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hawaiiansteel
08-03-2011, 02:32 PM
Winners and Losers

By Kenneth Torgent | Tue, 08/02/2011


We're only a few days into Steelers Training Camp 2011—some veterans have not even practiced yet due to the official schedule as set by the new CBA—but some players are already turning heads with their play. Ken Torgent identifies some early winners and losers.

http://www.pittsburghsportsreport.com/PSR/sites/default/files/0_Batch_0.jpg

Winners

RB Baron Batch has been the star of training camp thus far. I wouldn’t say he’s reached fan favorite status with the fans the way Isaac “Redzone” Redman did last year, but he’s earned the attention of the one man who counts the most: Mike Tomlin.

Batch killed it during Sunday’s backs-on-backers drill, showing up Jason Worilds before holding his own against James Harrison, the latter having been thrown in by Tomlin to challenge the rookie. Both Tomlin and coordinator Bruce Arians were fired up after his showing, which bodes well for the seventh-rounder.

He’s also earning valuable reps during team drills, lining up just after starter Rashard Mendenhall and backup Isaac Redman and before last year’s rookie back Jonathan Dwyer. In teams, he’s showed great vision, patience, and explosiveness and his on-a-dime cutbacks have led to a number of big runs.

WR Antonio Brown is earning first team reps across from Mike Wallace thanks to injuries to veteran Hines Ward and fellow sophomore Emmanuel Sanders, who was expected to challenge for a starting job this season. Brown has made the most of those reps, showing off great hands and the focus needed to make difficult catches in coverage.

His showing in camp hasn’t been perfect – he failed to catch a ball that turned into a Larry Foote interception in Tuesday’s practice – but he has been able to show the coaching staff that he can be a threat in the passing game come September.

ILB Stevenson Sylvester has had a good performance thus far and the coaching staff should feel comfortable in letting veteran Keyaron Fox walk and going with the younger Sylvester. “Sly” has looked great in special teams, continuing a strong showing that led him to play in every contest last season (the only rookie to do so).

Defensively, he’s exhibiting a nice blend of speed and power in pass rushing drills. If Batch was the offensive star of backs-on-backers, Sly was definitely the defensive star. It remains to be seen whether or not his camp performance will allow him to sneak past Larry Foote as the primary backup on the inside; he’s certainly off to a great start in that chase.

Losers

RB Jonathan Dwyer has been the anti-Baron Batch, to the point where he’s now taking reps only after the latter has seen action. After failing to complete the conditioning drills to open camp last Thursday, Dwyer has been downright invisible through the first few days of camp, except for one play on Tuesday where he broke free for a long run.

He’s failed to show any of the power that the team expected when they drafted him late in last year’s draft, and his work ethic seems to be lacking, considering he was one of the very few players who showed up for camp out of shape.

Undrafted rookies are certainly getting the shaft thanks to the lockout. The Pittsburgh Steelers have historically been very good at plucking promising rookies off the free market and turning them into stars and major contributors. The team history is littered with players like James Harrison and Willie Parker, who each broke Super Bowl records (James for longest play and Willie for longest run) for Pittsburgh this decade.

This year though, the lockout and abbreviated offseason have given the Steelers a fetish for veterans. RB Mewelde Moore and free agent TE John Gilmore are the latest examples of players who likely wouldn’t have been in camp in previous offseasons. A tight end like Weslye Saunders or defensive tackle Anthony Gray, two of the more impressive undrafted names in camp thus far, will be hard pressed to even get a sniff at one of the later roster spots. Gray has the best chance to make the practice squad, but it’s doubtful many of the other undrafted rookies will be given so much as a cup of coffee once the cuts begin.

Anyone with a new contract is looking like a loser for the Steelers right now. Earning a new contract and staying with a team that has made three Super Bowl appearances in the last six seasons should be a winning proposition, but the new CBA has thrown a wrench in the plans of any such player. A rule in the new CBA is preventing any veteran with a new contract from practicing with the team until the start of the league year on August 4th.

