Beasts, Quips & Polys

Mike Prisuta spent the weekend with the Pittsburgh Steelers and has news, notes, opinions and a prediction about the team's rookies.

It wasn't the greatest of rookie camps in terms of gleaning any potential game-changing observations.

When the quarterbacks are Jerrod Johnson and Darron Thomas and when they're firing passes around that inspire memories of Tee Martin scattering the women and children from the visitor's tent during training camp, it can get a little ragged.

In instances such as these you sometimes learn more with your ears than with your eyes.

And for ears that were open last weekend on the South Side there was music to be heard.

* We'll start with safety candidate Myron Rolle, who actually used the word "efficacious" during a lengthy interview session.

I had to look that one up. It means "producing or capable of producing a desired effect."

I'm not sure what that means regarding Rolle's quest for a potential roster spot. But if he proves less efficacious in his execution of assignments than the other candidates at defensive back, it might be confirmed once again that it doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to understand the Dick LeBeau defense after all.

* Rolle also had an interesting observation regarding his DBs coach with the Steelers, Carnell Lake, one that had been passed along by Rolle's cousin Samari, a DB with the Titans and Ravens from 1998-2008.

"He told me Coach Lake was a B-E-E-A-A-ST," Myron Rolle said. "I'm excited to be coached by someone as great as him."

That's a too-often-unrecognized assessment of Lake, and always has been.

Lake played all but two years of his Steelers career in defensive backfields that also included Rod Woodson. And the Steelers only reached one Super Bowl, one they failed to win, during Lake's tenure.

That probably explains why Lake remains one of the most underrated players in franchise history. He was a beast at multiple positions.

* Former Pitt linebacker Brandon Lindsey suffered through a draft during which the phone failed to ring for three days, but eventually reached the Steelers as a free agent. Lindsey was launched initially from Aliquippa, and has a keen appreciation not just of the Mike-Ditka-Sean Gilbert-Ty Law-Darrelle Revis-Jonathan Baldwin tradition, but also of why so many Quips are determined to add to that football legacy.

"Our parents can't afford for us to go to college," Lindsey said.

* The more Steelers types you talk to about Steve McClendon, the more confirmation you get that Steve McClendon's periodic play at nose tackle last season was above the line.

The latest such characterization came from rookie camp participant Corbin Bryant, who arrived last season as an undrafted rookie defensive lineman from Northwestern.

When it was suggested to Bryant that more playing time might be available inside at the outset of this season due to Casey Hampton's uncertain status, Bryant responded with an endorsement of McClendon.

"Steve McClendon played great for us last year," Bryant insisted. "I think he's going to do great things for us this year."

* Perhaps the happiest guy at rookie camp was Alameda Ta'amu, who was absolutely beaming to the media while describing the surprise phone call he got from Troy Polamalu.

"I was kinda star-truck," Ta'amu admitted. "He was telling me if I needed anything to just hit him up, and that he was happy there's another ‘Poly' here."

I had never heard the term "Poly' before. Apparently it's short for Polynesian. And apparently Polamalu is something of a Polynesian King.

"Every time we think about Pittsburgh, all the ‘Polys' just think about Polamalu," Ta'amu said.

* Mike Adams continues to confront the recent behavior that turned him from a potential first-rounder into a second-round selection with a first-round skill set.

"Step One is proving myself off the field because that's where my issues have been," Adams said. "I want to prove myself to the people in this organization and the people of this city."

If Adams doesn't start at left tackle this season it'll probably have little to do with the 19 reps he managed on the 225-pound bench press at the combine. That, at least, is Tunch Ilkin's early assessment.

"Very rarely do left tackles wash out because they're not strong enough," Ilkin maintained.

To Tunch, it's all about athleticism on the left side. It's about hands and feet. And nobody's questioned those attributes when it comes to Adams.

Until Adams shows otherwise, I'm viewing him as a legitimate candidate to start at left tackle.

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