The Pittsburgh Steelers got one important member of their offensive line back Monday, but had a number of other veterans sit out as they began their second week of practices here at Saint Vincent College.
Guard Chris Kemoeatu was activated off the Physically Unable to Perform list after his elbow brace was delivered Monday morning and he completed his first practice with the team.
Kemoeatu, who has a slight tear in his left triceps, looked pretty good in one-on-one pass rush drills. He was beaten twice – once by Ryan McBean and once by Kyle Clement – but more than held his own on his other eight reps. In fact, he displayed some of that nastiness that has the Steelers so excited about him, not only beating guys, but driving them 10 yards off the play.
His strength is very evident.
Linebacker LaMarr Woodley also returned today from his sore groin, but a number of other players took the day off, includingLB James Harrison (groin), G Kendall Simmons (shoulder), DE Brett Keisel (groin), LT Marvel Smith (groin), cornerback Deshea Townsend (groin), LB Mike Humpal (hamstring), Limas Sweed (hamstring), Dezmond Sherrod (neck) and LB Anthony Trucks (back).
Head coach Mike Tomlin said Simmons and Smith aren't serious and it's beginning to appear that when the team wants to give a veteran a day off, they call it a groin injury – hence the spate of groin injuries in this camp.
The funniest moment perhaps of this camp came today in the running back drills when they were working on their individual moves. Five backs will line up and five yards apart and the runner approaches each one at full speed and gives him a move before going on to the next back.
As fullback Carey Davis took his turn, he juked off the first man and approached Gary Russell. As he ducked his shoulder to spin around Russell, he hit him squarely between the legs, dropping Russell to one knee, where he stayed for some time.
If that wasn't the funniest moment, then Aaron Smith provided one that was. During one-on-one blocking drills, the veteran was lured offside, causing him to yell at the top of his lungs the word that, according the the movie Bull Durham will immediately get you ejected from a baseball game.
Head coach Mike Tomlin playfully yelled at Smith that it was a family atmosphere – they were lined up next to a large throng of fans – and that he'll be hit with a kangaroo court fine for that one.
Lawrence Timmons surprised me a bit in the backs-on-backers passing drill. Willie Parker ran a fly on him and after giving him a stutter move at the line of scrimmage, exploded past Timmons. Parker had a good five yards on Timmons and did catch the pass from Ben Roethlisberger, but Timmons closed hard at the end, nearly knocking the ball away. He has very, very good speed.
The replacements for the missing guys today were Bryant McFadden for Townsend, Travis Kirschke for Keisel, Max Starks for Smith, Darnell Stapleton for Simmons and Timmons for Harrison. In the quarter defense, Andre Frazier replaced Harrison as a pass rusher.
Rookie QB Dennis Dixon was given a chance to work with the first team offense in the two-minute drill – with Mendenhall as the back – and moved the team into scoring position with time to spare.
But he had an opportunity to get out of bounds with seven seconds left at the 7 and save a timeout, but instead chose to dive for the first-down marker, obviously thinking it was college rules and the clock would stop while the chains moved.
The team was forced to burn the timeout and Dixon couldn't get them into the end zone, throwing incomplete on the final play to tight end Heath Miller, who was triple covered.
Mike Potts worked with the second unit and got the team into the end zone, tossing a TD pass to Reid.
Placekicker Jeff Reed was given a chance to end practice early on a 51-yard field goal attempt, but pushed it wide left.
It appears that rookie defensive end Jordan Reffett may have left camp or been released, but nobody is saying anything right now. Reffett was not at practice today. Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.