Steelers weather the storm

The Steelers managed to dodge the raindrops on Monday afternoon and get in a full practice as training camp is winding down at St. Vincent College.

The team took the field at their normally schedule 2:55 start time, but were only on there a few minutes before the field was cleared because of the thunder and lightning that accompanied the rain.

Once that cleared, it was back to the field and the team went through about half the practice in the rain, until things cleared and it was sunny skies.

"We were able to overcome the weather conditions and get a productive practice in, which is great," said Tomlin, as dark clouds started to move in again and another round of storms came through after practice ended.

Tomlin also addressed some other topics after practice.

Coach Tomlin:We've got some guys working themselves back into the fold, guys like Curtis Brown and Chris Kemoeatu and others, which is good. We need to be healthy so that we can get out here and work, and of course improve our skills as we continue to push through this preseason. Of course our next test is Thursday night and it's fast approaching. So, good work for us and we'll assess it and move on from there.

Is there anything you can't do on the turf field that you can do on the grass fields?No, it's good work for us. We're thankful that we have this here at our disposal, and obviously we've needed it quite a bit here the last several days or so.

Do you have a revised expectation list for what you are aiming to accomplish?No, I don't necessarily call it a revised expectation list. I was more talking about how you feel about where we are in terms of this journey. You may feel a certain degree of discomfort compared to years passed. We can't worry about that. Everyone in the National Football League is working under the same circumstances. We're not changing our standard or level expectation. I was more talking about feel than anything else.

Are there any frustrations for the young guys since there were no offseason workouts?They're probably not frustrated because they don't know what they missed. So we're just working with them.

Do you like the competition that is occurring on the offensive line?I like it because we have some capable men. When we have capable men those are good issues and problems to have. How they sort themselves out and how they compete will be determined out here, which from a coach's perspective is a positive.

Can you talk about Jerricho Cotchery's versatility and ability to grasp the offense:Well in terms of us and our level of interest, that was based on New York Jets' tape. Specifically we thought he played a great football game in the divisional round the week before we played the Jets last year in the playoffs. He's a quality player, he's a veteran guy and he understands the drill. We look forward to him bringing his veteran savvy to our group. Right now in terms of what we're seeing out here, he's just trying to get lined up and play. We're still in the early stages from that standpoint.

What are your thoughts on the new kickoff rule?I think the rule is giving us, as a league, what we were looking for. They wanted to reduce the total number of kickoff returns. They identified that as the most dangerous play in football. They wanted to reduce it and the rule has done that. So I don't have any opinion.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also weighed in on the competition on the offensive line at right guard that includes Ramon Foster, Tony Hills, Doug Legursky and Jonathan Scott.

"It's fun. I think that always brings out the best in people and players," said Roethlisberger."That is what you are going to see. You are going to see guys competing and get the best out of each one of them. It's a good problem to have on offensive line when you have a lot of guys who are healthy."

With just one more afternoon practice left in camp, Roethlisberger is pleased with how things have gone so far.

"We are making progress, getting better every day," said Roethlisberger. "We have some setbacks here and there but that is to be expected. But we are making progress.

"We have a lot of talent all the way around. It's going to be fun to see how it plays out this year."

Cornerback Ike Taylor practiced on Monday with a cast on his left thumb, but will have surgery on it on Tuesday.

"They have to make me not practice for me not to be out here," said Taylor after practice.

The Steelers will hold their final open practice of training camp on Tuesday afternoon at 2:55 at St. Vincent College.

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