View Full Version : Steelers vs. Falcons: Two players to watch for

08-26-2011, 02:15 AM
Steelers vs. Falcons: Two to watch for

Thursday, August 25, 2011
By Mike Bires - Beaver County Times

Traditionally, the third exhibition game provides first-stringers with their most extensive workload of the preseason. Such will be the case Saturday for the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger, James Harrison and the rest of the "Ones" probably won't call it a night until sometime in the third quarter.

But this is still the preseason, so coach Mike Tomlin and director of football operations Kevin Colbert are still working on the development of the 53-man roster and eight-man practice squad.

"This is a big step for us and, for a lot of people, the clock is ticking in terms of some men making a statement or a move," Tomlin said.

The following are two players Tomlin and Colbert will be watching closely:



A second-round pick in this year's draft, Marcus Gilbert will be the Steelers' only rookie expected to start against the Falcons. He's playing left tackle in place of Jonathan Scott, who suffered a hyper-extended knee last week on the Steelers' first offensive snap of a 24-14 win over Philadelphia.

A few plays after Scott went down, Gilbert, too, hyper-extended his knee. But his injury wasn't as serious, so he'll move into Scott's spot on the first-team offense for now.

"It's an opportunity to show what I can do," said Gilbert, who played college football at Florida, the same SEC powerhouse that produced center Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers' first-round pick last year.

"It was hard coming here, trying to learn the playbook pretty fast and trying to get down my techniques and the footwork they teach at this level. And then I missed a few days in camp."

Gilbert missed a few practices with a mild hamstring pull but the coaches were also disappointed in him because he reported to camp a few pounds overweight.

"He's been on the up-and-coming since a rocky beginning," Tomlin said.

Gilbert, who's 23, will surely be tested Saturday. Lining up across from him will be defensive end John Abraham, a 33-year-old 12th-year pro. Abraham, who has 102.5 career sacks, has been to the Pro Bowl four times including last year.

"It's going to feel like an actual regular-season game with the 'Ones' playing the majority of the game. And I'm going to have a big-time responsibility trying to keep Ben (Roethlisberger) clean. That's going to be a big part of my job."

DONOVAN WARREN, cornerback


Steelers cornerback Donovan Warren watches from the sidelines before a preseason game against the Washington Redskins.

While it's difficult for any undrafted free agent to make the 53-man roster, it's not impossible. Former Steelers running back Willie Parker wasn't drafted out of North Carolina, yet he spent six years with the Steelers and in three of those seasons, rushed for over 1,200 yards. Right now, there are five Steeler veterans who weren't drafted out of college (free safety Ryan Clark, nose tackle Chris Hoke, running back Isaac Redman, guard Ramon Foster and center/guard Doug Legursky).

Warren hopes to be the next.

In a preseason full of injuries at cornerback, Warren has been a pleasant surprise. He's taking advantage of reps he's getting because Ike Taylor (thumb), Bryant McFadden (hamstring), Crezdon Butler (quadricep), Cortez Allen (hamstring) and Curtis Brown (hamstring) have been sidelined at some point or another.

"He's been a big surprise for us," secondary coach Carnell Lake said of Warren. "He's mature. You tell him once and he gets it. He's obviously had a lot of snaps but not a lot of mental errors. So I'm pleased with his progress."

In December of 2009, Warren announced that he was turning pro after his junior season at Michigan where he started 34 games, including 11 as a true freshman. But he had a disappointing performance at the 2010 NFL Combine and didn't get drafted. Last year as an undrafted free agent with the Jets, he suffered a concussion during training camp and was cut. He spent the year out of football.

This summer, he's back and playing well for the Steelers.

http://www.timesonline.com/sports/steel ... 5d40d.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/steelers/steelers-vs-falcons-two-to-watch-for/article_217da91c-513e-5f74-89d4-b77b6a65d40d.html)

08-26-2011, 02:18 AM
Gerry: Starters to play a half against the Falcons


The third preseason game is always when the veterans play the longest, and it will be no different against the Falcons.

Coach Mike Tomlin said the starters will play at least a half Saturday night and one of the units might even begin the third quarter. He said his top two quarterbacks -- Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich -- will play for sure, but he hasn't decided how and when he will use Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon.

Tomlin also said Tony Hills will start for the second game in a row at right guard, though he cautioned that Hills has not been anointed the permanent starter. He said Hills will start there against the Falcons because he didn't get enough time with the first team at right guard against the Eagles because he had to move to tackle when Joanthan Scott and Marcus Gilbert were injured.

