Tuesday, Aug. 11, practice report

SCI contributor Dale Lolley breaks down another big play from Mike Wallace and other things that happened Tuesday.

A heavy thunderstorm rolled through Latrobe Tuesday afternoon, ending what was starting to look like a promising practice for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Rookie wide receiver Mike Wallace showed his chops as a deep threat in the situational team drill, catching a 38-yard bomb for a touchdown from Ben Roethlisberger on second down.

With the first-team offense working against the second defensive unit, Wallace got behind a bevy of defensive backs, including Roy Lewis, Ryan Mundy and Keiwan Ratliff.

Head coach Mike Tomlin made sure he came over and said to the group of reporters I was standing with, "Don't write about how good the guy is, it was a blown coverage."

Blown coverage or not, Wallace continues to impress. His deep speed is outstanding and he's caught pretty much everything thrown his way.

He's in the mix as the No. 3 receiver right now, even if the team isn't saying it publicly.

As if to drive that point home, working with the second-team unit, Limas Sweed dropped a third-down pass from Charlie Batch along the sideline and after Dallas Baker caught a pass over the middle to convert the first down, time ran out.

© Tomlin had to drop by again moments later when Dennis Dixon was picked off on the first play from scrimmage by rookie corner Joe Burnett on a pass intended for Baker.

"What are you guys writing about," Tomlin said. "That nice interception Deshea (Townsend) had."

Townsend was getting a veteran day off, but Tomlin's comparison works. Burnett looks like a young Townsend.

© Sweed, who had missed Monday with a sore hamstring, got an earful from wide receivers coach Randy Fichtner during position workouts for pushing off on Baker on a fade pattern.

Fichtner then showed Sweed the proper way to slap the defender's hand away so as not to draw a pass interference.

Sweed's not without his moments and I think he'll be a serviceable wideout for this team this season. I just am not sure he's ready to handle Nate Washington's role by himself.

Washington, however, if you'll remember, also had his moments with dropped passes.

© With Aaron Smith, Troy Polamalu and James Harrison also getting a veteran's day off along with Townsend, there were some different faces in the starting defensive unit.

Andre Frazier was in for Harrison, while Nick Eason replaced Harrison and Tyrone Carter was at strong safety for Polamalu.

I'm not sure, but I think they had to sedate Smith to keep him from practicing.

© Casey Hampton and Willie Parker were back on the field, while Mewelde Moore continues to sit along with Martin Nance and Justin Hartwig. New to the injury list today was rookie wide receiver Tyler Grisham. Brandon Williams was also back today.

© Catch of the day and pass of the day go to Roethlisberger and running back Rashard Mendenhall.

At the snap, Mendenhall broke for the left flat with Frazier in coverage. Roethlisberger checked his options and bought some time. He then waved for Mendenhall to break down the sideline and threw a nice touch pass over Frazier's outstretched hand to Mendenhall, who caught the ball on a dead run.

Beautiful catch and throw.

© After making his 60-yard field goal attempt the other day, Piotr Czech missed badly from 36 yards today.

You've got to be consistent.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.


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