<b>LATROBE -</b> It was a given heading into training camp this year that rookie Troy Polamalu…
Steelers: Bill Cowher Press Conference
A: I don't anticipate it, no.
A: He is doing okay. I think ideally I would like to get him 18-20 snaps Saturday night. I think he is holding up well. He is sore. He is where the other guys were two weeks ago. In regards to his condition, it is being monitored and he has had no adverse effects.
Q: Will Kendall Simmons start the game or will he be with the second team?
A: We will see. We will see where he is at the end of the week. As of right now that has yet to be determined.
Q: Who will start at right tackle?
A: We have not sat down and talked about that yet. I am not sure how we will play those guys, but Todd Fordham will be in there. We have not determined the playing rotation at this point.
Q: What is the situation with Tim Levcik?
A: It is hard to evaluate a player who is not practicing. He is getting better, but he has not been able to practice.
Q: Any idea when he will return?
A: Not really. Right now I am trying to go day-to-day with this team the way we have been going with the injuries. At this point, I don't know.
Q: Who has looked good on the special teams unit?
A: James Harrison had an outstanding game in the kicking game, Ike Taylor did a nice job, Lee Mays as well. I think Jeff Reed did a nice job kicking the ball. He gave us a chance to utilize the speed we have and he got a couple kicks in the end zone. I thought Josh Miller punted the ball well. It was good to see. Clint Kriewaldt was outstanding as well. I think again if we keep getting kicks like that and we can keep evaluating it is going to make a difference for a lot of these kids. For the younger players they don't understand the speed of the game and the importance of it. They are learning quickly.
Q: The numbers don't favor him, but do you take a longer look at Dante Brown?
A: Yes, I don't know if it is a longer look. We want to get a chance to see him play and in the kicking game as well. I think we have liked what we have seen and he has made the best of his opportunities, but we still have to get an opportunity to get to see some other guys as well. It is a little crowded at that position, but I guess it is a nice problem to have.
Q: What was the reason that Dante Brown was an undrafted?
A: I think they had a younger player come in whom he split time with his senior year. He has been a productive player in college. He has shown some toughness and some speed. He has some good qualities about him.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about your top four safeties?
A: Mike Logan has had an outstanding camp. He probably has been the most productive out of all those guys. Brent Alexander has been solid. Troy Polamalu is getting better and he is getting comfortable in a lot of the different roles we have put him in. And Chris Hope played very well last week. He has picked it up. I like those four guys. Those four guys give us some depth, experience, and a lot of versatility with their coverage ability. I like the mix, it is a very solid group.
Q: Do you feel comfortable with them?
A: I feel very comfortable with them, and the depth we have there.
Q: At the beginning of camp you preached it was quality work not quantity. Have you had that with all the rain?
A: We are definitely not where we need to be at this point. I thought we had a good start to camp, but last Wednesday night was the last productive practice we had until yesterday when we practiced at Penn-Trafford. With all due respect to the high schools we would like to stay here and have a productive practice here, but we haven't been able to do that because of the weather and the conditions of the field. I think it has set us back a little bit. We had practice Wednesday night and we are in the gym Thursday and Friday and I think we played the game Saturday like that, very sporadic. The timing was off. Monday the field was not conducive to a good practice, Tuesday we had a storm for the first time in 35 years according to Dick Hoak. We had a storm that comes out of the mountains. Dick Hoak says what hits over there stays over there. It did not stay over there. We are behind and we are not where we need to be right now. With that there has to be a sense of urgency and when we have the opportunity to get out here on the field we have to make the most of it.
Q: Has the way this camp has gone maybe changed your mind about leaving the South Side for training camp?
A: No. I think we have to look at the situation with the fields. They are going to be re-done when we leave here and we understood that coming in that this would be a transition. This does not change my belief on where training camp should be held. I still believe there are so many pluses in going away and eliminating as many distractions as possible. This has been a unique year. For the twelve years I have been up here we have never had rain that we have had here. Usually the rain we have had here is north to south and the rain we have had this year is east to west. We have had over an inch of rain every time we had had it. I think it has been very unusual and it is the most rain we have had since I have been here. I don't want to change my feelings because of this one summer.
