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Oviedo
06-05-2009, 10:35 AM
Our young DBs are showing well. Bruce Davis needs to get his backside into gear.


The Daily Buzz


By Jim Wexell
SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Jun 4, 2009


Draft day has come and gone and the Steelers have, reportedly, made all the right moves toward repeating as world champions.


THURSDAY, JUNE 4

4 p.m.: As expected Mike Wallace is the team's No. 1 kickoff return candidate, but even he can see that the competition will be fierce. "I want you people to understand these J-O-B-S are wide open!" Coach Mike Tomlin told the assembled group today.

Here's a closer look at the group:

* Wallace is the favorite. The rookie from Ole Miss has the long speed and the size Tomlin didn't have last year with Nate Washington.

* Mewelde Moore took the next turn and is probably more of a veteran fallback, as is Shaun McDonald, who was back with the group but never took a rep.

* Joe Burnett went third. He's smaller than Washington, but the rookie has college experience that Washington never got at Tiffin. Burnett must receive reps here because he's the favorite to become the punt returner, and therefore may have to find another job to do if active on game days.

* Stefan Logan is the Canadian Football League star who has great quickness and strength in spite of his diminutive stature. Logan looks like another Darren Sproles; however, he may lack the necessary long speed. According to my colleague Mark Kaboly of the McKeesport Daily News, Logan stayed after practice last week to race Willie Parker, and Parker won by five yards.

* Brandon Williams is another veteran slot receiver who flashes a great play or move every now and then. He hopes to win a WR job over McDonald, but is smaller. Making plays as a kickoff return man is a necessity for him, and he appears to have enough quickness.

* Jayson Foster is back for another camp with the Steelers. He's the former Georgia Southern QB who made it to the regular-season playing field with the Miami Dolphins, but was cut with extreme prejudice by incoming Bill Parcells, who refuses to enlist 5-foot-7 players. Like Logan, this guy is cat-quick, but is a better downfield receiver. Logan's more of a wingback/running back trying to play WR.

* The blocking backs for this group of KRmen were, in order, Rashard Mendenhall, Carey Davis and Justin Vincent.

* As the players went through their stretch, I did some numbers crunching, as in uniform numbers. I think that undrafted rookie Cedric Goodman is keeping No. 80 warm for Mike Wallace, who shouldn't get married to the idea of wearing No. 17. I also think that No. 40 is too big for Joe Burnett, who should switch with Keenan Lewis and wear No. 20. Lewis has that long, lean Gale Sayers look and would look better in No. 40.

* Watching the DBs work on their ball skills, it's obvious that both Lewis and Burnett have great hands. Lewis's are quieter.

* DB Coach Ray Horton explained a new drill and asked veteran Deshea Townsend to provide an example. As Townsend proceeded, Tomlin yelled over from the linebackers drills: "I see you Deshea!" I love that comment. I use it with my daughter's softball team. It's something you say to someone doing one of the little things that only a coach or teammate would appreciate. I first heard this from Jason Gildon when he was one of the greybeards and has since been a constant on the Steelers' practice field.

* Lewis is going to be a player. Two snapshots from today: He looked big enough to form a shadow over 6-foot-4 Martin Nance deep, and, two, coming off his man in the short zone to hone in on McDonald trying to catch a ball at the line of scrimmage. McDonald juggled and dropped the ball and Lewis was in prime belting position. I'm sure we'll see the next frame in the sequence from Lewis when going up against an opponent.

* I watched practice with two Pitt players. One of them was really intrigued by Nance. "Look at those routes," he said to his buddy.

* Limas Sweed went up in between Will Gay and Andre Frazier to make a great catch of an intermediate out from Ben Roethlisberger. Later, Sweed dropped a perfect deep middle pass between Lawrence Timmons and Keiwan Ratliff.

* In the background, on the other field, Dirk Johnson was punting the entire 80-yard length of the field. (BTW, Dan Sepulveda got back to work this week. He'll be fine.)

* Dennis Dixon threw darts from behind this offensive line: LT Jason Capizzi, LG Ramon Foster, C Doug Legursky, RG A.Q. Shipley, RT Tony Hills. Just mixing things up a bit.

* Rookie tight end David Johnson made the Catch of the Day, a diving TD catch of a Dixon pass in the corner of the end zone to end the hurry-up red zone session.

* I don't go around asking for disappointing spring performances, but I have a hunch second-year OLB Bruce Davis is having a bad camp. Today, in coverage downfield on Carey Davis, Bruce Davis was turned around and eluded during a sideline run by the pass-catching fullback. A collective groan went up from the defense when the linebacker was fooled. He then went to the bench for a talk with his position coach.

