Notebook: Porter sacks coach

<b>LATROBE -</b> Ben Roethlisberger reported to the Steelers just in time. Yesterday their fourth quarterback - their camp arm - went down in a heap during the afternoon practice.<br><br> "If you're going to be the quarterback, the quarterback gets tackled, you know what I mean?" Joey Porter explained after knocking Bill Cowher down to the guffaws of fans and the delight of reporters Tuesday afternoon.

Cowher had lined up as the stationary quarterback during a blitz pick-up drill. Porter rolled around the whiff block of Duce Staley and knocked Cowher down.

"I should've saw who I had rushing. I let my guard down," said Cowher, who was asked if it was the first time he'd been sacked.

"Yeah. It will be the last one, too, trust me," he said.

Cowher said he'd never played quarterback, even at Pittsburgh Carlynton High School, because "I didn't want to give anyone the satisfaction I just gave him."

"I didn't think he was going to fall," said Porter. "I thought his base was a little stronger than that. But at the same time he didn't get hurt so he's OK with it."

A reporter joked that Porter had just become a hero in the media.

"Oh, you guys been wanting to do that for awhile?" Porter asked.

The drill is a camp favorite for on-lookers because linebackers have more time than they normally do in one-on-one blocking drills and therefore create greater explosiveness at the point of impact.

Cowher stood behind the running back in the shotgun formation and pointed to a linebacker of his choosing for the blitz.

"That's his favorite drill," Porter said of Cowher. "He wants to see us compete real hard, whether it's one-on-one with the linemen or one-on-one with the running backs. He wants us to give a good effort. He wants us to win every time we go up. I just try to tell our backers 'When you get a one-on-one chance with a running back, in practice or in a game, you've got to help the team out and make that play.' That's why I go so hard in the one-on-one pass rush."

After knocking Cowher down, Cowher stood up and pointed at Porter and told him that since he went so hard on the play, he'd better go hard all day.

"Yeah, he was mad (because) so many people saw it," Porter said. "He normally knows I'm coming when I do this one-on-one drill, but for some reason he had his feet set and once I seen him stumble I was hoping he was going to catch himself. Once he fell, he had to laugh it off then. He told me the other day he was feeling young so he'll be alright."

Kendrell Bell missed practice Tuesday because, as Cowher put it, Bell "has a back," which is coaching jargon for a back injury. Bell went up in the air during the previous day's practice and was hit. He's expected back today.

Kendrick Clancy won't be so lucky. The back-up nose tackle injured his calf muscle Monday and woke up Tuesday in greater pain. He'll undergo an MRI today and Cowher expects him to be out of action "longer than the two weeks we initially diagnosed."

Rookie tight end Bobby Blizzard has been having a difficult time this week. He first became dehydrated then was hit by the flu. Another newcomer, defensive back Shane Walton, has been out with a foot injury but Cowher believes he's a day away from returning.


The Steelers forced only 25 turnovers last season, their fewest since 1982 when they also forced 25, but in nine games. The Steelers never forced fewer turnovers in a 16-game season. That's why they're stressing the task this camp.

"We always talk about 11 to the ball," said cornerback Deshea Townsend. "Now we're talking when the ball's in the air go up and attack it. Play it like you're a receiver and try to make it happen when it's in the air."

Townsend believes turnovers actually start up front.

"Knowing they're going to be after the quarterback allows you to play more aggressive in the back end. As long as we have that mindset we should be fine."


The Steelers on Monday announced tonight's practice would be held at Latrobe High School, however Latrobe doesn't have a football field on campus. The practice will instead be held downtown at Latrobe Stadium at 7:05 p.m. It will be preceded by a 15-minute autograph session.

Admission is $3 for adults 18-65 and $1 for children 13-18 and senior citizens. Children under 12 will be admitted free if accompanied by a parent. Proceeds benefit the Greater Latrobe School District Athletic Program.

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