Tomlin quiet on camp accomplishments
â¢ The Steelers break training camp at St. Vincent College today, but the preseason is far from over for them. Starting Monday on the South Side, the Steelers will practice for nearly three weeks before opening the regular season against the visiting Tennessee Titans. That might explain why coach Mike Tomlin declined to expound on what the Steelers had accomplished during the three weeks they spent in Latrobe. “I don’t evaluate camp because ultimately, we are here to prepare for the season,” Tomlin said Thursday. Tomlin reiterated how much he enjoys training camp since the focus is mostly on football. “I wouldn’t mind being the Latrobe Steelers,” Tomlin said. “We will play the whole season out here. I love it. I don’t have to deal with the problems of life. I don’t have to take my trash out on Tuesdays.”
â¢ With rookie Frank Summers out with a hamstring injury, Rashard Mendenhall and rookie Isaac Redman worked as the goal-line backs Thursday. Others who didn’t practice were tight end Sean McHugh (knee) and wide receiver Hines Ward (day off).
â¢ The smallest player on the Steelers will try to make the most out of a big opportunity Saturday night against the Redskins. Stefan Logan, who signed with the Steelers in February after starring in the CFL last season, will serve as the Steelers’ primary kickoff and punt returner in the team’s second preseason game. “I’m praying I can take one to the house early and show what I can do early in the game, and that can put a little comfort zone on my behalf,” said the 5-foot-6, 180-pound Logan.
49.5 — Yards Daniel Sepulveda averaged on six punts in the Steelers’ first preseason game.
Inside the Ropes
REED’S PRANK: Jeff Reed played a cruel trick on his teammates at Thursday morning’s practice. The kicker arranged to have a pair of chartered buses with drivers sitting near the practice field. The players figured that meant a shortened camp with a trip to the movies. “I was so excited,” Willie Parker said. “I was like a little kid.” But the buses were for show. The drivers watched practice and then left. “We had some people dancing out there,” Reed said. “It was good.” Coach Mike Tomlin, who approved the stunt, called it “a little mental warfare.” “Sometimes,” Tomlin said, “people need to be horribly disappointed and then asked to perform well.” Practice, for the record, went well, according to Tomlin.
SIGNING ON: As camp closed, fans lined the ropes leading up the hill, seeking autographs. Long after most Steelers were gone, one player remained for at least 10 minutes, signing dozens of autographs – Troy Polamalu.
TWO PICKS: Cornerback Ike Taylor had a pair of interceptions, once when a ball bounced off receiver Martin Nance’s hands and another when he stepped in front of a Dennis Dixon pass.
DIXON’S DAY: Despite the interception, Dixon enjoyed an encouraging final practice. Against the first-team defense on a third-and-short drill, he rolled past a rushing LaMarr Woodley and hit tight end Matt Spaeth for a first down. Dixon also made a nice pass to Mendenhall for a 20-yard touchdown. “His physical skill is obvious,” Tomlin said of Dixon. “He’s a talented guy. I’m more concerned about some of the things you get from playing. I like what he’s doing in regards to that. We will just continue to work with him.”
MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Limas Sweed beat a pair of defensive backs and got wide open down the middle during 11-on-11 drills, but Charlie Batch badly underthrew him, and it was broken up.
GRABBING ATTENTION: Free-agent cornerback Keiwan Ratliff, fighting for a roster spot, stepped in front of a Batch pass during red-zone drills for an interception.
ROUNDING INTO FORM: Before leaving with a foot injury, Ben Roethlisberger looked sharp during 11-on-11 drills. He led speedy rookie Mike Wallace on a flawless crossing pass.
SAFETY BATTLE: Polamalu was minding his own business, lying on the grass, stretching for afternoon practice, when he found himself in the thick of a wrestling match. Fellow safety Ryan Clark pounced on the unsuspecting Pro Bowler, and the two had a good-natured tussle for about 20 seconds. James Harrison, acting as ref, got into the action and noted the pin.
— John Grupp