Monday practice report

<b>LATROBE --</b> The Steelers went into team scrimmage three different times Monday because, as Coach Bill Cowher explained, the team committed so many minor penalties Saturday night. <br><br>So Cowher had them working as a team and the focus was evident, the tempo crisp. <br><br>Here are the notes:

  • Keydrick Vincent played left guard in place of Alan Faneca, who was rested. Larry Foote played inside linebacker in place of Kendrell Bell, who has a sore shoulder. Chris Hope returned to free safety and Jerame Tuman returned to tight end. The cornerbacks in the continuing minor-injury saga of Chad Scott and Deshea Townsend were Ike Taylor and Rico Colclough.

  • The first team session was highlighted by a Ben Roethlisberger pass to Matt Kranchick. The 6-7 rookie tight end went up high to reel in the 25-yard pass.

  • Roethlisberger also hit tight end Jay Riemersma down the deep seam after he slipped past Clint Kriewaldt.

  • In the second team segment, Casey Hampton punctuated a series of fine plays by lining up at an angle the way Joe Greene used to, and Hampton jumped easily past center Drew Caylor to sack Brian St. Pierre on his second step back. Hampton was an animal today.

  • The worst pass of the day was thrown by St. Pierre, who scanned the field before dumping a five-yard pass to Huey Whittaker. Ooops. Make that Troy Polamalu, who was standing in front of Whittaker and the ball struck, and stuck, him in the chest.

  • Barrett Brooks played right tackle and stoned Alonzo Jackson; Max Starks, two plays later, pushed Jackson wherever he wanted; Todd Fordham played left tackle and handled Joey Porter; Starks also handled Brett Keisel, who'd given Kendall Simmons a great battle in the best of the one-on-one line drills today.

  • In the third segment of team drills, Tommy Maddox threw a beautiful, arching deep pass to Plaxico Burress over Taylor.

  • Roethlisberger fumbled the snap from Chukky Okobi, calmly picked it up and feathered a screen pass to Willie Parker. The fumble helped the timing of the play and Parker sprinted untouched for a big gain. Parker's speed was eye-popping once again.

  • Aaron Smith sacked Maddox and later blew up a Maddox screen pass to Verron Haynes.

  • St. Pierre threw a 20-yard pass down the middle to Glenn Martinez. Hope, the free safety, timed his break perfectly and leaped into the air for a spectacular interception.

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