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.