Hey, Hey, Heyward

The Steelers opened their preseason with a 16-7 loss to the Washington Redskins, but Mike Prisuta's notebook starts and ends with the fine play of first-round pick Cameron Heyward.

LANDOVER, Md. – Cameron Heyward got a start in his first NFL game, serving as an up-back on the kickoff return team in the preseason opener against the Redskins.

Will a spot on the kickoff team for Heyward be next?

Orpheus Roye did it back in the day.

So did Brett Keisel.

Heyward appears to have the ability to move a large frame down the field quickly enough to cause major headaches for return teams But is it too much too soon?

Maybe not. Mike Tomlin has assessed Heyward as being well ahead of where Ziggy Hood was as a rookie. Tomlin wasn't talking about special teams, but the point is Heyward is absorbing and assimilating information and then acting upon it at an impressive rate.

He also wore a shirt and tie for his first professional road trip.

It was an eye-catching end to a week that saw Heyward consistently show up all over the practice field, noticeably picking up his tempo and all the while maintain that he was having fun playing the game.

On defense Heyward played with Chris Hoke and Ziggy Hood on the second-team line and played well.

It's not going to get much better than that as far as backups are concerned.

* Chris Scott started at right guard and stayed there – the only O-lineman to do so – through the Steelers' first six series.

As for the guys who were supposed to battle for the starting right guard spot at the outset of camp, Doug Legursky started at left guard and then moved to second-team center. And Ramon Foster first entered as the second-team left guard.

Scott has made right guard a three-horse race and he appears to be winning it.

* Welcome back Daniel Sepulveda. The injury-plagued punter last night enjoyed a 62-yard punt, a 51.0 average on his first four efforts, and three downed inside the 20-yard line, including one at the 1.

The Steelers' going to the Super Bowl with Mitch Berger and Jeremy Kapinos seemingly devalued punter as a position you had to have to get anywhere. But wouldn't it be easier to get there again if Sepulveda keeps this up?

* He's not "Red Zone" Redman anymore.

Isaac Redman isn't yet Franco Harris, either, but that 22-yard jaunt into the end zone included burst and a nimble spin as well as raw power.

* Charlie Batch was quarterbacking late in the third quarter behind an offensive line that consisted of, left to right, Marcus Gilbert, Keith Williams, John Malecki, Tony Hills and Kyle Jolly.

If this keeps up it'll not only be an upset if Batch makes the team, it'll be one if he survives long enough to crack the final 53.

* No penalties or turnovers in the first half, a remarkable achievement given the circumstances of the preseason.

And can you believe the other guys got called for roughing the passer?

Hope that doesn't mess with the Steelers' The-NFL-Is-Out-To-Get-Us motivational mantra.

*Was Heyward really as good as he looked on defense, or was it just because he was tackling Evan Royster, something Heyward already knew how to do?


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