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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hitting the dog days

The heat index reached 95 here today just prior to a storm rolling in after the afternoon practice and it felt every bit of that.

Newly signed running back Dwayne Wright and defensive lineman Scott Paxson both came down with heat-related cramps, while defensive lineman Sunny Harris also came out for a while before returning to practice.

Rashard Mendenhall was back in full practice today after doing only team drills Tuesday.

Casey Hampton continues to work only on positional drills.

© Perhaps the scariest play for the Steelers came in one-on-one defensive line/offensive line blocker drills when Aaron Smith got suplexed by Flozell Adams.

It was an obvious hold and Smith took it easy on the pass rush the rest of the way. The Steelers don't need him to get hurt again, especially by one of his own teammates.

© Byron Leftwich and Ben Roethlisberger continue to split time with the first-team offense, with Dennis Dixon running the second unit and Charlie Batch getting pretty much no reps in the 11-on-11 drills.

When is the posturing going to end and Mike Tomlin just simply going to name Leftwich his starter?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the updates Dale. How is Dixon playing, you think he is looking better than Leftwich, or too early to tell?

Any running backs that are standing out right now?

And prolly the most important question, how is that secondary coming along??

Ben said...

Why name Leftwich the starter the first week in camp? Why not create a fierce competition between Leftwich and Dixon and get the very best out of both of them? Leftwich already has the security of being the favorite, but Dixon is fighting tooth and nail to win the spot. Tomlin loves competition.

Would you rather have Leftwich giving 100% because he knows he has the job, or 110% because there's a shadow of a doubt that he might not? What yields better results for the team?

They'll know and we'll know when the time is right. He's not going to pull a Mangini. He's better than that and we all know it.

And who knows -- maybe Dixon, the kid they drafted, has a shot to win it. Why not give him that chance?

marc said...

not to put words in dale's mouth, but i think he is implying that tomlin really isn't giving dixon a chance right now.

i am disappointed dixon is not getting any first team reps. unless something else is going on behind the scenes, it seemed he showed last year he deserves a legit shot against lefty.

Dale Lolley said...

Dixon isn't getting a shot. They're paying lip service to it - each guy's getting the same amount of snaps. But the players you're getting the snaps with speaks volumes.

As for the running backs, let's wait until goal line on Friday.

Ben said...

I hear what you're saying about first-team reps, but there's only so many to go around. If Dixon tears teams up in the pre-season, I would bet he'll have a chance to earn more reps.

keevin said...

Dale - when is that idiot Goodell going to reduce Ben's suspension to 4 games?

Patrick said...

if we know its lip service, then the players def know it. I guess most players support the vet in Leftwich and prefer the experience, but it really doesn't seem fair to not give Dixon some first team reps to see how he handles it. I don't like the decision or how its handled, but DD seems to be taking it like a professional and thats a good sign.

The other side of this is that if Ben was done for the year, this might be a different story. Knowing that he should be back in 4 games, Tomlin must prefer the safer play to get through the first quarter of the season. It's kind of like they feel with Dixon you might be 3-1 or 1-3, but who knows. With Leftwich its a safe bet that you'll be 2-2 and thats good enough.

marc said...

the problem i have with DD not getting a shot is the ease at which teams can prepare for Lefty. keep in mind we are one less super bowl WR in holmes and one less in starting OL in colon. our o-line has it's issues in pass protection and lefty's release can be timed with a sun dial.

even with wallace as the #2 WR, our WR's are going to be easier to cover than last year. holmes, ward, wallace and miller at TE was a tough matchup for defenses. not so much this year.

i believe it will be easier for teams to defend our offense with lefty in there than with dixon, assuming dixon plays like he did against the ravens last year. his ability to scramble, and some designed scrambles, could open up other things for our offense and slow down the pass rush.

but their not even giving him a chance.

kelly said...

Well said marc. I totally agree.

Patrick said...

I agree with all that marc. I was just pointing out what I think they beleive.

One thing is though, even with Dixon's scrambling ability, would BA use it? He's said he wants to incorporate some stuff in there for him and Dixon had a nice run last year, but that wasn't designed. The play he threw the pick on during the Baltimore game I thought was screaming for a designed scramble (followed by a "whatever you do, don't fumble")but I don't even think that was in the playbook.

I also hate Leftwich's mechanics and behind an Oline that doesn't excel in pass protection, I think we'll see a few strip-sacks in the first 4 games.

marc said...

i think we were all surprised there weren't any designed scrambles for dixon last year against the ravens.

but, the kid showed what he can do. if BA doesn't take advantage of it in some form then he further justifies why he shouldn't be the steeler's OC.

Patrick said...

you can pretty much ignore that post. From the trib:

The team worked on first-and-10 situations for an entire period and used another session to call plenty of trick plays, including reverses and quarterback spread runs by Dennis Dixon.

marc said...

let's see if they actually do it in a regular season game.

Patrick said...

yeh agreed, we'll see. But if they don't, you kind of have to wonder what the hell they are doing. All we hear about is how there isn't enough snaps to go around with the QB situation. Why waste them with this stuff if you're not going to use it?

Dale Lolley said...

They really only had one walk-through to get Dixon ready for that game. Are they supposed to design plays specifically for Dixon with just one day to prepare for one of the best defenses in the league?

They just wanted him capable of at least running a base offense. Plus, with Roethlisberger already down, how many times are they supposed to let Ray Lewis and company have free shots at Dixon running around. Tyler Palko had been on the roster for about 24 hours at that point and Batch was coming back from an injury as well.