A.M. practice report, August 2

LATROBE -- The dropsies by the punt return candidates seem to be catchy. The first couple days of practice, it was Ricardo Colclough who was treating the ball as if it were a live grenade. Wednesday morning, it was ...

rookie first-round pick Santonio Holmes dropping the ball for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had trouble fielding the ball and dropped a couple of punts and misjudged another that went over his head.

With Cedrick Wilson sitting out practice with his sore Achilles' tendon, only rookie Willie Reid has shown to be capable of consistently fielding punts.

Wilson wasn't the only player still out of action this morning, as rookie linebacker Mike Kudla is still out as well with his sore hamstring. Can't make the club in the tub, as Chuck Noll used to say.

One addition to last night's injury report was wide receiver Eugene Baker, who left practice last night and was out today. Jerame Tuman and Chukky Okobi were back this morning.

An optimist would look at Holmes's day and say that at least he was practicing. The rookie missed yesterday's session with a sore hamstring, so that is a plus. His problems with his hands continued into his pattern running as he dropped three passes as well. Maybe the rookie is doing a little too much thinking out there.

The Steelers worked on their red-zone offense in 9-on-7 drills and only scored two clear touchdowns in about 15 minutes.

Fullback Dan Kreider caught a ball at the two from Shayne Boyd and his momentum would have easily carried him over safety Mike Logan had it been a live play.

The other touchdown pass came from Charlie Batch to Hines Ward - working against Ricardo Colclough - in the front corner of the end zone on the final play of the drill. Colclough, by the way, fielded all of his punts without a muff.

Ben Roethlisberger was throwing the ball with more zip today, picking up on his better session Tuesday afternoon. But he did overthrow Quincy Morgan on a skinny post on the first play of the red-zone drill. The ball was picked by safety Troy Polamalu, who was covering Morgan over the top.

Two rookie nicknames I've picked up in the last 24 hours: Willie Colon is being called "Big Poppy" by his teammates, perhaps because he bears a resemblance to Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, although I don't see it. Defensive end/linebacker Lee Vickers is being called "Speed."

We'll have more after the night practice from Latrobe Stadium.

(Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.)


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