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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Looking at the d-line

The Pittsburgh Steelers held their first night practice at the newly dedicated Chuck Noll Field here at Saint Vincent College Thursday, but it was a less-than-spirited effort.

Even the goal-line drill, which is usually a raucous event, couldn’t pep up this practice.

The offense won this one, 4-3, scoring touchdowns on runs by Najeh Davenport and Brian Russell, and Brian St. Pierre passes to John Dekker and Matt Spaeth.

Willie Parker, James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons and Darnell Stapleton were out again today. In fact, head coach Mike Tomlin said Stapleton had an MRI that revealed a torn meniscus. He’ll undergo surgery and be out three weeks. That’s a tough break.

Marcello Church was a new addition to the injury list with a hamstring injury, while Chris Hoke was limited and did not partake in any contact drills today.

Watching the young defensive linemen today, I was impressed by Derrick Jones, who showed off some nice power moves. On one play, he got up under Brandon Torrey and one-arm tossed the big man to the ground to get to the quarterback.

He looks farther along at this point than fourth-round draft pick Ryan McBean, who doesn’t look as if he has that kind of power. McBean did show a nice outside move against Trai Essex, but he's not going to get things done on speed.

Veteran Nick Eason looks like a an undrafted rookie free agent at times. He needs to step up his game if he hopes to make this team.

Another veteran who didn’t impress is Shaun Nua. He just doesn’t have any strength at the point of attack. I just don’t think he can cut it as a 3-4 end.

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