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Steelers

Notebook: Ben not worried about offense

| Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2005

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger isn't concerned about the first-team offense's inability to score touchdowns in the preseason.

"The important thing about this offense is we understand what's going on, and right now, we're starting to understand what's going on," Roethlisberger said. "Once we start clicking with that, I think we can be pretty dangerous." Roethlisberger finished 6 for 11 for 51 yards with an interception in Saturday night's preseason win over Miami. Had he not missed open receiver Cedrick Wilson in the end zone (incompletion) and overthrown tight end Jerame Tuman in the flat (interception), Roethlisberger's bottom line would have been decidedly different. "The first one to Cedrick, I was going to run it and then I saw Cedrick coming open late," Roethlisberger said. "I turned to throw it to him and it just sailed a little bit on me; not a big deal, we'll get that down. "The one to Tuman was a miscommunication. I thought he was going to keep running and he thought he was supposed to stop."

  • Cornerback Deshea Townsend was happy the Steelers secured nose tackle Casey Hampton's services for five more years.

    "Always good to help the team out by getting a guy like that for a long time," Townsend said.

    Hampton was scheduled to become a free agent following this season, as is Townsend. Wide receiver Hines Ward is, too, but Townsend wasn't surprised Hampton's extension was completed before Ward's.

    "Not really," Townsend said. "They understand what they're doing. I'm sure they probably talked to Hines. It doesn't matter, he knows he's going to get his deal done."

    Tight end Jerame Tuman, wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen and strong safety Chris Hope are also starters entering the final year of their contracts.

    "They know who they want to keep," Townsend said. "That's how the business goes. Everybody wants to be here, but everybody can't. That's how it is."

  • Jeff Reed said there was no good excuse for pulling a 28-yard field-goal attempt wide left Saturday night, including warming up without a snapper before the game.

    "I kicked about five balls on my own," Reed said. "But as long as you're warmed up, you should make a 28-yarder. I just mis-hit it."

    Two years ago, Reed missed more attempts (four) inside the 40 than any kicker in the NFL, but after offseason hip surgery, he improved from 71.9 percent to 84.8 percent and made 21-of-23 inside 40 yards.

  • The Steelers released second-year pro Sam Simmons (wide receiver) and rookie free-agent Chad Scott (running back), dropping the roster count to 85 (including NFL Europe exemptions). Rosters must be trimmed to 65 by Aug. 30 and to 53 by Sept. 4.

  • Cornerback Vontez Duff (shoulder), defensive lineman Travis Kirschke (back), cornerback Chidi Iwuoma (shoulder) and linebacker James Harrison (illness) sat out practice Monday.

  • Casey Hampton's five-year, $22.775 million contract extension included a $6.975 million signing bonus, but no clause excluding him from future running tests at the opening of subsequent training camps.

    "That's what I should have done," Hampton said.

    "Don't give him any ideas," said Steelers president Art Rooney II.

    Rooney might have been serious, but Hampton doesn't mind testing his 300-plus pounds in such a fashion.

    "It's not a problem," he said. "I go out there and just run it. If I make it, I make it. If I don't, hey, I'm a football player and I know when that ball's snapped I'm going to come off the ball and get it done. That's all that matters to me."

    Inside the lines

    BAD DAY AT HE OFFICE: The weather couldn't have been better on Monday afternoon at St. Vincent College, but the Steelers' practice could hardly have been worse in the estimation of coach Bill Cowher ."The weather was great, but they respond awful," Cowher said. "It was a very bad practice." Cowher was perhaps as vocal as he's been all August, and even ordered a couple of periods re-started in an effort to jump-start his troops. Nothing worked."It was not one of our better practices," Cowher said. "It happened one too many times in this camp. Hopefully, we'll come out here tomorrow and get a little bit more work done."

    IT WASN'T ALL BAD: CB Deshea Townsend made a nice play while reaching around TE Heath Miller and defending a pass.

    TRYING HARDER: The second-team defense included rookie Andre Frazier and first-year pro Dedrick Roper at outside linebacker, veterans Mike Logan and Tyrone Carter at the safeties and first-year pro Eric Taylor at defensive end (in place of Travis Kirschke , who was out with a bad back). Roper and CB Ike Taylor got some work with the first-team defense.

    PART OF THE PROBLEM: G Jim Jones was guilty of a false start in 11-on-11 work. "Focus, focus, focus," Cowher hollered.

    CONCENTRATION: WR Nate Washington made a nice catch over the middle and then hung on despite a shot from S Russell Stuvaints .

    SEE YA: WR Hines Ward left CB Ricardo Colclough in the dust with a spin move, turning a short reception into a big gainer.

    CONGRATS: G Alan Faneca celebrated NT Casey Hampton's new contract by locking Hampton up in a one-on-one drill.

    MAKING A MOVE: WR Lee Mays made a couple nice catches, including one on a ball thrown high by QB Charlie Batch .

    NOT AGAIN: QB Tommy Maddox fumbled a snap.

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