Steelers notebook: Team might be looking for outside help at offensive line
By Alan Robinson
Published: Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The Steelers might be looking outside the organization for help along the offensive line, where Kelvin Beachum is the only experienced backup who has played previously for them. Of the five starters, only guard Ramon Foster has been in the NFL more than three seasons.
Guy Whimper and D'Anthony Batiste, who was picked up during camp, have experience with other teams. Among those trying to play their way onto the roster are Joe Long, the brother of former No. 1 pick Jake Long; and Justin Cheadle, who left the practice field Monday with a knee injury.
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley said it's a situation that needs to stabilize soon.
“It's still early, but that's something we've got to get done,” he said. “We've got to develop the young guys on the roster. Whether it comes from within or outside, we've got to be sure we're solidified by the time we get to Week 1.”
• Wide receiver Markus Wheaton's reaction to his adventuresome NFL preseason debut? “My wheels were spinning,” the third-round draft pick said Monday. “It was a bunch at once. No kidding. During one short sequence, the former Oregon State star caught a pass for 8 yards, ran once for 10 yards, was called for a penalty and lined up incorrectly, forcing a time-out to be called. “That was on me,” he said. “I was excited to be out there, too excited. …. There's a lot to go over, a lot to fix.” Also a lot to excite the Steelers, as Wheaton competes with Jerricho Cotchery to be the slot receiver — the No. 3 wideout who is on the field frequently.
• Coach Mike Tomlin isn't happy that Tuesday is a required day off for the players. The Steelers haven't had successive full practice days since last Wednesday and Thursday, and won't have another set until they go for four consecutive days starting Wednesday. They don't play again until Monday in Washington. “Unfortunately, I've got to give them a day off in this new collective bargaining agreement,” Tomlin said. “I'll deal with that and we'll get them back out there Wednesday.”
• Cornerback Terry Hawthorne and defensive end Nick Williams returned to practice after missing most of camp to date with knee injuries. Williams, who is being converted from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defensive end, needs considerable time to learn the Steelers' system and has been set back by his layoff. Remaining out were cornerbacks Cortez Allen (knee), Curtis Brown (knee) and DeMarcus Van Dyke (hamstring).
• Linebacker Stevenson Sylvester sat out with a sore ankle, but expects to practice later this week. He was hit accidentally Saturday by teammate Markus Wheaton while covering a punt. “I'm lucky (the injury wasn't worse),” Sylvester said.
• The Steelers' top five running backs aren't competing just with themselves to make the 53-man roster but, because of special teams responsibilities, with the linebackers and defensive backs. “I've told them, if you want to win coach Tomlin's heart, that's the quickest way to do it,” running backs coach Kirby Wilson said. “You've seen we've got a lot of young linebackers who can hit and run, so it's going to be pretty competitive the next two or three weeks.”
• With nose tackle Steve McLendon missing for personal reasons, Al Woods stepped in to take first-team snaps Monday. Woods has been practicing mostly at end, but said he doesn't care which position he plays. “One man's misfortune or circumstance creates opportunity for others,” coach Mike Tomlin said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers coach Tomlin fined $100K by NFL
- Video shows new angle of sideline play involving Steelers coach Tomlin
- Offensive line injury bug continues to linger for Steelers
- Steelers notebook: Team down to third option at key line positions
- Steelers notebook: Dolphins receiver Wallace takes heat in Miami
- Robinson: Cold, hard truth about Manning
- Kovacevic: The Steelers’ longest half-yard
- Steelers’ Bell earns respect of his peers
- Tomlin expects NFL to discipline him for interfering with kickoff
- In Al Michaels, NBC has its ‘Miracle’ man
- Steelers’ Gay fined for hit on Browns QB Campbell