Afternoon Report

After a so-so morning session, the Steelers had what running back Jerome Bettis called "the best first practice" he'd ever seen, as both offense and defense displayed a good amount of chipiness Tuesday.

The jawing back-and-forth started early when Charlie Batch and Nate Washington nearly hooked up on a long pass in 7-on-7 drills against Willie Williams. As the offense hooted and hollered, cornerback Deshea Townsend dared them to try the same play on his side of the field.

Later, when the team went to 11-on-11, safety Chris Hope layed a big hit on new wide receiver Cedrick Wilson – who despite the pop, didn't go down - while defensive end Brett Keisel knocked running back Noah Herron from his feet. Later, when Dedrick Roper made a nice down the line play to stop Duce Staley behind the line of scrimmage, head coach Bill Cowher had to remind his defense that it was supposed to be a non-tackling drill.

Wilson got Hope back, however, catching a long pass from Ben Roethlisberger - on a wobbly ball. Wilson appeared to give corner Ricardo Colclough a little shove in the back to make the play, but got up and spiked the ball after the long gain.

Jerome Bettis got the crowd going with a run on which he made a nice cut and faked Rian Wallace out of his shoes, bouncing back inside for a long gain. After getting up from the ground, Bettis did his little head-shaking walk.

Ike Taylor had a tough day, getting beaten by both Zamir Cobb and Antwaan Randle El in individual drills. After he was beaten by Randle El, who failed to make the catch on a well-thrown ball by Roethlisberger, a fan yelled from the hillside at Taylor that he had been beaten like Chad Scott. The fan likely thought he was funny, but was in fact, being an ass.

Fans should sit and watch practice, but yelling things like that at players is a bit much for my taste, even if Taylor did struggle. Would the fan in question like it if somebody heckled him at work? Probably not.

Yelling at a game is one thing. At practice, it borders on stupidity. But I digress.

Brian St. Pierre was erratic throwing the ball, having a couple of passes easily picked off. He still struggles with his accuracy.

Cowher said the team had two players suffer minor hamstring pulls today - Lee Mays and Bryant McFadden. They will be monitored.

Courtesy of the Observer-Reporter


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