The Pittsburgh Steelers were back at again on Thursday and below is a recap of all the main nuggets from around the world wide interwebs.
Unfortunately, veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress tops the news as he reportedly tore his rotator cuff during practice. If it ends his season, Justin Brown, Derek Moye and David Gilreath will all likely be in the race for the fifth wide receiver spot on the roster if another veteran is not brought in.
Sitting out practice on Thursday were Cortez Allen (knee), Curtis Brown (ankle), Terry Hawthorne (knee), Matt Spaeth (foot), DeMarcus Van Dyke (hamstring), Nick Williams (knee), Cameron Heyward (unknown) and Emmanuel Sanders (unknown). Spaeth was in Pittsburgh Thursday getting his foot evaluated, but there has been no word as to how long he will be sidelined. Sanders apparently was given the day off to rest his feet.
With Spaeth down, the Steelers added two more tight ends to the roster as Michael Palmer was claimed off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks and free agent Nathan Overbay was signed. To make room for both players, undrafted free agent Mike Farrell and tight end John Rabe were waived.
Tackle Guy Whimper was carted off with an undisclosed injury Thursday, but Bob Labriola thinks it could have just been heat related.
According to Dale Lolley of the Washington Observer, rookie draft picks Shamarko Thomas and Markus Wheaton worked as gunners Thursday on punts. Lolley notes how much speed the two showed so this will certainly be something to look for Saturday night. Lolley also notes that Wheaton was scolded by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for not knowing his hot route on one particular play. Despite that demerit the third-round draft pick looked good otherwise. As far as the tackle situation goes Lolley says Kelvin Beachum replaced the struggling Marcus Gilbert at right tackle during the final portion of practice. I sure hope Gilbert hasn\’t lost his motivation following him losing the left tackle job to Mike Adams recently.
According to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Baron Batch not only got an earful from running backs coach Kirby Wilson for bouncing a run outside instead of hitting the hole, he also drew the ire of special teams coach Danny Smith for failing to get back to the huddle during a punt drill. Batch really hasn\’t improved his stock so far during training camp and appears to be drifting further and further away from outside the bubble. He really needs to show something during the preseason or he can forget about making the 53 man roster. Lucky for him, it\’s still real early.
Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote on Twitter that the aforementioned Moye, linebacker Stevenson Sylvester and cornerback Isaiah Green are three under-the-radar players to watch closely right now. Moye will likely see an increase in reps along with rookie J. Brown now that Burress is out. Green is obviously benefiting from all of the cornerbacks being out injured right now and he should get quite a bit of playing time Saturday night because of that. Also according to Kaboly, tackle Joe Long is having a good camp in his eyes. Depending on whether or not Whimper is able to play Saturday night, the Wayne State product might just get some extra playing time against the Giants at both tackle spots.
In Kaboly\’s Inside the Ropes report, he notes the personnel packages the offense used during their no-huddle session and the three wide group included Jerricho Cotchery in the slot and LaRod Stephens-Howling at running back. Kaboly also notes punter Brian Moorman as having some nice hang times Thursday as he is attempting to knock off Drew Butler for the punting job. Tomlin said Thursday during his press conference that both will likely split halves Saturday night.
Will Graves of the Associated Press noted on Twitter that rehabbing linebacker Sean Spence doesn\’t look to him like a player that will be out for the season judging by the hard work he put in during his agility drills. Can Spence indeed make it back by the end of the PUP cut off date? We have a long wait until we find out, so keep your fingers crossed as he looked very promising last year during the preseason prior to getting injured. Graves of course isn\’t a doctor, but maybe he stayed in the Latrobe Holiday Inn Express last night.
That\’s it for the Thursday tidbits.