From Dale Lolleys' blog...
http://nflfromthesidelines.blogspot.com/
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Thoughts from Tomlin PC

Mike Tomlin held a pre-training camp press conference Wednesday. Here are a few of my thoughts of about what was said.

Tomlin was asked about the team's defensive line depth and if it was a concern and he proceeded to give a long answer about how when he made his statement about the lack of depth and age issues at the position, it was before Travis Kirschke and Nick Eason were re-signed.

Now, I like Mike, but he sounded a lot like a guy trying to convince himself that things aren't all that bad.

It is my understanding, though, that second-year man Ryan McBean has been practically living at the team's facility since getting the walking boot off his injured foot and the team has some high hopes for the 2007 fifth-round draft pick.

Also, keep an eye on undrafted rookie Kyle Clement from Northwood.

If Eason makes this team, it will be because those two didn't pan out and this team could have problems down the stretch as it did last season.

Tomlin spoke very highly of free safety Ryan Clark and his recovery from having his spleen removed last season.

Clark's weight is back to normal and he got through the team's offseason program with no problems. But you'd better believe the team will keep a watchful eye on how he handles contact.

This team needs Clark as the deep man in the secondary. He's a heady guy and a good all-around football player as we saw last season when he was out of the lineup.

That's not to say Anthony Smith didn't learn and get better from last year's debacle, but Clark makes very few mistakes.

Tomlin said Max Starks will start camp primarily at right tackle, which tells me there will be a competition there between he and Willie Colon.

Last year's battle never really materialized because Starks was forced to play left tackle for much of training camp after Marvel Smith's back became troublesome.

I still think the best line may incorporate Starks at right tackle and Colon at one of the guard spots. If Chris Kemoeatu struggles at left guard replacing Alan Faneca, that could happen.

Lawrence Timmons will open as the backup to Larry Foote, but Timmons will get plenty of action as a linebacker on passing downs as the team begins to phase James Farrior out of that role.

It may not happen right away because Farriror is such a smart player and is still very effective. But it wouldn't hurt to give the aging vet a chance to catch his breath every once in a while.