This group, which includes key corner Ike Taylor and the team’s two starting tackles, Jonathan Scott and Willie Colon, are contractually required to be at camp and attend meeting, but are denied the opportunity to actually practice with their teammates. As such, players like Scott and Colon, who would benefit the team mightily if they could roll in and learn to play with the members of a reshuffled offensive line, are forced to miss a full week of an offseason program that has already been shortened too much.

Kenneth Torgent is the Steelers beat writer for the Pittsburgh Sports Report. Follow him on twitter at @ktorgent.

http://www.pittsburghsportsreport.com/PSR/node/2623

hawaiiansteel
08-03-2011, 05:00 PM
Steelers' rookies try to make move at camp

By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, August 3, 2011

http://files.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2011-08-03/FBNheyward-a.jpg

It is seemingly an anomaly, one of the storylines playing out amidst the sticky weather at St. Vincent College.

The youngest players on the Steelers' roster, not those nearing the end of their careers, are the ones up against the clock. Because of the lockout that ended a week ago, rookies did not get a chance to acclimate to the NFL during offseason workouts or impress the coaches prior to training camp.

As such, they have precious little time to do both before September, when teams must set their 53-man rosters.

"I feel really bad for those guys, the guys that only get a little bit of time here at camp and practices are cut shorter," Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "All the new rules, we like it as veteran guys. But young guys, you do feel bad for them."

Almost 30 players on the Steelers' roster are rookies — the bulk of them undrafted free agents — resulting in a third of the roster most adversely affected by the lockout. Eight rookies made the 53-man roster last season, but under these unusual circumstances, the Steelers could opt to stick with more established veterans and fewer unproven youngsters as they work to get back to the Super Bowl.

The Steelers' first preseason game is Aug. 12 — a week from Friday — in Washington D.C. By then, the rookies must have some grasp of the offense or defense if they hope to make a positive first impression.

That may be easier said than done, considering the Steelers couldn't give any of their rookies, except for first-round pick Cameron Heyward, a playbook until after the lockout ended; the Steelers drafted Heyward, a defensive end, during a brief period in which the lockout had been lifted.

But he, too, has been playing catch-up: The playbook he received was the "basic" edition.

"You can't be overwhelmed," Heyward said, "just take it in stride."

Coaches may have to be more nurturing since it is inevitable that rookies will make more mistakes than in past years. When someone turns the wrong way or misses a blocking assignment, coaches will have to remind themselves about how many practices and chalkboard sessions the rookies missed because of the lockout.

"It creates specific issues for these guys, but I like their attitude and their approach to taking in information thus far," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of the rookies. "We'll continue on with this process before we start making hard-core judgments about the significance of it. But we understand in the beginning they have a lot of work to do."

Tomlin said the Steelers are no worse off than anyone else — all teams are negotiating an accelerated timetable for developing rookies while showing patience.

But one advantage the Steelers might have is a prevailing culture in which veterans help younger players — even if it may ultimately cost them their job — for the greater good of the team.

That explains why outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley was more than happy to spend parts of the first two nights of camp going over the playbook with rookie Chris Carter in Woodley's dorm room. Carter, like Woodley in 2007, must make the transition from college defensive end to professional outside linebacker.

"I'm starting to understand it more, so I try not to bug him too much," Carter said. "But he told me he's going to be there for me, so I'm holding him to that."

Woodley said he liked seeing the initiative Carter took in asking for his help on the camp's first day.

"He reaches out a lot to me, too," Carter said. "Anything that he remembers he had problems with, he tries to help me with that, too."

Woodley's first practice during minicamp in 2007 is still vivid in his mind. He said he was "so lost" that first day, a first step for young players to get them prepared for training camp.

Carter and his classmates have skipped a vital step in the development process, though through no fault of their own.

"These guys have got to catch up and learn fast," Woodley said. "It's up to the veteran guys like myself to help these guys get up to speed, get on the right track."

That responsibility also falls on the coaches.

"I try to give them as much time as I can without overloading them," said head assistant/defensive line coach John Mitchell. "I want them to come out here and be able to perform. I don't want them thinking. I know they're going to make mistakes, I told them that, so you don't worry about it. You correct that off the tape, and you hope they get a little bit better the next day."

