pulling in everything thrown his way. I have to confess that I thought Reid was gonna be one of the first cuts, but he looks to be the most improved player on the roster, and right now, I’d say he is the 3rd receiver. Will wonders never cease?

- Bloom makes a nice catch on a throw by Batch that’s a bit over his head (not hard to do, he’s short), but, again, it’s on a pass where he was facing the QB.

- Sweed is running the routes, I suppose, but they ain’t pretty. Not only that, but his hands aren’t the softest I’ve seen. He is the diametric opposite of Bloom. He makes the catches over his shoulder like the fly and post look easy, smooth as butter. But when he tries to hook or cut in, not only does he run a very awkward route, his hands stiffen up and he gets nervous. He likes to take it down field, but doesn’t seem to like it over the middle. He looks to be in a battle for the fourth receiver at this time, nit the third. So, if you have him on your fantasy team, I’d think about dropping him, because he’s not gonna do us much good, other than Hail-Mary type situations, until the 6-8th week of the season.

- Holmes is ridiculously quick at stopping and turning. I don’t know who the hell can cover him outside of the elite five or six corners in this league. I know I complained about his complaint about practice…forget it. He’s in GREAT shape, and he’s amazing. If only the rest of our guys were in this good of shape.

- Nate Washington gets open on a ten yard crossing route, then drops the ball….Anyone surprised? The fans heckled him a bit after that. I don’t like to hear hacklers, but in Nate’s case, I’ll make an exception. Damn, he is so good at getting open, if only he could catch.

- Reid catches another one on a curl. He’s looking like a Steeler version on Welker right about now. I still can’t get over the transformation. Whatever he did in the off season, I wish he’d drop some on Washington.

- We move to the TE & RB blocking the LB drill. Arnold Harrison rips by Jonathan Dekker with a rip move. Dekker’s arms seem too weak to handle a strong rip.

- Donovan Woods does a great swim move to blow by Parker. Not exactly what I was hoping for, since Willie’s gonna have a lot of blocking to do this year.

- Carey Davis stoned Patrick Bailey who tried a swim move and wound up getting rolled 5 yards down field by the rib.

- Gary Russel drove Anthony Trucks to the ground. Trucks tried to rip around Russel and got caught off balance.

- Harrison owned Sherroz. Blew by him like he wasn’t even there.

- Frazier beat Lasko with an outside speed rush.

- Hmm, Mendenhall stoned Foote. Got under his pads nicely and stood him up.

- Farrior beat Justin Vincent with a speed rush. Vincent just couldn’t lift his feet quickly enough to slide out to meet him.

- Arnold Harrison bull rushed Parker and had him going backwards on roller skates.

- Carey Davis stoned Donovan Woods. Caught his square in the chest and stood him up. I’m not a big Davis fan, but that was a nice block.

- Over on the passing drills, Dallas Baker made a wonderful catch on a ball that Batch threw way high. Fifteen yards down field, Baker skied in the seam and snagged it out of the air. The ball would have been intercepted had he not caught it.

- Back on the blocking drills, Harrison bull rushes Dekker and drives him right back into the QB. I don’t think Dekker has the leverage to get down as low as Harrison is coming in. I think it’s a problem if Dekker is expected to block shorter LB’s.


- Mendenhall gives up a good bit of ground on an Arnold Harrison bull rush, but eventually stiffens and holds his ground. Probably more ground given up than you like to see. But his balance when he’s blocking is impressive.


- Cody Boyd shows very soft hands on a catch on a curl pattern. I was just starting to wonder why he was here.

- Mewelde Moore stones Larry Foote. Foote thought he could plow over Moore, I suppose because Moore is small, but Moore gets good leverage underneath and actually got Foote off his feet a bit. Perfect form.

- Humpal tries tossing Russel aside, but Russel holds his ground and stops Humpal dead in his tracks.

- Andre Frazier fakes outside, then bull rushes Billy Lasko. A bit embarrassing for Lasko. It was ugly. He ended up flailing in the dust.

- Timmons absolutely rolls Mendenhall. Timmons got his arm under Mendenhalls, and picked him up them bull rushed him, just carrying him into the backfield.