Q: Did you think about going back to the south side?
A: You can't twitch your nose and go back in time. We have to understand this is where we are at and this is the hand we are dealt. Some of the circumstances of getting on the bus and traveling 50 minutes to practice, it is distracting. That is what we are dealing with and this is where we are. We have a ways to go and a period of time to get there and we understand that.
Q: Did you give any consideration to cutting camp short or is it short enough already?
A: Not at this point. I think we are where we are and we have a short week next week. We have resources if the rain continues, but it does not look like there is any in the forecast, but I am not a weatherman.
Q: Can you coach unselfishness?
A: I think it is important that they understand that there are very proud people that want the ball and want to touch the ball. You have to be able to put the team success in front of individual wants. It is something that you talk about and they have to recognize. There are going to be opportunities for players from week to week depending on what is working. You have to be flexible. You have to have flexibility, having depth if one person goes down and another can step in and be ready to step in mentally. There may be a period of time where you may not feel you are touching it as much as you want. It is something we have to stay on top of and monitor and talk about and deal with it as things unfold.
Q: Has Troy progressed at a pace to your liking?
A: He is doing a good job. Mike Logan has had a good camp and like I have said before I like where we are with that position. We improved the speed of the position. I like the depth of it right now.
Q: How are you going to play Brian St. Pierre Saturday?
A: Probably the same as we did last Saturday. I think we want to get Charlie in there with a good group and then I think Brian will probably finish up the game.
Q: Have you noticed anything different with Mike Logan this camp?
A: He has been very decisive. He feels comfortable with the defense. He has always been a good tackler. He can cover and you know what he can do as a blitzer. He has stepped up and has not missed a day. He has made a lot of plays.
Q: Has he taken on a leadership role?
A: He is very unselfish. He is a very confident kid, too. I think the fact that he feels good about himself and he recognizes what Troy brings and is just trying to give him every little bit of experience and wisdom because he is part of our team. Troy is very receptive to those things. When you're around Troy he does not say a lot and he is just trying to get comfortable in the scheme and you know what you are going to get on Sunday.
Q: Since this game is the 60th anniversary of the Steagles do you feel comfortable being a hybrid of the two teams?
A: I guess I am a hybrid of the two teams. I played there for two years and was cut in scamp by Coach Vermeil. It was the best thing that happened to me. I was able to go get my degree. In going back there it is a great franchise and a lot like Pittsburgh. They let you know where you stand. They have a good football team and this will be a good test for us.
Q: Do you feel this game Saturday is a must win game?
A: Like I said the fans let you know where you stand. People understand it is a process. As we approach the preseason we have three objectives. The first is to create continuity in the system, within the offense getting timing and anything new that you are doing, the same thing with the defense and special teams. The second thing is we want to evaluate players as we get ready for the season and we want to find out that players are. Sometimes with the older guys you want to see if they are ready to play and if they have any diminishing skills, and the third thing is to win. That is how we prioritize the preseason. I know every preseason when you are done everybody's' record is 0-0. I think the one thing you want to have coming out of the preseason is not so much a winning record, but some continuity on all three units and a good evaluation on the football players you have on your football team.
Q: What are the differences if any between the strong safety and the free safety?
A: They are different depending on who you are playing. Responsibilities are different, we don't interchange guys like some teams do. The strong safety does a lot more covering, and is up in the box a lot more. He does more adjusting than the free safety does. There is a pretty significant difference between the two with the system we run here. The game is such that with people stretched out you have to get the best out of your strong safety. You look at a guy like Carnell Lake when he was here, he played like a corner. Mike Logan can play like a corner and Troy Polamalu can play like a corner. You can't put yourself in bad matchups where people can expose that matchup. They can create that matchup when you have a limitation back there between the two safeties. If you have a cover guy back there you don't have to worry about matchup problems.
Q: Will Jerome Bettis and Mark Bruener be your starters?
I have not decided on the units at this point.
Q: Are you looking forward to playing on the new turf at Heinz Field?
A: I am looking forward to playing on any good grass surface. I think we will all have a great appreciation for it after being up here at camp. I heard it is really great. We are really looking forward to going to Heinz Field in more ways than one.
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