Notebook: Jacobs could get the axe

LATROBE – Quarterback Omar Jacobs must improve his grasp of the offense or the fifth-round pick will be cut in favor of Shane Boyd. That's what sources at training camp are saying, and the revelation has nothing to do with Steelers coach Bill Cowher using Boyd ...

... Boyd instead of Jacobs with the second team in the one-minute drill that ended Monday's practice.

Cowher explained that Boyd and yesterday's first-team, one-minute quarterback, Charlie Batch, will likely play quarterback at the end of each half Saturday in the preseason opener at Arizona.

"We'll try to give Omar one before the week's out," Cowher said. "More than likely it'll be those two young kids in the second half of some of these games coming up."

Fans should take it as a warning because Jacobs in particular is struggling with the offense.

"It's like learning a new language," he said. "You go into Spanish class for the first time and you're like, huh? Then you slowly, gradually learn.

"It's a lot of motion and formation changes; that's the main thing. Then you have to play with new guys for the first time so you have to get their timing down, and offense is timing. Ben [Roethlisberger] and Hines [Ward] are on the same page; they know where each other's going to be at all times. A backup quarterback is kind of judging when his receiver's going to come out of his route. It's hard to get the timing right now."

Jacobs is a big, strong quarterback with a lightening-quick release. The coaching staff considered him a valuable prospect coming into camp, but because of his difficulty understanding the offense he's in danger of falling behind Boyd, the quarterback whose only pro experience occurred last spring in NFL Europe.

"The real tough part for me is trying to say the long plays verbatim back to them in the huddle," Jacobs said. "That's throwing me off my game, too. It's tough. You say the long play; then you have to remember what you said, who's doing what and when they're doing it. Then you have to remember to take the right steps, the right progressions. You just shake your head, like, man."

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Or is the tunnel pitch black?

"No, somebody poked a little hole in it," he said. "They poked a little hole and I see a little daylight. It's there but I'm far from it."


Cowher did some shouting on the field at seventh-round running back Cedrick Humes, but it was nothing compared with his anger at reserve offensive lineman Barrett Brooks, who was arrested early Sunday morning for, according to Pittsburgh city police, fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, driving at an unsafe speed and stop sign violations.

Brooks allegedly passed a moving police car on the right side while driving a Yamaha motorcycle on East Carson Street. Police told the Tribune Review that Brooks dumped his bike, got up and attempted to flee when an officer tackled him down off the bike.

Brooks, an affable 34-year-old, called it "a crock."

"It wasn't as it seemed," he said. "I was just riding a motorcycle and that was the extent of it."

Brooks was asked why he didn't stop when he saw the police.

"I didn't see them," he said. "Once everything comes out and is over with I'll say something, but right now everything's under litigation, so there's nothing left to say. I just want to play football. ... You'll see. I'm telling you guys it was totally blown out of proportion. Once everything comes out, you'll understand."

Cowher met with Brooks and doesn't seem to be buying his explanation.

"Very disappointed in the judgment that he displayed on Saturday night," Cowher told reporters after practice. "I certainly don't condone the actions and certainly his responsibility goes with being a professional athlete and handling yourself properly, and Barrett used very poor judgment. I was very disappointed in him in doing that and that's all I'm going to say about it at this time."

Line coach Russ Grimm did not allow Brooks to take part in one-on-one line drills. In scrimmage drills Brooks played right guard in place of Chris Kemoeatu. Rookie Willie Colon played left tackle with the second team throughout practice, and Trai Essex played left guard.


Essex pulled a groin – "pretty significantly," according to Cowher – in the middle of practice and will miss Saturday's game.

"It could be a week to 10 days," Cowher said. "Joey Porter's coming along. I would anticipate in the next two or three days we'll get him out here doing some things. We'll proceed cautiously with that but I'm very encouraged by his progress."

Kemoeatu had his sore wrist x-rayed and the results were negative. He's expected back by Wednesday.


Batch was knocked to the ground by Chris Hoke in Saturday's practice, so Roethlisberger wore a green special-teams beanie on his head that stood as the red shirt college quarterbacks wear that warns defenders against contact.

"It's more of a goofy thing," Roethlisberger said. "I completed all my passes this morning and then again this afternoon so we're going to keep it going. I'm superstitious." Roethlisberger was asked about his young receivers.

"One guy who's really doing a great job is Nate Washington," he said. "I don't want to talk too much about him because he'll get a big head, but he's doing a great job."


The Pittsburgh Steelers released wide receiver Eugene Baker. The Monroeville native was out with an injured hamstring at the time.

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