"He's earned that," Tomlin said of Hills. "But that battle, by no means, is over."

http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/inde ... he-falcons (http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/pro-sports/steelers/111393-gerry-starters-to-play-a-half-against-the-falcons)

08-26-2011, 02:36 AM
Tomlin seeking execution from starters against Falcons

By Mike Prisuta, The Sports Xchange
Aug. 25, 2011

The Steelers are game-planning and preparing for preseason game No. 3 against Atlanta in true dress-rehearsal fashion.

As a result, head coach Mike Tomlin will have a heightened level of expectation on Saturday night when his team plays host to the Falcons.

"When you invest time you want to see the results," Tomlin said.

He'll be especially interested in how the Steelers fare at what Tomlin likes to call "situational football" -- third downs, red zone and two-minute opportunities, etc.

"We've prepared for situational football more than we did in the first two (preseason games)," Tomlin said. "So we expect the execution in that area to be better."

The steps taken by the Steelers' offense overall in the second preseason game were clearly more along the lines of what Tomlin has in mind than what he saw in the first outing.

The Steelers converted only two of 11 third-down attempts (18 percent), amassed just 186 total net yards and possessed the ball for a mere 20:35 in their preseason-opening, 16-7 loss at Washington on Aug. 12.

Those numbers improved to 10-for-17 on third downs (59 percent), 403 total net yards and 38:51 of possession in a 24-14 victory over Philadelphia on Aug. 18.

More starters playing longer, particularly quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, had a lot to do with the improvement against the Eagles.

Roethlisberger wants to see more of the same in the Atlanta game, when the starters are expected to play at least a half.

"Hopefully we can continue kind of what we've been doing in moving forward, getting some young guys some work," Roethlisberger said. "The biggest thing, I think, is to get out healthy, but (also) to make sure that we're clicking on all phases.

"Third down was big for us last week. That's always a big, key component for us to win the football game."

The Steelers' defense got linebacker James Harrison and strong safety Troy Polamalu into the lineup for the first time this preseason in the Philadelphia game.

Left guard Chris Kemoeatu, who opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list (knee), will make his preseason debut against Atlanta.

Close attention will also be focused on right guard, where former tackle Tony Hills is set to make his second consecutive start. Hills' audition at right guard against Philadelphia was derailed by knee injuries suffered by starting left tackle Jonathan Scott and his replacement, No. 2 pick Marcus Gilbert, on the Steelers' first possession.

That necessitated Hills moving to left tackle the second time the Steelers got the ball. He didn't get back to right guard until the third quarter.

Ramon Foster and Doug Legursky, who both started games at right guard for the Steelers last season, are also candidates for the position.

Scott was listed by Tomlin on Thursday as questionable for the Atlanta game. If Scott can't go, Gilbert will get the start at left tackle.

Starting cornerback Ike Taylor was the only player classified as out due to injury by Tomlin on Thursday.

In addition to Scott, cornerbacks Cortez Allen and Bryant McFadden, wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders and linebacker Mario Harvey were listed by Tomlin as questionable to face the Flacons due to injuries that are considered relatively minor.

The Steelers haven't committed a turnover through their first two preseason games and they were penalized only twice for 10 yards against the Redskins.

Yellow flags flew more frequently against the Eagles, as offensive linemen were guilty of six of the Steelers' nine detected infractions (three holding penalties, a false start, an ineligible downfield and an unnecessary roughness) for 75 yards.

"I'm excited about this third preseason opportunity, particularly because it's against a quality opponent like the Atlanta Falcons" Tomlin said. "It's the kind of test we need."

http://www.cbssports.com/#!/nfl/story/1 ... st-falcons (http://www.cbssports.com/#!/nfl/story/15483187/tomlin-seeking-execution-from-starters-against-falcons)

08-26-2011, 02:40 AM

Thursday with Tomlin

It appears that Marcus Gilbert, a second-round draft pick, will get the start at left tackle on Thursday against the Falcons.

Jonathan Scott is still hurting with a hyperextended knee and the Steelers want to take a long look at Tony Hills at right guard.

They'd also like to get Gilbert as much experience as possible heading into the regular season, especially after he missed most of the first week of training camp with a hamstring injury.

He'll get plenty of opportunity to play against Atlanta as the starters are expected to play into the third quarter.

© Tomlin ruled out cornerback Ike Taylor for Saturday's game, even though Taylor has resumed practicing.