* Running sprints well after practice, with a sled of weights tied to them like a downed parachute, were Willie Parker, Mewelde Moore, Deshea Townsend, Will Gay, Ike Taylor and Brandon Williams

SteelTorch
06-05-2009, 10:51 AM
Well, I've gone from being upset with the pick (at the beginning) to hopeful, and back to being upset. I know he's a rookie on a great defense, but Davis has shown nothing so far. The more I look back, the more I wish we had gone OL in that round. :(

Oviedo
06-05-2009, 12:11 PM
Well, I've gone from being upset with the pick (at the beginning) to hopeful, and back to being upset. I know he's a rookie on a great defense, but Davis has shown nothing so far. The more I look back, the more I wish we had gone OL in that round. :(

He may never be great but let's hope he can become a serviceable back up. It's not like he is going to break into the starting line up anytime soon so we have the time to let him develop. It would be nice to see him step it up on special teams though. Let's wait until the pads are on before we throw Davis overboard.

Remmeber it took James Harrison a couple of years to prove he could do something in the NFL too. There is no standard template these guys follow as much as we try to create one for them.

RuthlessBurgher
06-05-2009, 12:19 PM
On a positive note, I don't think that I have heard a single negative thing about our rookie corners so far. I think they will figure out a way for Burnett and Wallace to be active on game days because of the respective punt and kick return ability (and they should be able to help on some of the special teams coverage units as well), so Burnett may actually see the field before Lewis, who was picked a couple of rounds earlier.

phillyesq
06-05-2009, 12:33 PM
Well, I've gone from being upset with the pick (at the beginning) to hopeful, and back to being upset. I know he's a rookie on a great defense, but Davis has shown nothing so far. The more I look back, the more I wish we had gone OL in that round. :(

He may never be great but let's hope he can become a serviceable back up. It's not like he is going to break into the starting line up anytime soon so we have the time to let him develop. It would be nice to see him step it up on special teams though. Let's wait until the pads are on before we throw Davis overboard.

Remmeber it took James Harrison a couple of years to prove he could do something in the NFL too. There is no standard template these guys follow as much as we try to create one for them.

I think that Bruce Davis may need to prove that he can contribute on special teams just to make the team this year. Frazier, A. Harrison, Bailey, and Woods all contribute on special teams, and there are a lot of bodies competing for LB positions.

I would love for him to become another successful third round conversion project for the Steelers, but I'm not very optimistic. Guys like Gildon, Emmons, and even Vrabel at least contributed on special teams and as rusher in passing situations early in their careers. I fear that Davis is taking more of the Alonzo Jackson/Steven Conley route. I hope that he proves my fears wrong and develops into a solid special teamer and valuable reserve contributor. I'm just not optimistic.

Oviedo
06-05-2009, 12:50 PM
On a positive note, I don't think that I have heard a single negative thing about our rookie corners so far. I think they will figure out a way for Burnett and Wallace to be active on game days because of the respective punt and kick return ability (and they should be able to help on some of the special teams coverage units as well), so Burnett may actually see the field before Lewis, who was picked a couple of rounds earlier.

Yea somebody spotted Burnett as a player to watch from the beginning. Can't remember who that was :wink:

What I like is that they both seem to be playmakers who have serious ball skills. That would be a welcome addition to the defensive backfield

Oviedo
06-05-2009, 12:52 PM
Well, I've gone from being upset with the pick (at the beginning) to hopeful, and back to being upset. I know he's a rookie on a great defense, but Davis has shown nothing so far. The more I look back, the more I wish we had gone OL in that round. :(

He may never be great but let's hope he can become a serviceable back up. It's not like he is going to break into the starting line up anytime soon so we have the time to let him develop. It would be nice to see him step it up on special teams though. Let's wait until the pads are on before we throw Davis overboard.

Remmeber it took James Harrison a couple of years to prove he could do something in the NFL too. There is no standard template these guys follow as much as we try to create one for them.

I think that Bruce Davis may need to prove that he can contribute on special teams just to make the team this year. Frazier, A. Harrison, Bailey, and Woods all contribute on special teams, and there are a lot of bodies competing for LB positions.

I would love for him to become another successful third round conversion project for the Steelers, but I'm not very optimistic. Guys like Gildon, Emmons, and even Vrabel at least contributed on special teams and as rusher in passing situations early in their careers. I fear that Davis is taking more of the Alonzo Jackson/Steven Conley route. I hope that he proves my fears wrong and develops into a solid special teamer and valuable reserve contributor. I'm just not optimistic.

I hope you are wrong too but that is the inherent risk of the 3-4 defense. You take a risk hoping that you can convert these college DEs. Obviously LeBeau saw something for him to be picked so we have to have faith that LeBeau has an eye for talent.

stlrz d
06-05-2009, 01:19 PM
On a positive note, I don't think that I have heard a single negative thing about our rookie corners so far. I think they will figure out a way for Burnett and Wallace to be active on game days because of the respective punt and kick return ability (and they should be able to help on some of the special teams coverage units as well), so Burnett may actually see the field before Lewis, who was picked a couple of rounds earlier.

