PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — It was a larger group than usual on the sidelines at St. Vincent College.
Other than the PUP crew, CB Curtis Brown, TE Matt Spaeth, DL Nick Williams, S/Special teamer Ross Ventrone, Lawrence Timmons, Larry Foote and Troy Polamalu all sat out – Timmons due a death in the family and neither Foote nor Polamalu appear to be injury-related.
Coach Mike Tomlin did say Polamalu “has a contusion of the birth certificate – he was born in the 70s,” which is a fabulous line, except that he was actually born in 1981.
Breaking down a few positional drills, Ben Roethlisberger was sharp in one-on-one goal line passing, hooking up with both Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders despite tight coverage by Ike Taylor and Will Gay.
In the 11-on-11 running period, the lighter Isaac Redman showed shiftiness and quick bursts while Baron Batch had a nice pair of runs through traffic with speed and power. Defensively, free agent LB Kion Wilson continues to demonstrate good instincts.
Veteran DE Brett Keisel started off the 11-on-11 passing period by declaring in the huddle, “We have to dominate,” but it was the first-team offense that had the upper hand.
Roethlisberger connected with Brown on back-to-back throws, dumped off successful screen passes to Redman and Will Johnson before going back to Brown over the middle for 18 yards – after Brown had checked CB Josh Victorian coming off the line.
Victorian made best defensive play when he broke up a slightly underthrown deep ball to Sanders.
Ryan Clark avoided a freak injury when he got his fingers caught in David Gilreath’s facemask, but they were able to untangle before any severe damage was done.
Another 11-on-11 session started with the offense at its own one yard line. Roethlisberger’s first throw was good for a first down to Jericho Cotchery; the defense fared better at stopping running plays.
Well down the depth chart, QB John Parker Wilson hit a wide open TE John Rabe down the numbers but Rabe couldn’t take it the full 99, finally caught by some DBs around the 30 yard line.
The practice ended with 11-on-11 Red Zone — Roethlisberger hit TE David Paulson plus Brown and Sanders for TDs.