Carolina on my mind

Here are a few random notes from a sportswriter who's probably more ready for the regular season to begin than the Steelers are.

© OK, the Steelers' first team offense and defense showed a little more Friday night in Carolina than their backups did.

Quarterback Tommy Maddox completed 4-of-5 passes for 65 yards, while the team put together a running game for the first time in this preseason.

The defense, meanwhile, put pressure on quarterback Rodney Pete and wasn't it nice to see Kendrell Bell flying to the quarterback to deliver a big hit?

© Todd Fordham was on his way toward winning the right tackle position when his left ankle buckled under him. It's just a sprain, but it didn't make head coach Bill Cowher's decision any easier.

© The other right tackle candidate, Oliver Ross, didn't play because of an ankle injury. Again, Cowher's decision wasn't made any easier.

© I'd start Fordham.

© Josh Burr showed why he won't make this team. Burr is too tall to play tackle in this league. He gets pushed over too easily.

© Those Jerome Bettis to Detroit trade rumors make sense on two levels.

The Steelers have a logjam at running back - Verron Haynes is ready to be the backup – and Bettis would get a chance to finish his career in his hometown.

Don't know if this deal will actually happen, but it sure is interesting to talk about.

© Ike Taylor showed why he's not quite ready to be the fourth corner. You have to be able to tackle to play in this league. Ask Dewayne Washington.

© OK. Maybe not.

© That was a pretty big scare in the first quarter when Plaxico Burress didn't get up after catching a little slant.

A long-term injury to Burress or Ward would be as crippling to this offense as one to Maddox.

© That being said, the most important player to keep healthy on this team is cornerback Chad Scott. We saw last year in the playoffs what happens when he's not in there. And they haven't upgraded anything at cornerback to soften that blow.

Dale Lolley

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