Monday afternoon practice report

<b>LATROBE -</b> It seems the Steelers are unable to get through a practice or day in the past week without some kind of major injury. <br><br> The latest to go down was backup nose tackle Kendrick Clancy, who was injured Monday afternoon during positional drills.

"It's a pretty significant injury," said head coach Bill Cowher. "He heard something pop in his calf. We'll know more probably tomorrow."

Clancy joins a growing list of players who are on the shelf. While Joey Porter returned to practice Monday morning, safety Shane Walton and tight end Bobby Blizzard missed both the morning and afternoon sessions.

Also tight end Jerame Tuman (elbow) and linebacker Clark Haggans (hand) will be out for at least the next two weeks.

Cowher seemed to press the team more in the afternoon to pick up the physical nature of the practice. And there was plenty of contact in the 9-on-7 running drills that worked on the interior run game.

On the opening play of the drill with the first-team offense lined up against its defensive counterpart, guard Kendall Simmons and center Jeff Hartings sealed off the backside of a counter to the left and running back Duce Staley cut it back for a nice gain. End Aaron Smith finished the play on his back, driven to the ground by right tackle Oliver Ross.

"I really like the way our first team offensive line is working right now," said first-year offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.

"They've really come out and tried to set the pace."

Veteran cornerback Terry Fair doesn't look long for the team. He's getting beaten on a consistent basis.

The backup safety competition also looks tough as both Ainsley Battles and Russell Stuvaints made nice plays on balls to pick them off.

After a strong day in the trenches Sunday, rookie Eric Taylor didn't have nearly as good a day Monday. He was beaten up by a number of offensive linemen and drew the wrath of his position coach John Mitchell. But hey, as I've always said, if they're yelling at you it means they care. It's when they stop yelling that you're in trouble.

Rookie linebackers Nick McNeil and Dedrick Roper have looked good. Neither looked overwhelmed in the 9-on-7 drills.

Steel City Insider Top Stories