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Goal line drill a highlight of practice

Posted Aug 4, 2012

One of the highlights of Steelers training camp is the goal line drill, and on Saturday afternoon the team didn’t disappoint the fans gathered at St. Vincent College to watch.

“We did good, spirited work today,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “We worked in the areas of short yardage and goal line. It was a good start in that area. I liked the energy and enthusiasm and competitive spirit of the men.

“Of course it was not perfect. I didn’t expect it to be. We’ll make the corrections and continue to move forward with our team development.”

The offense scored three times, with Jonathan Dwyer running it in and Byron Leftwich hitting Leonard Pope for a score. The highlight for the offense was when John Clay leaped right over the middle of the pile for a touchdown.

“He’s playing to his size, which is good,” said Tomlin of Clay. “It is one thing to be a big back but it’s another thing to play with that demeanor. When given the opportunity he’s shown that he’s playing with that demeanor, which is a good thing on the goal line. But he also did a nice job in short yardage and other areas as well.”

But it was the defense that won the first goal line drill of camp, without many defensive starters in on it.

“I take a lot of pride in it,” said Damon Cromartie-Smith, one of the defensive standouts. “Troy (Polamalu) came out trying to hype the guys up, saying this is the difference between a lot of the guys making the team and not making the team. He fired us up and wanted us to get out there and fly around.

“I am just trying to be an inspiration to all of the guys trying to make the team.”

* * *

The Steelers first two draft picks this year, guard David DeCastro and tackle Mike Adams, both worked with the first team offensive line in practice.

“He’s been doing a nice job of representing himself,” said Tomlin of DeCastro. “We’ll see where it goes. I wasn’t looking at him directly. I was looking at everyone, so I don’t really have a fair assessment of his performance particularly in that area today with the first team. We’ll take a look at it tonight.”

Tomlin also spoke about Adams after practice.

“He has been doing a nice job. He’s earned those snaps and we’ll continue to evaluate him. Again, he’s far from ready.”

* * *

On the injury front quarterback Ben Roethlisberger left practice before the goal line drill after someone stepped on his foot. Roethlisberger stood on the sidelines watching the drill with ice on his foot and Tomlin said he is fine.

Tomlin’s injury update: “Ryan Baker has an ankle injury, and Brandon Johnson has an ankle injury. We’ll take a look at those guys. Willie Colon wasn’t able to go today. His ankle got rolled up on in the drill. I think he stayed down for a moment or two. But it could be characterized as day-to-day at this point.  Isaac Redman wasn’t able to go today but we’ll still characterize those guys as day-to-day with the injuries they sustained last night at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.”

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