Mitchell said rookies shouldn't be written off this season just because they didn't benefit from minicamp and practices known as organized team activities.

"Sometimes that can be a misnomer, that you need 20 days of OTAs, if you've got the right players, which I think we do," Mitchell said. "I'm really pleased with where they are right now."

2011 DRAFT

Here is a look at the Steelers' seven draft picks from this past April:

Round. Player (Position) Comment

1. Cameron Heyward (DE) If former Buckeye is a quick study, he could be a part of defensive rotation this season.

2. Marcus Gilbert (OT) University of Florida product has been sidelined with a minor hamstring injury.

3. Curtis Brown (CB) Returned to practice Sunday after illness forced him out of Saturday's drills.

4. Cortez Allen (CB) Like Brown, has limited time to push for immediate playing time.

5. Chris Carter (OLB) Must make a difficult transition after playing DE at Fresno State.

6. Keith Williams (G) Kemoeatu on PUP list gives Williams work with first-team offense.

7. Baron Batch (RB) Early bright spot in camp, excelled in backs-on-'backers drill Sunday.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1TzgejbuI (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_749729.html#ixzz1TzgejbuI)

jj28west
08-03-2011, 05:44 PM
I dont think I have been this disappointed in a player as I am with Dwyer. I was really high on him but the intangibles like desire, heart and the lust of competitiveness does not seem to burn in him.

flippy
08-03-2011, 05:54 PM
I've never seen the talent in Dwyer personally. I figured they let one of the fans make the pick when they drafted him and someone just wanted a big back.

I think people try to compare all big backs to Bettis, but I really don't think there's gonna be another Bettis. His size wasn't why he was successful. It was his feet that made him special. His quick and nimble feet made him the back he was and he just happened to be big and hard to tackle. And our fan base seems to fall in love with these big guys that just don't have the talent on size alone.

Instead of finding another Bettis, I'd rather find another Barry Foster that has a much longer career.

chiken
08-03-2011, 07:29 PM
I live in Atlanta. I watched a ton of Dwyer At Tech.. I really thought we were lucky to have gotten him but the knock on him was he didn't play with Passion. No real desire to be great.. He is living up to his billing. He was awesome in college because the game was easy for him.. Trick Offense and Great size and decent speed.

Guess we missed on this one. Shame.

hawaiiansteel
08-03-2011, 08:47 PM
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 03, 2011

Wednesday news and notes


© The Steelers on Wednesday worked extensively with their tight ends catching passes. Tuesday was a big day for those guys in terms of blocking.

The team is looking hard at who is going to be Heath Miller's backup.

© Somehow a rumor surfaced that the Steelers were making some kind of moves at quarterback.

Byron Leftwich, however, continues to get the second-team snaps. Charlie Batch has gotten precious little work.

That's not uncommon for Batch, but with Dennis Dixon set to return – either Thursday or next Tuesday – I have to believe he bumps Batch.

© Emmanuel Sanders was still in a walking boot, but was off the crutches today.

© Keenan Lewis was back at practice today after sitting out with hamstring issues.

posted by Dale Lolley

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sidelines/

flippy
08-03-2011, 08:59 PM
I live in Atlanta. I watched a ton of Dwyer At Tech.. I really thought we were lucky to have gotten him but the knock on him was he didn't play with Passion. No real desire to be great.. He is living up to his billing. He was awesome in college because the game was easy for him.. Trick Offense and Great size and decent speed.

Guess we missed on this one. Shame.

When I saw his college highlights, I thought he ran too high and just didn't have a style that translated to the NFL. It was tough to read cause he had big numbers and decent speed, but he was kinda in a gimmicky offense so I don't think he really learned to play the RB position.

phillyesq
08-03-2011, 09:24 PM
I've read good things about Keith Williams now from a few different sources. Sounds like he's really taking advantage of his opportunities while Kemo is on the PUP list.

papillon
08-03-2011, 10:09 PM
I've read good things about Keith Williams now from a few different sources. Sounds like he's really taking advantage of his opportunities while Kemo is on the PUP list.

Maybe, Williams can keep Kemo on the bench permanently; he has too many brain cramps for my liking.

