A.M. practice report, Aug. 7

After a sluggish first week of training camp, the Steelers' offense came out hitting on all cylinders Monday morning as it put on a clinic on how to matriculate the football through the red zone against a sleepwalking defense.

LATROBE – Perhaps with a newfound trust that he would not be hit during practice, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger came out looking like a new man Monday morning.

Roethlisberger was sporting a new look Monday as he donned a fluorescent green beanie on his head to let the defense know he was untouchable.

The beanie was there thanks to Chris Hoke's hit Saturday afternoon on Charlie Batch that sent Batch toppling backwards.

"I gotta wear this to keep Chris Hoke from hitting the quarterback," Roethlisberger said.

Hoke said it wasn't necessary.

"I talked to Charlie afterward and he said he was already falling backward and was going to go down," said the defensive tackle. "The little push I gave him didn't do that. That's just Ben joking around, that all."

Roethlisberger wasn't joking around throwing the football Monday morning.

During 7-on-7 drills, three of Roethlisberger's first four passes went for touchdowns, all three of which were thrown to Cedrick Wilson.

Roethlisberger then made it four-for-five, as Nate Washington leaped high into the air in the end zone to haul in another score. Washington was again subbing for Hines Ward, who was out with a hamstring injury.

It didn't seem to matter who the corners were today, as pretty much everyone on the team gave up a score at some point or another.

Charlie Batch kept the TD machine rolling, tossing a pair of scores to rookie Santonio Holmes. Then he threw another to Willie Reid, just to put an exclamation point on things.

Rookie Omar Jacobs added a nice long pass to Walter Young down the sidelines for another touchdown before Batch came back in and hit Washington for another score.

Washington dropped what should have been another touchdown by Roethlisberger, but the QB was unfazed, hitting Holmes for yet another score working against Tyrone Carter.

Now the glass half-empty, half-full crowd out there will certainly look at this two different ways.

But last week, the defense was dominating the 7-on-7 drills, as the offense struggled even to complete a pass.

Now, the receivers and quarterbacks are starting to get on the same page a bit and the defense needs to step up its game a little more to compensate. Plus, remember, in 7-on-7, there is no pass rush, something that makes a huge difference. It's the closest thing to flag football these guys play.

Ward was not the lone player sitting out. He was still joined by Joey Porter, Isaac West, Mike Kudla and Eugene Baker on the sidelines.

Talking to Kevin Spencer after practice, he said not to read anything into Mike Barr's holding for Jeff Reed one day in practice last week. The team wanted to give Barr a shot at working with somebody different than Mark Brubaker, while also giving regular holder Chris Gardocki a chance to hold for Brubaker.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.

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