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It's all about position flexibility


By Teresa Varley

Latrobe, Pa - Since his arrival in Pittsburgh one of the things that Mike Tomlin has stressed continuously is position flexibility. Players are often called upon to step up at a position they might not normally play, sometimes because of an injury, other times maybe just to give the team a spark.

In training camp that flexibility is already playing a key role.

On Saturday, with LaMarr Woodley sidelined with a groin injury, James Harrison moved from right to left outside linebacker and Lawrence Timmons stepped in at right outside linebacker.

"There is such a thing, believe it or not, I know you've heard the catch phrase, as position flexibility," said Tomlin. "Now you see why we do what it is that we do what we do.  James Farrior misses a day, Larry Foote slides over, and in comes Lawrence Timmons. Woodley misses a day and slide James Harrison over and in comes Lawrence Timmons."

Timmons movement at linebacker came just a day after Tomlin praised him for his performance during camp, particularly at the team's night practice on Friday when he dominated during backs-on-backers.

"Lawrence is a guy on the come," said Tomlin. "We challenged him to be at his best. He's a talented guy, as you guys can see, but he's not a finished product by any means. But he does have an attitude to come out here and get better every time we work."

After a performance that Tomlin classified as "not our sharpest" on Friday night the team came out on Saturday with something to prove in their two practices.

"I thought we had a very productive day today," said Tomlin. "We bounced back from last night's performance.  We came in this morning with a young guy interest, as we gave quality rest to some young men that needed it and focused it that way.  We gave some veteran players a little break so they could get their body back on and we came back out this afternoon and competed and worked on a different element of our football; some offense with some back-up defense and some other things. 

"But it was a very good day, very productive and we will continue to move forward."

Ben Roethlisberger sat out most of the practice nursing a sore groin. He only took part in the seven-on-seven, but the injury doesn't worry Tomlin.

"We knew he was going to be a little sore coming out," said Tomlin. "He wanted to give it a go, see if he could get it warm. He did as much as he could do.  We are exercising a little caution.  It's always a quality opportunity to give reps to young guys like Dennis Dixon and Mike Potts. That's the way we approach it."

The Steelers return to the practice field on Sunday for one practice at 2:55, which is open to the public. The practice will feature one of the annual highlights of training camp, goal line.

"It's going to be a good time," said Tomlin. "You know, it's always a crowd favorite. Our team looks forward to it. We're going to have a good time with that.  It's going to be a best of seven.  We are going to put the ball on the one-and-a-third yard line and the first team to four wins. So it could be four snaps, it could be seven. We will see how it shapes up."

Tomlin's Injury Update:

"Woodley has a groin injury. He will be characterized as day-to-day. Mike Humpal, he tried to go last night but the hamstring injury did hamper his play. He can be considered day-to-day. Dezmond Sherrod had a stiff neck from the backs on backers drill from last night. He has got to get his head up and technique down.  Hopefully this teaches him a lesson.  He can be characterized as day-to-day. And then Ben Roethlisberger with a sore groin that I mentioned last night, was not able to finish.  He can be characterized as day-to-day as well. Everyone else is status quo. I will answer any questions."

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