The Steelers concluded their first night practice with the always popular goal line stand, the first full-tilt contact drill of the year. On this night, the offense, which has been stagnant thus far, got the better of the defense.

"> The Steelers concluded their first night practice with the always popular goal line stand, the first full-tilt contact drill of the year. On this night, the offense, which has been stagnant thus far, got the better of the defense.

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Steelers Practice at Latrobe High School

<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-top:5.0pt;margin-right:0in;margin-bottom:5.0pt; margin-left:0in;mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align:none;text-autospace: none">The Steelers concluded their first night practice with the always popular goal line stand, the first full-tilt contact drill of the year. On this night, the offense, which has been stagnant thus far, got the better of the defense.</p>

The first team offense scored in two plays. On first-and-goal from the 5, Chad Scott made a nice play on Jerome Bettis, dropping the Bus for no gain. But Kordell Stewart made a nice ball fake to Bettis on second down and hit fullback Dan Kreider in the left flat for a touchdown.


The defense complained because the goal line drill usually has no passing, but head coach Bill Cowher said the pass was OK because the defense has played so well against the run and should expect to see more passes down by the goal line.


The second team offense and defense had a more spirited battle. Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala dove through for a 2-yard gain on first down from the 5 before being tackled by Justin Kurpeikis and Chris Hope. Then, John Fiala and rookie free agent safety Eric Totten drilled Fu on second down, knocking him on his back. Fu appeared to fumble, but came up with the ball. On third down, Fu again tried the middle and Hope and a bevy of others stopped him for a 1-yard gain. But on fourth down from the 2, Fu got into the end zone running behind Kendall Simmons for the score.

In other news, Amos Zereoue lost one fumble and Tee Martin lost another when he stuck a handoff on Zereoue's knee. Zereoue was practicing after getting dinged up in the morning session. Martin has looked very disinterested and is making more bad plays than usual, which is saying something.

Plaxico Burress and Kimo von Oelhoffen both left practice with groin strains. Cowher said both were minor, but after Bettis' groin injury last season, who knows? Burress looked OK after practice, but I couldn't find Kimo.

Stewart threw a quick out to Hines Ward during team drills that Dewayne Washington stepped in front of and ran in for a TD.

The defense is definitely ahead of the offense at this point. Stewart and Ward did hook up, however, on a nice bomb down the sideline. Ward beat Payton Williams.

In the offensive line and defensive line drills, Jim Wexel reports that Mathias Nkwenti and Kendrick Clancy looked very good. Nkwenti is really playing well. They moved him to right tackle in the drills to match him up against Aaron Smith, and he held his own.

The Steelers don't practice Thursday morning, but will be back in action in the afternoon.

 

--Dale Lolley


 


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