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Inside the ropes: New Steelers tight ends get long look

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Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, 7:33 p.m.

• It's called “backs-on-backers,” but Mike Tomlin might as well have re-named the drill “tight ends-on-backers” during Monday's practice. Tomlin took a good look at newly acquired tight ends Michael Palmer and Nathan Overbay during the drill, with both acquitting themselves nicely. Overbay took park in at least a dozen reps with him winning more than he lost, while Palmer also won his share of one-on-one battles. The Steelers have three injured tight ends on the roster — Heath Miller (knee), David Johnson (knee) and Matt Spaeth (foot) — and have been scrambling to find replacements.

• As for the actual backs-on-backers portion of the drill, Lawrence Timmons slid around rookie Le'Veon Bell, prompting Tomlin to call for a repeat performance. This time, Bell stood up a hard-charging Timmons' bull rush.

• Baron Batch and Kion Wilson got into a little pushing match during backs-on-backers after Wilson slapped Batch upside the helmet twice while trying to get around him. It didn't set well with Batch, who is nicknamed “The Angry Man.” Batch ripped Wilson's helmet off and they started shoving each other before being separated.

• Rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton continued to show his tremendous speed. During 7-on-7, Wheaton used his 4.5 40-yard dash speed and blew past cornerback Isaiah Green on a 9-route for a deep touchdown catch in which the ball was in the air for approximately 50 yards. Wheaton showed his soft hands as well on the play, snagging the back end of the ball over his shoulder.

• After his nine-tackle, one-sack performance against the Giants, the Steelers moved Al Woods from defensive end to first-team nose tackle with starter Steve McLendon being excused from practice. Woods had been playing defensive end while rookie Nik Williams was out with a knee injury. Woods was slotted at nose tackle for the majority of spring practices.

• The Steelers brought in veteran lineman Guy Whimper during the spring in order to provide depth at the tackle spot. However, Whimper filled in at left guard Monday with Chris Hubbard sitting out. And he might be staying there after guard Justin Cheadle hurt his leg during 11-on-11, requiring him to be taken by cart to the locker room.

• Since moving Mike Golic Jr. from tackle to right guard, the Notre Dame alum has performed well. During one-on-one pass-blocking linemen drills, it was no different. Golic Jr. beat defensive end Brian Arnfelt, who is having a solid camp, three consecutive times.




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