Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

First injury

The first injury of this Pittsburgh Steelers training camp reared its ugly head Thursday and it’s somebody the team can’t afford to miss much time.

First-round pick Lawrence Timmons aggravated his groin injury that kept him out of the team’s offseason workouts midway through Thursday morning’s practice and spent the remainder of the session with trainers John Norwig and Ryan Grove testing the injury.

There’s no initial prognosis, but the injury didn’t seem serious and Timmons looked to be staying off the field more as a precaution than anything. But given the fact that he missed all of the OTAs and most of mini-camp, it’s certainly something that is going to hold him back in terms of his growth as a player.

The injury came just a few plays after Timmons, a linebacker, made his first big play of this camp. Dropping into coverage, Timmons jumped a pass in the flats in zone coverage and picked off the Charlie Batch ball, making a juggling catch along the sidelines.

The highlight of the morning was a new twist on the backs on backers pass-rush, pass-protection drill. This time, it was safeties and nickel backs rushing the running backs.

The offense looked to have gotten the better of it, but Troy Polamalu and Anthony Smith were everything but unblockable, beating practically everybody they went up against.

Polamalu even beat unofficial blocking champion Dan Kreider in a heavyweight matchup. He uses a variety of spin moves and looks more like a defensive end rushing rather than a safety.

Smith, meanwhile, was just explosive, running through people to get to the QB. He hits like a truck.

The offensive star of the drill was Carey Davis. The first-year running back went 5-0 in the drill, even stopping Smith on the final attempt of the drill. Smith slipped coming in and never really made it to Davis with any force, but the young back already had stoned Ricardo Colclough, Bryant McFadden, Harrison Smith and Deshea Townsend.

Perhaps that’s why Davis is the only surprise player on the No. 1 punt coverage team – where he plays one of the wings.

QB Ben Roethlisberger looked sharper today. He made a great pass deep over the middle while rolling to his right to Hines Ward. Ward had gotten behind the safeties and the duo made it look easy.

Ryan Clark was back working with the No. 1 Okie base defense this morning.

Also of note is that sources tell me that running back Kevan Barlow, signed as a possible backup to Willie Parker, is the worst character guy the Steelers have had since this source has been here. That dates back nearly 10 years.

The players are also upset that they do not have a scheduled day off in the first two weeks of camp. They're not complaining publicly about it - yet.


Jeff said...

Did Timmons have injury issues at FSU? Hopefully it's nothing that will keep him out more than a few days.

Interesting comment on Barlow. For what it's worth I saw him at Tom & Tud's bar in Aspinwall two Saturdays ago...looked like he was having a great time with his pals and some girls.

Dale Lolley said...

I don't think injuries were an issue at FSU for Timmons.

Daniel Lopez said...

Timmons = Kendrel Bell???

thempirates said...

Hey, don't insult Kendrell like that. It took him a whole season before he was perpetually injured.

thempirates said...

ps. Meh, I'm sure at some point Hines Ward will go into Mike's office and say the guys need a day off and they'll go bowling. No biggie.

Mike S. said...

Any insight on Holmes' mysterious injury?

Dale Lolley said...

Nobody's talking about Holmes' surgery. Of course those smart alecks among us have suggested it was a vasectomy.

Braden said...

Dale, I'm wondering what you think will happen between the Clark/Smith rotation at First Safety. By the way, I truly appreciate your blog here, and have spread the word, keep up the good work. Based on last year's preseason, the sporadic playing time last year at safety and his performances on special teams - that Anthony Smith is a shoe-in for the first team. Although, do you think he could be too much of a loose cannon (shades of Polamalu), and in effect, less competent at the deep coverage?

Dale Lolley said...

Smith claims that he learned a lot last season in his four starts. I would think that would be when to gamble on the big hit/play rather than playing it safer. His hitting ability cannot be ignored. But Clark is just a heady, smart player. You have to ask, though, where are the big plays going to come from on this defense? That said, I think Smith will be the guy.