Familiar Role For Logan ?

While the real position battles won't begin until the Steelers head for St. Vincent College in Latrobe in a little under two months, the team's volunteer coaching sessions now underway and mini-camp at the beginning of June will offer a sneak preview of several key battles. <br><br>Here is the second in a series previewing those:<br><br> <b> Today: Strong Safety</b>

Steelers head coach Bill Cowher has made a point of mentioning veteran defensive back Mike Logan whenever anyone asks him about first-round pick Troy Polamalu being the team's starting strong safety when the season opens.

Is Cowher blowing smoke trying to keep extra pressure off his prized rookie, who he thought so much of that he traded half of this year's draft picks to acquire?

You'd better believe it.

Mike Logan has been a good player for the Steelers in his role in the team's dime defense. But for all of his athleticism, Logan was never been able to wrestle a starting job away from either Brent Alexander or Lee Flowers, even though that's what was lacking in the Steelers' secondary.

And with Logan coming off a knee injury suffered in the team's first-round playoff victory over Cleveland - an injury that seriously hurt the team's chance of beating Tennessee the following week – it doesn't look likely he'll be able to hold off Polamalu.

The rookie has been soaking in the team's defense since the team's rookie mini-camp earlier this month and should have a good handle on it by the time training camp rolls around in July. The fact that Logan isn't really able to participate much on the field in the team's volunteer workouts only helps Polamalu's chances.

Logan will be ready to play when the season begins in September, but will likely be in his familiar role in the dime or nickel defense – whichever the team settles on – rather than as the starter at strong safety.

Dale Lolley

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