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Thread: Stillers Blog: Camp Update

      
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    Default Stillers Blog: Camp Update

    Ken Laird's blog on 1250ESPN........

    Stillers Blog
    August 17, 2010, 11:26 AM

    Monday August 16th was an afternoon-only practice, DAY 15 in Latrobe

    The final week of training camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe featured a morning game-film review by the players with their coaches. In the afternoon, the team was back to work on the practice fields in front of the public on Chuck Noll Field.

    The two big news items of the day were the elevation in competition for the starting center spot, and the gained clarity in the interim QB plan.

    On the center front, rookie first round pick Maurkice Pouncey took first-team center reps (he had previously taken some first-team guard reps), while incumbent starter Justin Hartwig took some second-team reps there for the first time as well. It was an even time share at the spot. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said in the game Saturday Pouncey's play was "excellent, physical, and fast." Arians continued that Pouncey has "earned the right to play some more there."

    Arians also said that the center's job of reading defenses and calling out blocking declarations hasn't been too big of a job for Maurkice. Arians explained, "The third down stuff is what separates everything. Our defense is as complicated as it gets so after 38 practices now, [Pouncey] has figured it out and shown he can handle that part of it no problem."

    For Hartwig's part, he handled the increased competition with class, saying "I'm just going to keep playing hard, I've been doing this for a long time and I'm not going to change anything about what I'm doing. I'm just going come to work every day and work hard. Competition is part of the job. There's always going to be somebody pushing me. We're an offensive line unit and I'm going to help Maurkice as much as I can to be the best center that he can be, and we're making each other better every day."

    Pouncey also praised Hartwig, saying "Justin's brought me a long way. He's teaching me a lot, and the best man will play. We're coming out here to get better."

    On the QB front, although we've seen Dennis Dixon run a few specialty plays with the first team offense through the first two weeks, yesterday was the first time the coaches admitted that Dixon could spell Leftwich as a change of pace guy. Arians said, "When we play without Ben you're going to utilize all the players you have. Dixon has his package, it's a special package, and how he plays within that will determine how much he plays. I'm not against playing both [QBs]."

    Tomlin also declared that playing both QBs during Ben's absence is a possibility, but downplayed Dixon's production in preseason game #1 saying, "it was a nice start guys [but] half that production came in the fourth quarter, so we're not going to get carried away."

    As if to drive that point home, during team drills Monday Dixon took all third-team reps behind Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich. In fact, Ben took all the first team reps, and Arians said definitively that Roethlisberger will play Saturday night in New York against the Giants in preseason game #2.

    All told yesterday Ben took 16 11-on-11 reps, Dixon 15, and Byron 13. That brings the camp totals to: Dixon 243, Ben 225, Byron 215, and Batch 78 (+/- 2 reps margin of error).

    Steelers WR Hines Ward said at lunch that he wouldn't mind seeing some more of Dixon with the top unit, saying "I would like to get some more reps with Dennis, but Byron, all the guys are doing well... I'm glad I'm not the head coach. It's still a learning curve [with Dennis], when he's supposed to look right, he's looking left. But that comes with practice. He adds another dimension to our offense. Seeing that #10 jersey, all you think is Kordell Stewart."

    In other camp observations from Monday, the team worked ball security drills, on red zone passing and pass defense, and resumed linemen pass rush drills.

    WR Antonio Brown had a tough day, dropping two passes in the red zone drill, and later dropping a punt during special teams as James Harrison was bearing down on him. Tomlin shouted out, "It's OK Antonio, just say 'I was scared of Deebo (Harrison's nickname)' and everyone will understand."

    Guys looking sharp in the red zone drill were Mike Wallace, who scored on Bryant McFadden and David Pittman; Tyler Grisham, who also dusted McFadden on an inside move, and William Gay who came up with an INT near the pylon. Gay has been mocked at times through camp by Tomlin, though, when he has caught balls, as Tomlin has shouted, "big-play OTA Willie Gay," a sure reference to William making plays in practice but not necessarily in games.

    In the pass rush drills, rookie Jason Worilds got back to action after missing considerable time this camp due to injury. Worilds beat Max Starks on an inside speed move, but on the rematch was plowed to the ground by Starks. Later in the drill, Tony Hills also dumped Worilds with authority. Fellow rookie Thaddeus Gibson looked good for his part, soundly beating Flozell Adams on an inside move of his own. The team has another afternoon-only practice day Tuesday, followed by a two-session affair Wednesday, the final day practice is open to the public here in Latrobe.

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    Default Re: Stillers Blog: Camp Update

    Anyone going campin tomorrow??? I'm headin out for the last practice.

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    Default Re: Stillers Blog: Camp Update

    Quote Originally Posted by Bton66 View Post
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    Anyone going campin tomorrow??? I'm headin out for the last practice.
    ... Take some pictures and post 'em up!
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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