- Arnold Harrison puts a wonderful spin move on Justin Vincent. Best spin move of anyone on the team.

- And we move on to the 1st scrimmage of the evening:

- 1st play: Ben drops back, Woodley blows right by Colon and Aaron Smith bull rushes Simmons to collapse the pocket. Ben doesn’t have time to get his last step in before the play is over. Sack.

- 2nd play: Ben almost drops back, Woodley blows right by Colon. Play is over before it started. Jesus H. Christ. What the hell is Woodley doing? It’s difficult to see how he’s getting in so quickly. I’ve never seen anything like this.

- 3rd play: Timmons stunts around the left tackle and is in before the play starts. Left tackle was engaged with the end, and there was nobody there to block Timmons.

- 4th play: Ben drops back and gets a nice pocket. Sweed has a step down the right sideline, the pass is nice and high, just right. McFadden tips it away at the last second with one of those leaping swats where his legs are spread out, the left arm is out and the right hand reaches up and tips it away by a fingernail. Beautiful play by McFadden. Seed MAY have had that ball, if he’d come back for it a bit. He may have underestimated McFadden’s recovery speed.

- 5th play: The offense tries to dump it out into the flat to Spaeth, but Timmons is there just as the ball arrives with great reaction, and puts a lick on Spaeth just to let him know he’s there. Timmons is quietly letting the offense know to stay away from his side.

- 6th play: Willie Reid comes out of the slot and beats Deshea for a nice ten yard curl. Is this the same freakin’ Willie Reid? I take back everything I said about him.

- 7th play: Donovan Woods blows right up the middle (can’t tell who’s fault) and snuffs the play out before it starts. Dixon is in now, and he trows into triple coverage anyway.

- 8th play: Martavious Prince throws his man aside and is in the backfield before the pass can get off.

- 9th play: Finally Ben has a nice pocket and throws a pretty 10 yard in to Cody Boyd.

- 10th play: Marvel stones Keisel and Ben has some nice time to throw a 15 yard out to Ward. At this point, I can confidently say that Marvel is back. He’s just a touch rusty, but he is back and we have a left tackle again. That part of the line won’t be a problem, it will be the right side. And, Kemo is not playing at this point. Not sure why. In his place, my arch nemesis, Trai Essex actually looks pretty good. He looks to have finally lost the baby fat, looks stronger, and seems to be more focused. Is it a contract year?

- 11th play: Safety blitz over the right tackle, Max Starks at this point, gets to the QB before the play can get off.

- 12th play: Ike has Holmes covered, Deshea has Ward covered. Ben throws it away. That’s twice Ben has thrown it away. Let’s hope the Kenny Anderson teachings are taking effect.

- That’s it for this edition of the scrimmage. They move back to punt returns. Holmes shows off with a one-handed catch of a punt, looking back at Reid as he does it. Showoff.

- Closer to us, they are practicing the punt coverage. Keyaron Fox is almost un-blockable. This guy’s the best special team coverage guy on the team. He is agile and quick, and the defenders can’t get in front of him.

- As far as catching the punts, Holmes easily has the best hands and the most speed, not to mention he’s the most daring of the prospective return men. Mewelde Moore is steady, returns it well, and has a nice low center of gravity, but not that much speed. Reid is catching it as well as Moore is, and he has more speed, but he seems to be a little more erratic on the returns. I wonder if he won’t try some side-to-side stuff that will cost yards. Bloom is the most intriguing. He is easily the quickest of the return guys, a little jitterbug. But, in order to keep Bloom, we would have to keep a full regimen of receivers on hand besides him, because he’s not gonna be much help if we’re shot on receivers.

- Timmons is giving the punt return blockers fits. He’s too strong and shifty for them to block.

- Ryan McBean is used as a punt return blocker and he does a great job, driving Jonathan Dekker out of the play by overpowering him.

