OTA No. 10 -- Tomlin talks

SCI.com publisher Jim Wexell gives his thoughts and makes some notes on each of the Steelers' OTA workouts spring. Here's the 10th installment (updated with transcript):

PITTSBURGH – Mike Tomlin addressed the media following OTA No. 10, which was again attended by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger took the first-team reps Wednesday, something we can expect to see more often through the finish of workouts next Thursday. Tomlin also said that Dennis Dixon will receive the other important reps, "because he's a young guy."

Tomlin explained that Roethlisberger will take reps away from Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch since they've received so much work already this spring. Tomlin was then asked if he's given any thought to his QB rotation plan for training camp.

"I have," he said.

Could he relay those thoughts?

"No," he said.

Will it be much different than it is now?


Tomlin did add that Roethlisberger "will address the media at the appropriate time in the near future."

Here's the complete Tomlin transcript.

* At practice, the rotation went Roethlisberger-Leftwich-Dixon for the first team scrimmage, with Leftwich and Dixon switching for the second and third scrimmages. Batch stood on the sidelines without taking a snap.

* On a day devoted mainly to the running game, or "finishing," as Tomlin exhorted of his backs from the sideline, Roethlisberger did complete one bomb. During the first scrimmage, he took two steps up into the pocket and heaved a pass that Arnaz Battle burst by the safeties to catch for a touchdown.

* The second scrimmage had the three quarterbacks running the no-huddle offense. After one Roethlisberger completion to Mike Wallace, Roethlisberger said, "Good job, Mike" in a rare pat on the back from the QB. On the down side, tight end David Johnson dropped a soft touch pass from Leftwich and heard about it from Tomlin and an assistant coach. It appears the frustration level with Johnson is rising.

* The 7-on-7 drill opened without a center, as the coaches and quarterbacks began shouting to the one-on-one pit for any of the team's five centers to come over and snap the ball. Undrafted rookie Brandon Vierling finally trotted over.

* The third scrimmage was all about the run game, with Tomlin shouting for his backs to finish, and also shouting encouragement at Keenan Lewis and Jason Worilds for their defensive hustle. Tomlin and the rest of those watching on the sideline got a charge out of the final run play, when rookie Jonathan Dwyer "finished" by blasting into a backup safety.

After Tomlin's smile faded, he turned to a couple of reporters on the sideline and said he'd like to run the play a few more times. One told Tomlin he could cancel the final special-teams session to do that.

"I could," Tomlin said. "You saw our special teams last year."

* Missing the workout was James Harrison, Brett Keisel, Ryan Clark and James Farrior.

Andre Harrison and Ziggy Hood started on the right side of the defensive front, with Larry Foote stepping into the buck linebacker spot and calling the signals, and Ryan Mundy playing free safety.

* Ike Taylor didn't play with the first team so DBs coach Ray Horton could look at rookie Crezdon Butler at first-team right cornerback. It was a heavy nickel day and William Gay stayed at that position, but it was also done to recognize Butler's hard work and fine play this spring.

* Dick LeBeau wore Clark's No. 25 jersey on Wednesday. He promised to wear Chris Hoke's No. 76 on Thursday.

* It was kickoff return day, and the return men were, in order, Stefan Logan, Jason Chery, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and Joe Burnett.

* Leftwich on being replaced on the first team by Roethlisberger: "It doesn't really matter, especially this time of year." And when asked when it will become important to take first-team reps, Leftwich said: "I don't know. It's not during OTAs. The proper people will worry about it when it's time."

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