clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

So Long St. Vincent's: Steelers Set To Return To Work Back In Pittsburgh

New, comments

Once again, pardon my absence since last Thursday evening, following the conclusion of the Bills-Steelers entertaining preseason contest that myself and others watched live online and discussed live on the blog. Those gameday open threads are pretty entertaining by the way, and I suspect (and hope) we'll have more and more join the fun as the season progresses. Anyway, I would have liked to recap the game, but time did not permit. Thanks to you guys for (as usual) keeping things going with your thoughts on the game.

Moving on. Some thoughts and comments as we get set for a new week. The Steelers return back to their South Side facility following two hectic and productive weeks of work at St. Vincent's in Latrobe. Hopefully we read about a great week of work, with all the inconveniences and distractions of being at training camp in a dorm room out of the way. As we all know, there's plenty of work to be done.

* As was mentioned in the 'Fanposts' section, the Steelers acquired veteran DT Orpheus Roye. Roye, who began his career in Pittsbrugh in 1996, returns to Pittsburgh after having spent the previous 8 years in Cleveland. With the Browns acquiring Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams, I suppose Phil Savage & Co. thought that Roye was expendable. So, before you just say, 'the Browns cut him, how good can he be?', remember that the Vikings did the same with a perfectly acceptable and gifted player in Mewelde Moore. Sometimes there's just too much supply and not enough demand at certain positions.

That said, Orpheus Roye is 35 years old. He is not a long-term solution to our problems of depth and youth along the defensive line. But, he is still a capable (and big) body to rotate with Hampton and Hoke in the interior. In my opinion, this is a worthwhile pickup that needed to be made.

* In other news, Troy Polamalu is scheduled to return to practice on Tuesday. If so, he would come off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and participate in his full-fledged practice with the team. There's even banter that Troy could see a little action this weekend when the Steelers face Mike Tomlin's former team, the Minnesota Vikings.

There's no need for me to share my thoughts on his return, because S Ryan Clark has done so for me:

"He's pretty much the catalyst of what we do," said Clark. "The reason we are able to do the things we do so well is his ability to disguise and be athletic enough to get where he has to be.

"I think also from a psyche standpoint and preparation standpoint for offenses, he's a guy you have to prepare for. There are probably only a few guys in the league on defense you have to scheme for, and I think Troy's one of those guys, and that helps us out a lot."

Very true. It's hard for me to be overly concerned by our defense's shoddy performance last Thursday night simply because Troy P wasn't out there. That may be foolish, since he's missed significant time the past two years, making it entirely plausible that our defense will have to adjust to not having him out there at certain points in the 2008 season. Anyway, for now, let's be happy he's back and see if we notice any difference in his play following his altered work-out routine this offseason.

* A few random thoughts about last Thursday's game:

1) James Harrison is still playing at a high level. 4 tackles and a sack in limited time. Him and Woodley are going to make a great pair on the outside, especially if they spend ample focus and energy on their run stuffing. If anything concerns me about those two, it might be occasionally spotty tackling in the run game.

2) I thought Micah Rucker missed a big opportunity to move a bit closer to making this team. His drop off a Dennis Dixon pass (it was a tough catch, but one that had to be made) late in the game, was a big missed opportunity.  Oh, and I guess I didn't mention that he had his hands on that last second Hail Mary in the end zone. I think he's more physically imposing threat than Dallas Baker, but I'd guess that Baker is ahead of Rucker right now on the depth chart, meaning Rucker might be running out of time to make any significant progress catching him. We'll see.

3) Anybody think Mitch Berger has the upper hand in the punting duel between him and Paul Ersnter? I was impressed with Berger, and I suspect he'll ultimately win the job if it's a marginal difference between the two.

4) Big Ben and Santonio are really clicking. Another impressive TD connection between the two of them. I also noticed that Ben and Mewelde Moore seem to have a good rapport on the field. Roethlisberger gave him an enthused high-five when Moore helped keep a scoring drive alive with a tough run after the catch on 3rd and long. I think Ben is going to become very comfortable checking down to him in the future.

5) Everyone else has said it before, but Lawrence Timmons is going to be special. It's funny that the word 'bust' was even mentioned regarding Timmons prior to the start of this training camp and preseason. Yes, he needs to show it when the lights are on and the games actually count, but it's pretty much crystal clear that we we're going to see out of the kid if he can stay healthy: explosive, jaw-dropping plays all over the field.

6) I'm glad that Dennis Dixon was able to show Steelers fans what kind of competitor he is. It's very clear that this kid is a student of the game and a quick learner. That's a great combination, especially when you have some of the physical gifts Dixon has. I suppose the knee injury made everyone forget that Dixon has the long strides of a gazelle out there. He just blew by people and turned the corner on that long 47 yard TD run. His knee's fine, and as I've said before, I really hope he's our #2 in the event of a catastrophic emergency at the quarterback position.