Steelers vs Cardinals: What to watch For


Photo: David Hague – Inside Pittsburgh Sports As the Steelers suit up for their first preseason game Thursday night, all eyes will be on 2008 1st round pick Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall who only appeared in four games last season, will get the bulk of carries during the 1st half as Willie Parker may sit out (back spasms) or only play a series or two.

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There has been a growing sense that if Limas Sweed wins the #3 receiver spot, it is a foregone conclusion that Hines Ward would be moved to the slot during three receiver sets. That may not be the case as Sweed continues to get reps in the slot. Sweed will be an asset to the Steelers on the outside but just because he’s 6-foot-4, doesn’t mean the Steelers don’t plan on using him in the slot at times this season. Sweed has had a very strong camp as he was the star of Sunday’s practice and made a few more tough grabs on Monday. Sweed has an early edge on Shaun McDonald for the #3 spot. *Linebacker Bruce Davis (2008, 3rd round pick) will have to make his mark on special teams if he’s going to earn a roster spot. For now, he remains on the 3rd team kick coverage.Read More »

Wide receiver position figures to be a period of transition in 09


For a team that lines up two past Super Bowl MVPs at wide receiver, this figures to be a period of transition for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ pass receivers. Yes, change is in the air. Santonio Holmes may finally unseat Hines Ward as the No. 1 option in the passing game. With Nate Washington gone, there is a need for a new No. 3 wideout. With the addition of rookie Mike Wallace, the Steelers are a step faster at wide receiver than they were last year. And finally, if 6-foot-4 Limas Sweed progresses as expected in his second pro season, Ben Roethlisberger will have that tall target he’s coveted since Plaxico Burress left after the 2004 season. In time, this can be an outstanding group of wide receivers. “We can cast a big net in that regard because of the versatility of a Hines Ward and the growth and maturity ofRead More »

OTA Notebook: For the Steelers, spring semester is over


By Mike Bires For the Steelers, spring semester is over. They went through their last of 14 scheduled organized team activity workouts on Thursday, and coach Mike Tomlin was ecstatic about what he’s seen in recent weeks. “We just put the finishing touches on what has been a very productive OTA session for us,” he said. “I thought we had a successful off-season from a teaching standpoint. We provided guys with plenty of opportunities to get reps and learn. Guys who needed rehabilitation got that. “As we sit here today, all-in-all, it was a pretty productive off-season for us.” Even though the majority of the regulars from last year’s Super Bowl team attended all or most OTAs, it’s the newcomers and a handful of younger players who got the most out of these practices. It was a time to watch draft picks like first-rounder Ziggy Hood, who’s making the transitionRead More »

Sweed determined to make an impact in year 2


By Mike Bires There’s been a lot of talk in recent weeks about two of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ new wide receivers. One of them is rookie Mike Wallace, a third-round draft pick who may be the fastest player on the team. The other is seventh-year pro Shaun McDonald, who caught 79 passes two years ago while playing for the Detroit Lions. But clearly the wide receiver who’s under the most scrutiny at the organized team activities this spring is Limas Sweed. A second-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Sweed is working hard to prove he’s not a bust. “I definitely feel positive momentum going into this season,” he said. “There’s going to be a change in the way I play. There is going to be a change in everything. I have a whole new approach to the game.” Basically, the basis for Sweed’s new approach is confidence.

Steelers Notebook: Notes from Tuesday’s organized team activity workout


Notes from Tuesday’s organized team activity workout at Steelers’ headquarters on the South Side of Pittsburgh: With a few exceptions, all Steelers were present and accounted for as voluntary OTAs resumed. As he’s done in the past, strong safety Troy Polamalu is skipping OTAs. He’s in California, working out with his own personal trainer. Coach Mike Tomlin has no problem with that. Also missing Tuesday was reserve wide receiver Dallas Baker. A Steelers’ spokesman didn’t know why Baker was absent. Baker, however, did attend two OTAs in April and the three-day minicamp earlier this month. Present but not practicing were wide receivers Hines Ward and Martin Nance, free safety Ryan Clark and punter Daniel Sepulveda. Ward and Clark are coming off off-season shoulder surgeries. Sepulveda missed the 2008 season with a knee injury. Nance is nursing an undisclosed leg injury. Mundy a lock for a roster spot? With both startingRead More »

Pursuit of veteran wideout has no bearing on Limas Sweed


The pursuit of free agent wide receiver Ashley Lelie has no bearing on the progress of 2008 second round pick Limas Sweed. The pursuit of Lelie is to bring him in as a 4th receiver and act as a possible fall back plan if Sweed doesn‚Äôt progress into the #3 receiver that the Steelers think he will. 2009 3rd round pick Mike Wallace will contribute on special teams but he needs a lot of work on his route running as he makes the jump to the NFL. As of early Tuesday afternoon, the Steelers have yet to make an official offer to Lelie but Lelie‚Äôs representatives expect an offer to be made by mid-week. As expected the Steelers will release or trade linebacker Larry Foote within the next week. Mike Tomlin wanted to keep Foote but financial reasons played a factor in this move as the Steelers have a needRead More »