Pappy

Chadman
08-03-2011, 10:43 PM
Kemo has Pro Bowl skills & Practice Squad Brain.


In my opinion- he's the weakest link on the OL- not Foster, not Jon Scott. Would love Williams, Chris Scott or Legursky to push him & his inflated price off the roster.

birtikidis
08-03-2011, 10:48 PM
Kemo has Pro Bowl skills & Practice Squad Brain.


In my opinion- he's the weakest link on the OL- not Foster, not Jon Scott. Would love Williams, Chris Scott or Legursky to push him & his inflated price off the roster.
I still think he'd be a decent RG. He's a mauler and he can pull. Just can't pass block worth a damn.

hawaiiansteel
08-04-2011, 03:48 PM
Camp Confidential: Sizing Up an Interesting First Week From Latrobe

By Dale Lolley
Aug 4, 2011

http://cdn2.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/1704155/86248_Steelers_Camp_Football.jpg

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, right, stands behind head coach Mike Tomlin as rain falls during NFL football training camp in Latrobe, Pa. on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011 . (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


LATROBE - One week into the Steelers' 2011 season, we've seen plenty of action coming out of the team's training camp at Saint Vincent College.

We've seen dozens of signings, a flirtation with Plaxico Burress, injuries and a host of other moves in what has been the perhaps busiest training camp in team history.

But there is also some football taking place on the field. Sure, it's been glorified OTAs because many of the team's veteran players have been unable to practice.

And there have been some young standouts in the first week. I'll touch on a few of them:

© Rookie running back Baron Batch has the look of an NFL running back. There has to be something that I'm not seeing with Batch because he has good size, 5-10, 210, is shifty in the hole, and showed his power in the one-on-one blocking drills, taking James Harrison to a standstill.

How in the world did this guy last until the seventh round of the draft?

OK, his top-end speed isn't great and he played in an unconventional offense that let him go over 20 carries just once last season. That game also happened to be his only 100-yards game, against Missouri.

Unless he turns out to be a fumbler, the kid is a keeper.

© Rookie linebacker Chris Carter is listed at 6-1, 248 pounds, but if he's 248 pounds right now, I'd be shocked.

The former Fresno State defensive end looks like a safety and lacks the strength to hold up in the run game. He does show some explosive quickness as a pass rusher, though.

© I've been very impressed with sixth-round pick Keith Williams, a 6-5, 310-pound guard from Nebraska.

He got thrown into the starting line with Chris Kemoeatu on the PUP list and Doug Legursky being unable to practice for the first week because of the CBA rules.

Williams has taken full advantage of his opportunity. Williams looks very strong and has a nasty streak. If Williams gets his hands on you, you're going for a ride and it's not going to be pretty. He caught Larry Foote on a blitz early in the week and drove the linebacker into the ground.

The only downside I've seen at this point is that he tends to lose his footing at times.

© While Williams has taken advantage of his opportunity, second-round pick Marcus Gilbert has been watching due to a hamstring injury. That's too bad because he could have used the extra work the week with many veterans would have provided him.

© First-year tight end Jamie McCoy has been the best, in my opinion, of the young players brought in at that position. He's a tenacious blocker.

The team also likes massive Wesyle Saunders and his 6-5, 270-pound frame, but at 240 pounds, McCoy has looked like the better blocker.

© Mike Tomlin has been riding second-year linebacker Jason Worilds all over the field.

He's pushing Worilds to take the next step and become the team's top backup outside linebacker.

I spoke to Worilds about that this week and he's stepping up to the challenge. He'd better. The team is counting on him to fill that role and become a star on special teams as well - especially with veterans Anthony Madison and Keyaron Fox now gone.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/

Captain Lemming
08-05-2011, 12:21 AM
Kemo has Pro Bowl skills & Practice Squad Brain.
Anybody remember the scouting report on him coming out of college?

He is EXACTLY the player described in his report.