Because our opponents will be punting plenty, but not kicking off so much! :D

:tt2

Mister Pittsburgh
06-05-2009, 01:40 PM
I think the thing that upsets me even more than Bruce Davis sucking, is seeing the comment on Limas Sweed. Seems every practice you read about he had a nice catch or two, but also a drop or two. Can't have someone like that out on the field in a big game.

Northern_Blitz
06-05-2009, 02:09 PM
I think the thing that upsets me even more than Bruce Davis sucking, is seeing the comment on Limas Sweed. Seems every practice you read about he had a nice catch or two, but also a drop or two. Can't have someone like that out on the field in a big game.

I wonder how many balls other guys are dropping.

My hope is that Sweed is dropping a "normal" amount of balls, but that we hear about it more because of his rep. Hopefully, he drops fewer and fewer as he gets mroe reps.

Oracle
06-05-2009, 02:11 PM
ruthless-

i was just thinking the same exact thing. how long has it been since we've had CB's with serious ball hawk skills in pittsburgh?... way too long. and looking ahead, which teams seem to have the most success offensively against our defense? it's usually west coast-ish, 4-5 wide spreads, who throw those quick slants before our vaunted pass rush gets there (ex- brady, warner, manning).

you have to have corners with the ability to jump routes and "pick-6" to deter them, or they'll pick us apart all day for 5 yards at a time. our D can't afford to stay on the field that long. hopefully, these 2 young corners will provide us with weapons in the secondary who can literally alter an opponents game plan. can you imagine if brady had to scramble around in the pocket for a couple seconds just to find an open receiver?

i credit this to tomlin. he seems to have a good eye for talent especially in the secondary. gay in the 5th, burnett in the sixth, that's huge. i was a bit worried when we lost mcfadden but it appears our talent may have actually increased.

Oviedo
06-05-2009, 02:20 PM
ruthless-

i was just thinking the same exact thing. how long has it been since we've had CB's with serious ball hawk skills in pittsburgh?... way too long. and looking ahead, which teams seem to have the most success offensively against our defense? it's usually west coast-ish, 4-5 wide spreads, who throw those quick slants before our vaunted pass rush gets there (ex- brady, warner, manning).

you have to have corners with the ability to jump routes and "pick-6" to deter them, or they'll pick us apart all day for 5 yards at a time. our D can't afford to stay on the field that long. hopefully, these 2 young corners will provide us with weapons in the secondary who can literally alter an opponents game plan. can you imagine if brady had to scramble around in the pocket for a couple seconds just to find an open receiver?

i credit this to tomlin. he seems to have a good eye for talent especially in the secondary. gay in the 5th, burnett in the sixth, that's huge. i was a bit worried when we lost mcfadden but it appears our talent may have actually increased.

We won't miss McFadden. He wasn't an every game, every down player last year. Gay played as much as he did and did just as well.

Oracle
06-05-2009, 02:31 PM
for some reason i'm not that worried about our receivers:

holmes, ward, mcdonald, sweed, wallace, plus miller and speath at TE, and mewelde and rashard out of the backfield. that's as good a set of weapons as we've had in pittsburgh in a long, long, long time. plus you have to look at how well they fit with ben's style. he's got ward and holmes who are very reliable on third downs or when you need sure hands. speath and miller are huge red zone targets and very good hot route/outlet options. but what makes ben "big ben" is his ability to scramble around and make the big play deep down the field. sweed and wallace fit that mold with great deep speed and even if they drop a couple of passes, just getting that deep separation is going to keep those opposing safeties back and open the field up for the shorter routes.

look at baltimore, new england, and indianapolis. no way can their secondaries match up with our line up. somebody will consistently get open. don't sweat the hiccups, we're in for a good year.

frankthetank1
06-05-2009, 05:02 PM
good stuff especially on lewis and burnett. im pretty worried about sweed. he is a big part of the future since ward is getting up there. thank god they went out and signed mcdonald. the part about davis is a little concerning. how do you let carey davis make you look bad? hopefully he can turn it around. even if he can contribute on special teams i would be satisfied

Eddie Spaghetti
06-05-2009, 06:34 PM
i hated the bruce davis pick. i may be wrong, but i think it was the year anthony collins was still on the board. and that first pic that came out was frightening. the guy didn't have a muscular frame at all.

hated the spaeth pick even more, but at least he has found a way on the field to contribue. nice role payer.

cant argue with the sucess of the FO, but davis looks like a bum.

DukieBoy
06-05-2009, 08:04 PM
I'm in no hurry to write off Bruce Davis. As a college DE he had no pass coverage role, and these will likely be the most difficult set of skills for him to learn and develop. He still has time to learn and develop those skills. On the other hand, if he cannot contribute on ST's or is his pass-rushing and run-stopping skills do not show well, this year, then I will become concerned.

It would be great if Bruce Davis could show something on ST's, because I am ready to write off Carey Davis who seems to have value mainly for ST's and could be made obsolete.

grotonsteel
06-06-2009, 03:15 PM
Steelers should have drafted Cliff Avril or Anthony Collins....