- Next scrimmage:

- Play #1: Ben hits Willie on a quick screen on the left side and Marvel and Essex open a nice hole. Willie look okay hitting the hole, but he doesn’t have that extra gear he had in 2005. He better get it back before the start of the season, because Mendenhall is the most pro-ready back I’ve seen at these practices since I started coming here, and I go back to the days of Sydney Thornton. Everyone may assume Willie is the starter, but I don’t think Mendenhall is ready to concede that just yet. If Willie doesn’t get that extra burst back, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mendenhall start right away. He sees the hole better than Willie, He cuts better than Willie, he has a better lean to the end of his runs (remember that Barry Foster lean that got a couple extra yards at the end of runs?), and he’s a better blocker. Willie is faster, that’s what he has.

- Play #2: Farrior has perfect coverage on Washington on a 10 yard in. Ben throws it at their feet.

- Play #3: Woodley fakes outside, then slaps Colon on the shouler to get him leaning out and blows right by him on the inside. Play over. Colon actually falls down on the play, he’s faked out so bad.

- Play #4: Handoff left, but Andre Frazier fills the hole immediately and stuffs it at the line of scrimmage.

- Play #5: Ben (and everyone else) sees that Roy Lewis is out to the side, one-on-one against Holmes. Holmes fakes him out of his jock with a head fake outside, then runs a 15 yard crossing pattern and Ben hits him in stride.

- Play #6: Spaeth shakes Foote loose on a 6 yard slant, and Ben hits him in stride. Good thing it was a short pass, because Timmons drove Starks into the backfield and had shaken by throwing him aside.

- Play #7: Hartwig picks up the blitz in the middle beautifully, and Baker makes a sweet catch on a 10 yard crossing pattern four feet over his head.

- Play #8: Mendenhall runs right and cuts through a tiny slit of a hole between Simmons and Colon, and puts on a couple fakes that buckle the linebacker’s knees.

- Play #9: Starks doesn’t pick up the corner blitz over RT, and Batch checks down nicely to Lasko, but Lasko drops the ball.

- Play #10: Mixup on the line, nobody blocks McBride and he’s in on the QB before the play gets started.

- 7 on 7 drills:

- Ben hits miller over the middle with Frazier draped all over Miller in mice coverage 15 yards down field.

- I blow off the 7 on 7 drills and run down to the line drills, one-on-one. Coach Tomlin comes along. He’s obviously interested in the line. He’s glaring at them, and letting them know he’s watching:

- Kirschke tries to throw Essex to the side, but Essex shows very nice form and stones him.

- Eason tries to bull rush Hartwig, but Hartwig gets under his pads and stands him up.

- Hills gets to meet Harrison, and it isn’t pretty. Harrison is by him before Hills can get his knuckles off the ground. Tomlin barks out to try again, and at least Hills gets up before Harrison gets to him, but he still has that baby fat jiggling on his love handles and that rookie look in his eye and Harrison does a rip move and gives us a chuckle by hopping into the arms of Zerlein who is standing back there acting as the QB.

- Woodley punches into Colon, then swims by him effortlessly with the right arm swim over.

- Tomlin tells them to try it again. Woodley blows by Colon again, this time with a rip move under Colon’s right elbow.

- Hartwig stones Ryan McBean. Doesn’t even give an inch. I’m not sure even Hartings was ever this perfect at technique. Wish Hampton was here to give Harwig a real test.

- Tomlin tells them to try again. This time, McBean tries a spin move, but it’s not quick enough and Hartwig shoves him back.

- Martavious Price takes a turn at Hartwig, and Hartwig gets under his pads and straightens him out.

- Jordan Reffert is stoned by Jeremy Parquet

- Tomlin tells them to go again, and this time Reffert jumps offside They have a ball on a stick, and they call out signals. They’re not supposed to move on the signals, just the movement of the ball)

- They try again, and this time Reffert beats Parquet on the outside with a bland “speed” rush. Don’t expect either of these guys to make it.

- Starks comes in to line up against Woodley, and Tomlin announces that this is the matchup he’s been waiting for. Woodley blows right by Starks on the outside. At this point, I know Starks isn’t THAT bad of a pass blocker. He looks good, trimmed down, and he can’t handle Woodley either. I decide that, this first practice, Woodley is the best player on the field.