Undisciplined, mistake prone, hothead, not too bright, but capable of destroying somebody on a given play. He should have been a NT/DT like his brother.

jj28west
08-06-2011, 08:34 AM
I am a big time homer but I hate his dirty play. Maybe its some type of hockey thing where you have enforcers to protect your star player but I could not stand the crap he was doing to the Ravens in the playoff game. Again, I can only see whats on TV and am not in the trenches but that style is not needed. Key Fox is another one.

Chucktownsteeler
08-06-2011, 01:10 PM
[quote="hawaiiansteel"]Camp Confidential: Sizing Up an Interesting First Week From Latrobe

By Dale Lolley
Aug 4, 2011

© Rookie running back Baron Batch has the look of an NFL running back. There has to be something that I'm not seeing with Batch because he has good size, 5-10, 210, is shifty in the hole, and showed his power in the one-on-one blocking drills, taking James Harrison to a standstill.

Does this even make sense?

ChucktownSteeler

Djfan
08-06-2011, 01:18 PM
Camp Confidential: Sizing Up an Interesting First Week From Latrobe

By Dale Lolley
Aug 4, 2011

© Rookie running back Baron Batch has the look of an NFL running back. There has to be something that I'm not seeing with Batch because he has good size, 5-10, 210, is shifty in the hole, and showed his power in the one-on-one blocking drills, taking James Harrison to a standstill.

Does this even make sense?

ChucktownSteeler

Makes the 53.

Shawn
08-06-2011, 01:19 PM
Besides Batch...the guy I am rooting for the most is Weslye. He might need work in the blocking aspects of the game but if you want a pass catching TE with a really high ceiling this is your guy. Before all the nonsense, he was spoken about as a first round TE. IMO, even with his talent he is a long shot to make this squad. But, boy am I rooting for him.

insanesteelersfan
08-06-2011, 01:35 PM
Besides Batch...the guy I am rooting for the most is Weslye. He might need work in the blocking aspects of the game but if you want a pass catching TE with a really high ceiling this is your guy. Before all the nonsense, he was spoken about as a first round TE. IMO, even with his talent he is a long shot to make this squad. But, boy am I rooting for him.



Actually Saunders BEST atribute so far in camp has been his Blocking. He has been a terror out there. He has had to been told by the coaches to ease up on his blocking during plays. So whoever told you that he needs work on his blocking is wrong.

TallyStiller
08-06-2011, 04:19 PM
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 03, 2011

Wednesday news and notes


© The Steelers on Wednesday worked extensively with their tight ends catching passes. Tuesday was a big day for those guys in terms of blocking.

The team is looking hard at who is going to be Heath Miller's backup.

© Somehow a rumor surfaced that the Steelers were making some kind of moves at quarterback.

Byron Leftwich, however, continues to get the second-team snaps. Charlie Batch has gotten precious little work.

That's not uncommon for Batch, but with Dennis Dixon set to return – either Thursday or next Tuesday – I have to believe he bumps Batch.

© Emmanuel Sanders was still in a walking boot, but was off the crutches today.

© Keenan Lewis was back at practice today after sitting out with hamstring issues.

posted by Dale Lolley

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sidelines/

Why is this, exactly? Steeler backup TE's might as well be third tackles for as often as they are targeted. I have honestly over the years wondered why they don't just go ahead and admit this for what it is and grab a relatively tall, lean, nimble OT who was a college TE until he outgrew the position (Will Svitek from Stanford a few years back, or Eric Winston from Miami spring immediately to mind) and keep him to give the running game the boost they want. It always struck me that they were trying to pound a square peg into a round hole with Matt Spaeth... he had a rep as a good pass catching, so so at best blocking TE out of college, yet all we did for 5 years was ask him to block, which he did - exceedingly poorly. Having a nimble 300 pounder outside to open holes on the end of the line and chip rushing DE's, especially with the plodding tackles we tend to keep around here, sounds like a better deal to me, but what do I know?

Shawn
08-06-2011, 05:40 PM
Besides Batch...the guy I am rooting for the most is Weslye. He might need work in the blocking aspects of the game but if you want a pass catching TE with a really high ceiling this is your guy. Before all the nonsense, he was spoken about as a first round TE. IMO, even with his talent he is a long shot to make this squad. But, boy am I rooting for him.



