Recap from day 1
-Max Starks brought the whole offensive line into camp in a caravan of mini-coopers. The offensive tackle is part owner of P&W Auto on Baum Boulevard in Shadyside. Ben Roethlisberger played chauffer for Willie Colon since Colon still wont be able to drive for two weeks due to his Achilles tendon surgery.
-Roethlisberger spoke only briefly saying: “It’s good to be back. It’s all about football right now. It’s good to put things that happened to you in the off-season behind you.”
-In terms of Roethlisberger‘s role during camp, coach Mike Tomlin says that he wants Ben to have a “productive camp“, but he also said “our focus is who is going to be on who will be playing quarterback in the opener.”
And to that end, Tomlin once again stated that Dennis Dixon will be “following“ Byron Leftwich. And he said Leftwich will be getting a “significant amount of snaps.“
Tomlin stated that they didn‘t want to get “locked into” a rotation and that the team would continue to be “non-rhythmic” in terms of the snaps his quarterbacks got this month. In other words: Leftwich #1, Dixon #2…Ben will take enough snaps to stay sharp…Batch gets the leftovers.
-Byron Leftwich claimed to have not heard about the comments Jeff Sperbeck made. He’s the agent for Dennis Dixon. Sperbeck was quoted in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review as saying that he hoped the Steelers would have given his client more snaps with the first team in mini-camp and the O.T.A’s. He also made it sound like the Steelers passed over Dixon for Leftwich.
But Leftwich blew off the comments when I asked him about the topic. “There’s no need for anybody to speak on that. Me and Dennis are good. I mean…stop that, stop that, stop that. We’ll both get opportunities to go out there and play. It’d be crazy for me to comment on anything Dennis’ agent says. We’re a family. And anything that happens outside of that family I don’t really care about.”
However, Dixon seemed to appreciate Sperbeck’s support.
“As an agent, that‘s his job. And he’s looking out for me. All I can control is what I’m capable of getting done. And that’s getting better day in and day out.”
-The Steelers signed both first round and second round picks Maurkice Pouncey and Jason Worlids. Pouncey did not take the team’s run test. But Tomlin insists he will run Pouncey at 6:00 am Saturday morning.
-LaMarr Woodley is here in Latrobe. But the linebacker didn’t address reporters upon his arrival despite his public displeasure surrounding his contract status.
-New tackle Flozell Adams got to camp Friday. But Tomlin didn’t put him through the run test because he had just driven from Chicago to get there. Tomlin says Adams will compete for the right tackle job.
-Left tackle Max Starks claims he called o-line coach Sean Kugler and offered to switch from the left side to the right side to replace Colon if Pittsburgh could only find left tackles on the open market. Adams may fit that description. But Kugler refused the offer. And Starks seemed relieved and happy to be staying on the left side. “We have an issue at right tackle,” said Tomlin, “I don’t want to make it an issue at left tackle too unless I absolutely have to.”
-Trai Essex says he is still entering camp as the starter at right guard even though Pouncey is signed.
-Charlie Batch went on an “I told you so” laced rant about the state of the NFL collective bargaining agreement. “Last year, people laughed at me. They said I was wrong. They said I didn’t know what I was talking about. But here we are. We are about six months away from a lockout happening…. It‘s the owners vs. the owners. They don‘t want to split the money. That’s basically what it comes down to.” On this day last year, Batch predicted a lock out and a work stoppage after the 2010-2011 season.
“Nothing has changed. I sat here a year ago. And here we are a year later. And we are closer than we ever were to a lockout March 1st. I don‘t think that‘s going to change. And there haven‘t been any positive conversations towards getting anything done.” Batch said the owners don’t have much incentive to get anything done, given the DIRECTV money they will receive regardless of whether or not a season takes place. “They know they are getting 31 million dollars. Plus they cut the overhead from the player‘s salaries.” Batch forecasted gloom and doom for next fall. “People who own restaurants and bars. Think of Sundays with no Steelers. And that‘s where we are.”
-Tomlin says the whole squad will bus out to Canton, Ohio in support of Dick LeBeau and attend his Hall of Fame induction as a team.
-Antwaan Randle El laughed when asked about the combustible threesome of receivers in Cincinnati (Terrell Owens, Antonio Bryant, and Chad Johnson). “That’s gonna be funny! I gotta call those guys! That’s a different group. I think it’ll work, though. T.O. isn’t the T.O. that he used to be. Chad isn’t that Chad that he used to be. They’ve gotten older and more mature. And Antonio….I don’t know. That’s gonna be good to see.”