- Tomlin tells them to go again, and Woodley jumps offside.

- Again, and this time, Woodley gets by Starks with a spin move. Who knew he had one. Woodley attacks the tackles arms so fiercely, and his arms are so powerful and he chops so quickly, I can honestly say we haven’t had a pass rusher like this since Kevin Greene.

- One more time, and again Woodley chops Starks’ arms right out of the way and slides around him in a split second.

- I noticed something during this drill. All the coaches at the other positions give players, the younger players in particular, a lot of one-on-one instruction. Russ Grimm used to give a lot of one-on-one by getting down into the dirt with these guys and demonstrating what he was talking about. What I’m seeing from the Zir man is nothing like that. Yes, he did tell Hills to keep his elbows down and in when he’s setting up so as not to give guys like Harrison an easy target for the rip, but that was the only bit of advice I saw him give. It seems his coaching style is to cheer guys on when they make a mistake and tell them to try harder.

- Last scrimmage:

- Play #1: Ben overthrows Hines. He had time to throw.

- Play #2: Nice trap to the right, Essex pulling opened up a nice hole for Willie who outran Farrior, then cut inside of Carter.

- Play #3: Ben overthrows Holmes deep down the middle. Ike had good covergage on Holmes, and Ben apparently didn’t see Moore who was wide open underneath.

- Play #4: Timmons stunts around the right tackle and is free and clear. Batch has to throw the ball away.

- Play #5: Handoff to Mendenhall over the right guard. Again, Mendenhall cuts back and to his left through a hole he had no business knowing was there.

- Play #6: Moor takes one up the middle for a nice gain. He gets so low when he’s running and gets going north and south so quickly, it’s hard for the defenders to see him.

- Play #7: Russel takes a pitch to the left and cuts it back for a nice gain. The first and second lines are doing a decent job of run blocking. Looks like we’re running a lot of student-body left and right types of runs, rather than offside guards pulling and trapping.

- Play #8: Darnell Stapleton mauls Jordan Reffert and Justin Vincent takes it up the gut for a nice gain.

- Play #9: Starks rolls his man 5 yards off the line, but Carey Davis trips over the grass and falls in the backfield.

- Play #10: Parker sweeps to the right, but Woodley stuffs Colon at the line and throws him aside with ease when the ball carrier gets there. Damn, this guy’s something else.

- Play #11: Ben drops back and has nobody open. Good coverage by our starting secondary. He dumps it into the flat to Spaeth who makes a nice grab, but Harrison is there right away to give him a pop, just to let him know that he would have decked him.

- Play #12: Handoff to Moore, and he slices nicely through the hole between Hartwig and Simmons.

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Re: Notes from the first day of camp

Postby darthsteel » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:02 pm

good job man!

I know woodley is something else , but the oline sounds pretty week after day 1!

I am also curious to see if sweed will be night and day better by the end of training camp or if he is gonna need a full season to get something going.

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Re: Notes from the first day of camp

Postby gumband » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:50 pm

Do any of the punt returners go up for the ball, arms extended like Woodson use to do to get a nanasecond on converage? Or do they wait for the ball to come to them?

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Re: Notes from the first day of camp

Postby vrabinec » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:03 pm

No, all of them caught it by clutching it to their chest. Only Holmes did anything different when he one-handed it. And, when he caught it the other times, he did more of a Willie Mays basket catch, rather than trapping it against his chest.

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Re: Notes from the first day of camp

Postby Bomberman » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:42 pm

Great job! Thanks for the update.
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Re: Notes from the first day of camp

Postby Nel » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:48 pm

vrabinec, that was one hell of a post.

Thank you very much, well done!

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Re: Notes from the first day of camp

Postby Witchblade » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:54 pm

Damn good post, tkx.
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Re: Notes from the first day of camp

Postby fadden » Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:06 pm

awesome, awesome post.


i guess to me, there are known quantities and there are unknown quantities, and so the known quantities looking good in comparison is a bad thing.

for example, we know how good (or not good) Starks and Colon are. If they were completely stonewalling our pass rushers, we would be in trouble on defense this year. Them getting detroyed, on the other hand, is only good news.

