Friday night Practice: Steelers receive good news (for now) on Stapleton


By Dale Grdnic LATROBE, Pa. — It was all good news for the Pittsburgh Steelers Friday, as the club got a good report on starting right offensive guard Darnell Stapleton after surgery, and the team had a solid practice under the lights at Latrobe High School’s Memorial Stadium in front of a record crowd estimated at 15,000. Stapleton has not practiced since the opening weekend due to swelling in his right knee and had an arthroscopic procedure done Friday morning. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin noted that the doctors “liked what they saw,” and he then ruled out putting Stapleton on injured reserve at this point. “They’re going to give him a couple weeks, and then we’ll see where we go from there,” Tomlin said. “If I had to nail it down at this point, it would be tough to do. So, we’ll give him a couple weeks, and we’ll seeRead More »

Day 8: Steelers are no strangers to rule changes brought about by their agressive style


By Dale Grdnic LATROBE, Pa. — The Pittsburgh Steelers are no strangers to rule changes over the years brought on by their aggressive, physical style of play, and the NFL came up with one again this year. There was the head-slap rule to stop the Steel Curtain’s defensive line from beating up their opposing offensive linemen on their way to sacking the quarterback, and then there was the 5-yard chuck rule instituted because monstrous cornerback Mel Blount would tie up a wideout at the line and he had no chance to get into his pattern. Now, there’s the Hines Ward Rule, aptly named for Steelers wideout Hines Ward, who can change a game equally as well with his run-blocking ability as he does as a pass-catcher. And the main play that precipitated the rule came against the Cincinnati Bengals and rookie linebacker Keith Rivers. “There’s really no intent now inRead More »

Day 7: Afternoon Practice: Insider Report


By Dale Grdnic LATROBE, Pa. — Ben Roethlisberger returned to practice Thursday afternoon, but is still showing signs that he is working his way back into shape as far as his arm strength goes. While he was sharp on the short and intermediate routes, Roethlieberger’s arm lacked some long-ball zip again Thursday, as one bomb was picked off by cornerback Roy Lewis, while another fell harmlessly short of the receiver and defensive back. After practice, Roethlisberger was carted up the hill with several ice bags wrapped to his shoulder. “Ben’s getting better, but we all are,” veteran quarterback Charlie Batch said. “I know I’m still shaking off the rust from last season, but we’re coming along little by little. It’s a process, as they say.” There was one drill where Roethlisberger displayed his accuracy. The Steelers linebackers covered the backs and tight ends off the line, and inside linebacker JamesRead More »

Wednesday Afternoon Practice: Big Ben Gets A Little Rest


By Dale Grdnic LATROBE, Pa. — Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got Wednesday afternoon off after throwing a lot of passes the first four days during the opening week of Pittsburgh Steelers training camp at Saint Vincent College. Roethlisberger threw an interception in each of the opening three afternoon practices and nearly was picked off Tuesday, but rookie cornerback Joe Burnett dropped it. Other than that, Roethlisberger was pretty sharp. Then, during Wednesday morning’s red-zone drill, he fired three touchdown passes and appeared that the arm strength he was looking for had returned. But Roethlisberger might have

Day 6 Morning Update: Davis eyes opportunity on special teams


By Dale Grdnic Photo: David Hague – Inside Pittsburgh Sports LATROBE, Pa. –When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Bruce Davis in the third round in 2008, they believed he would be an immediate contributor on special teams and pass-rushing outside linebacker for the future. Instead, Davis played just five regular-season games, all in the first half of the year, and did not record a tackle. He was inactive for the final eight regular-season games, as well as the playoffs and Super Bowl.

Wednesday Morning Practice: Roethlisberger throws 3TD’s in Redzone Drill


Broken Coverage The Steelers secondary had a tough time staying with the club’s receivers in a coverage drill, as quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger, Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon were pretty sharp from start to finish. In the 11-on-11, team red-zone drill, Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes: to Santonio Holmes, Shaun McDonald and tight end Dezmond Sherrod, while Batch had one to McDonald. In the coverage drill, wideout Steven Black beat

Inside Look at Pitt’s incoming freshmen


By Dale Grdnic The Pitt football team will have several dozen players with freshman eligibility on its 2009 roster, including 20 first-year guys, and many will be counted on to contribute to the program this fall. Since Pitt’s running game is an area where the most competition is expected, it’s also the position where youth will be served. Three players with freshman eligibility, second-year player Chris Burns and freshmen Dion Lewis and Raymond Graham, should all vie for playing time there. “We don’t have a lot of experience at the running back position, but we do have a lot of young talent,” Panthers running backs coach David Walker said. “So, it should be a very interesting camp. There’s going to be a lot of teaching, but there’s a lot of potential there. So, it should be exciting as well.” Burns was impressive during training camp last year, but with seniorRead More »