Actually Saunders BEST atribute so far in camp has been his Blocking. He has been a terror out there. He has had to been told by the coaches to ease up on his blocking during plays. So whoever told you that he needs work on his blocking is wrong.

Per Lolley...

The team also likes massive Wesyle Saunders and his 6-5, 270-pound frame, but at 240 pounds, McCoy has looked like the better blocker.

If Saunders is getting out blocked by a less touted UDFA, then it's a good indication he may need some work in that area. But, I assume by the tone of most of your posts that you are right and everyone else is wrong.

Shawn
08-06-2011, 05:42 PM
Camp Confidential: Sizing Up an Interesting First Week From Latrobe

By Dale Lolley
Aug 4, 2011

© Rookie running back Baron Batch has the look of an NFL running back. There has to be something that I'm not seeing with Batch because he has good size, 5-10, 210, is shifty in the hole, and showed his power in the one-on-one blocking drills, taking James Harrison to a standstill.

Does this even make sense?

ChucktownSteeler

Makes the 53.

I believe unless Batch shows something much less than he has been showing he is as close of a lock for the 53 as they come for late round rookies. Character and talent=Tomlin favorite.

hawaiiansteel
08-10-2011, 08:20 PM
The Steel Mill

News and updates about the Pittsburgh Steelers


So, how is he looking so far?

August 9th, 2011


It’s far enough along in Steelers training camp to finally answer the ever-burning question "So, how is he looking so far?"

Mind you, this camp hasn’t really hasn’t been geared around the vets. Their reps have been limited so I’ll just stick with the people getting most of the work.

WR Tyler Grisham – The Steelers are looking for a receiver outside the organization. Maybe they need to start looking what’s on their roster. Grisham has been solid by catching everything thrown his way. He is having a difference-making camp for him.

WR Antonio Brown — This kid has done it all — catching, running routes, making plays, throwing the ball, fielding punts. He sees an opportunity with Emmanuel Sanders being hurt and isn’t about to let it slip through his hands. Might just be a breakout year for him.

WR Wes Lyons — Good at times, bad at times. Could be a practice squad guy if he can be more consistent. Has great size (6-8) but haven’t yet seen him use it to his advantage.

RB Jon Dwyer — Some people are just not practice people and Dwyer just might be one of those players. He doesn’t look good at all, but that doesn’t mean he won’t lead the team in rushing in the preseason. This guy confuses me.

RB Baron Batch — Definitely has talent and the smarts, but is a little undersized. Although he is listed at 5-10, 210, don’t buy it. He came out of the gates on fire but has cooled as of late. Still, he has been very impressive. (note: Batch suffered a knee injury today which seems to be serious)

LB Chris Carter — INCONSISTENT. Looks all-world at times and looks totally out of it at other times.

OL Keith Williams — Gonna be a player. He has a mean streak and is real physical. Every practice so far you notice him, so you know he has to be doing something right.

CB Curtis Brown and CB Cortez Allen — N/A. Can’t make the team in the tub. Although they probably will make the team anyways.

CB Keenan Lewis – Has all the talent in the world, but just don’t think he gets it yet. That’s fine. Remember, it took a while for Ike Taylor and even Deshea Townsend to get on the field, too.

OL Chris Scott – Sat out his entire rookie year last year with a foot injury, but has really impressed the coaches enough to put him in at starting right guard. Don’t be stunned if he starts opening day at right guard over Legursky and Foster.

WR Limas Sweed — Another inconsistent and fragile player. He needs to show more than he has or he will be gone.

DE Cameron Heyward – Another rookie who is getting better and better everyday. What stands out with him is that he is always around the ball whether it is 2 yards down the field or 50.

LB Mortty Ivy – The Gateway graduate has been a pleasant surprise. He has good instincts and is fast enough to be a playmaker.

LB Stevenson Sylvester — Probably going to be the next superstar linebacker on this team. He just needs not to chase plays and realize plays will come to him if he is in position.

– Mark Kaboly

http://blog.triblive.com/steel-mill/201 ... ng-so-far/ (http://blog.triblive.com/steel-mill/2011/08/09/so-how-is-he-looking-so-far/)