From my perspective,
good news:
Mendenhall stands out as our best and most complete RB. That's what I hoped for; it doesn't make our other backs any worse. Just means we might finally have a franchise-caliber back on our roster.

Woodley and Timmons looking like demons. We already had good feelings about woodley by the end of last season, but timmons has been pretty much an unknown. timmons damn well better look like a 1st round pick this season though.

hartwig, and his amazing ability to not get pushed straight backwards. our offense with ben taking snaps under center was crap last season; our playaction stunk, our running plays were often dead by the handoff, and the rest of the passes were relatively ineffective as well. fact is, when your center gets pushed back 3 yards on every play, a 5-step drop really doesn't give you much breathing room.

bad news:
Hills not impressing. What you posted about Hills didn't sound much worse than what you said about Colon and Starks, but I had some hope he'd be a big surprise and be a step up from those clowns right away.

sweed not looking like he belongs in the top 3. we know holmes is a star, we know ward, and we've seen enough of washington. hopefully his issues are all coachable.

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Re: Notes from the first day of camp

Postby vrabinec » Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:35 pm

Yeah, I wasn't disgusted with Sweed by any means. He caught every ball they threw to him, and that's step #1, right? His issues are what I said above about going inside and coming back for the ball, and also that he wasn't getting off the line in the scrimages. Those are things a lot of rookie receivers work through, but it takes a year.

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Re: Notes from the first day of camp

Postby fadden » Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:53 pm

vrabinec wrote:Yeah, I wasn't disgusted with Sweed by any means. He caught every ball they threw to him, and that's step #1, right? His issues are what I said above about going inside and coming back for the ball, and also that he wasn't getting off the line in the scrimages. Those are things a lot of rookie receivers work through, but it takes a year.
well that's good. maybe we'll give him just a couple routes that he'll do this year so he can focus on them.

as to reid, i seem to remember that he looked great in camp last year as well. and he plays pretty well as a receiver too; his problem is that we drafted him to return and he hasn't been able to help with that.

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Re: Notes from the first day of camp

Postby No l Gravity l » Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:44 pm

awesome post vrabinec :cheers:

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Re: Notes from the first day of camp

Postby steelmoney » Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:07 pm

thanks for the great post

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Re: Notes from the first day of camp

Postby 4minmile » Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:38 pm

Nice work vrabinec

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Re: Notes from the first day of camp

Postby thesteelhammer » Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:18 pm

Great post.

first 3 plays of scrimmage are sacks.
Sounds like our o-line is starting right where it left off. :x

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Re: Notes from the first day of camp

Postby thesteelhammer » Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:59 pm

Not as good as Vabrinec's but here's a nugget from the Trib-Review

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_579916.html?source=rss&feed=9
Familiar face, familiar place: LB James Harrison was a special teams demon prior to having his kicking game duties curtailed after becoming a starter at OLB last season. But when the Steelers lined up their No. 1 punt team yesterday morning, Harrison was included.

11-on-11 notables: WR Hines Ward maintained possession on a reception despite taking a hammering blow from CB Deshea Townsend. ... C Justin Hartwig and QB Ben Roethlisberger failed to execute a snap, resulting in a fumble and a blown-dead play. ... WR Santonio Holmes worked briefly on catching punts, along with CB Travis Williams and WR Jeremy Bloom in the morning. RB Mewelde Moore, the presumptive replacement for Allen Rossum at PR, joined the group fielding punts in the afternoon, along with WR Willie Reid. ... WR Dallas Baker made a diving catch. ... TE Heath Miller dropped a pass. ... Roethlisberger and Holmes hooked up on a long completion over the middle. ... S Grant Mason made the breakup of the day, preventing a long completion down the sideline from CB Charlie Batch to WR Limas Sweed with a leaping deflection.

At it again: S Anthony Smith delivered a vicious lick on Reid, who was seemingly targeted by Smith in camp last season. Reid responded by throwing the football at Smith. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau responded with some one-on-one counsel for Smith.

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