© In addition to Scott, cornerbacks Cortez Allen, Bryant McFadden, wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders and linebacker Mario Harvey are questionable to play.

© Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was at the Steelers facility on Thursday watching practice.

posted by Dale Lolley


08-26-2011, 03:01 PM
Steelers' Gilbert fighting through adversity

Friday, August 26, 2011


With his knee and hamstring better and with a stronger grasp of the playbook, offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert will start against Atlanta this weekend.

Marcus Gilbert was brimming with confidence when he was introduced to the organization two days after the Steelers selected him in the second round of April's NFL Draft.

It has been all downhill since.

» Because of the lockout, Gilbert wasn't allowed to take part in any offseason activities or have any contact with offensive line coach Sean Kugler.

» Gilbert didn't return to the Steelers' facility until four days before the start of training camp.

» Then, after only one practice, Gilbert suffered a hamstring injury that kept him out of action for more than a week.

» Finally, when he replaced injured left tackle Jonathan Scott on the second play of a 24-14 victory over the Eagles, Gilbert was sidelined with a hyperextended left knee after playing only about 12 snaps.

"He had a rocky beginning," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "We're pleased with what we've seen from him, but it must continue."

Now with his knee and hamstring better and with a stronger grasp of the playbook, Gilbert will start for the still-injured Scott at left tackle against Atlanta on Saturday.

"It is a great opportunity to come in and show what I can do," Gilbert said. "I think they have full confidence in me, and I am going to take advantage of this and show them what I got and show them that I can play at this level."

Gilbert will join the starting line of Chris Kemoeatu, Maurkice Pouncey, Tony Hills and Willie Colon for the entire first half and at least one series into the third quarter.

Gilbert will see much more action for than the previous two preseason games. Gilbert played 33 snaps in the first two contests, and he has yet to give up a sack. He was called for holding once against the Eagles.

"He and the other tackles will be presented with some high-quality challenges, which is what you want you're looking for at this time of year," Tomlin said.

Colon has been mentoring Gilbert over the past month and feels the rookie has a tremendous upside. However, he knows when it comes to Saturday's game against a quality team such as the Falcons (and sack-happy defensive end John Abraham), a rookie could easily get overwhelmed — or as Colon put it, "choke" under the pressure.

"A lot of times as a rookie, you don't mess up because you aren't physically capable, but because you choke or freeze up and that's what gets you in trouble," Colon said. "If he prepares and does what he is supposed to do, he won't go out there and choke."

Gilbert said that even if he didn't have the offseason to prepare — not to mention the setback of losing a portion of training camp because of injuries — he is far enough along to put in a good showing against the Falcons.

"Coming in here and learning the playbook pretty fast, and trying to get a certain technique down and the footwork they teach at this level was pretty tough," Gilbert said. "The guys basically told me that I have an opportunity in front of me and (to) take full advantage of it."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1W9gr9Oxx (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_753549.html#ixzz1W9gr9Oxx)

08-27-2011, 01:17 AM
Right now, there are five Steeler veterans who weren't drafted out of college (free safety Ryan Clark, nose tackle Chris Hoke, running back Isaac Redman, guard Ramon Foster and center/guard Doug Legursky).

I guess James Harrison is a forgettable former UDFA.

08-27-2011, 01:08 PM
While I love to watch our guys play of course... I cringe when I hear they're gonna play into the 3rd quarter. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE No injuries!

08-27-2011, 05:33 PM
I wonder why Tressel was at the practice.

08-27-2011, 05:58 PM
I wonder why Tressel was at the practice.

Jim Tressel has also visited the Browns and Bengals, he's probably checking out his future coaching options.


09-02-2011, 03:56 PM
I wonder why Tressel was at the practice.

Jim Tressel has also visited the Browns and Bengals, he's probably checking out his future coaching options.


He got a job with the Colts already:

Jim Tressel lands a job with the Colts
Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on September 2, 2011, 3:43 PM EDT

Terrelle Pryor’s college coach will join Pryor in the NFL this year.

Colts coach Jim Caldwell said on a conference call Friday that Tressel was hired as a gameday consultant. Tressel will focus on consulting on replays, with the idea to free up time for other coaches. He’ll also answer questions on sweater vest dos and don’ts.

Caldwell apparently has wanted to create the role for a few years, and Tressel seemed like a nice fit. Tressel visited a few teams during training camp, including the Colts and Browns.

No word yet if the NFL plans to suspend Tressel five games to start the year, like they did with Pryor. (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)