After further review ...

The players returned to the practice field after the coaches returned to the film room on Saturday. The mix made for an interesting notebook from Jim Wexell.

UNITY TWP. – Isaac Redman provided the perfect fodder for Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin after the team returned to the practice field on Saturday.

Redman, the undrafted rookie, was in the middle of a throng of reporters who wanted to know more about the running back who A.) starred in the goal-line drill a week ago, and then B.) scored two touchdowns in the Steelers' 20-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night.

But Tomlin walked past the group and bellowed, "You're interviewing Isaac Redman? Isaac Redman? All I'd want to know from him is ‘What's your name?' and ‘Where you from?'"

Well, the guy who was referred to the Steelers by Bruce Arians protege Todd McNair said that Bowie State is indeed in Maryland and that some fans call him Gary Russell.

Tomlin just calls him "Bowie State" and his ‘Who cares?' approach to the rookies was supported by veterans Ryan Clark and James Harrison, who both dished out hard hits on Redman in practice.

Redman did draw praise from Arians, the offensive coordinator who was asked to name the brighter spots in Thursday's performance.

"Individually," he said, "I liked (Limas) Sweed, (Mike) Wallace – nice competition. Shaun McDonald, it looks like he's a pro. (David) Johnson, (Doug) Legursky and Tony Hills played well, and Trai (Essex) did a nice job against (Darnell) Dockett. Rashard (Mendenhall) had a really good game in pass protection, and he ran the ball very solid. The two big kids – (Isaac) Redman and (Frank) Summers – they're fun to watch when you put them in there together. I also thought Dennis (Dixon) played well."

Arians was asked if he, like most fans, wants to see more out of Mendenhall, last year's first-round pick who gained 24 yards on 9 carries as the starter Thursday.

"He got everything we gave him," Arians said. "If Limas gets the block on the sideline, he bounces it outside and we have a 25-yard gain. I'm fine with him."

Other sources supported Arians's assessment of McDonald, Hills and Wallace – who was open deep a couple of times aside from the underthrown deep ball.

Others who "showed good tape" on defense were inside linebacker Donovan Woods, cornerback Joe Burnett and defensive tackle Sonny Harris, who some felt had outplayed first-round pick Ziggy Hood.

"I told Sonny he set the bar pretty high that first time out," said defensive line coach John Mitchell. "I'll be expecting that every time now."

"We spent this morning evaluating the tape, looking at them critically," said Tomlin after practice. "That first one is so important because it kind of sets the stage for our mentality, in terms of how we look at our work and evaluate our work. We'll try and eliminate mistakes and move forward and find new problems."


Mendenhall missed Saturday's practice with a quad contusion but is expected to return Sunday. Wide receiver Brandon Williams (abdominal strain) is also due back soon, but running back Mewelde Moore (hamstring) remains sidelined, even though he runs for the trainer every practice. Rookie WR Tyler Grisham played Thursday, but a sideline crash into his position coach ended his night. He remained out Saturday with hamstring trouble.

Returning full-time to the practice field were center Justin Hartwig, running back Willie Parker and wide receiver Martin Nance.


* Tomlin on Trai Essex as a right guard:

"I think the jury's still out. I think so far so good, but it's an incomplete body of work, like everybody's right now. I like his attention to detail. I like the way he's competing. He represented himself relatively well against (Darnell) Dockett, who of course is one of the premier 3-techniques in football. Every week's going to provide those kinds of challenges for him. That's what comes with playing guard. I imagine there'll be a big guy waiting for him in D.C."

* Tomlin on using rookie running back Summers at fullback:

"In the short term recently we've been focusing on fullback because he spent quite a bit of time in the spring working at the tailback position. It made no sense to teach him fullback then because it's football in shorts. And then we got a sense after working with him that this guy likes the combat, so we'll continue to work with him at the fullback position."

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