Notebook: CB Williams downgraded

Notebook: CB Williams downgraded

PITTSBURGH – Willie Williams slipped and gave up a touchdown in the Steelers' last game that counted, and Williams did it again in the Steelers' last preseason game.

Those plays didn't open the door for Ike Taylor to take over the left cornerback position, but Williams's groin injury this week just might.

Williams appeared on the injury list Thursday as probable, but was downgraded to questionable Friday.

Taylor is next in line, just ahead of Ricardo Colclough, and he has been waiting patiently throughout his third and best training camp. Taylor soft-pedaled his feelings when asked this week about cracking the lineup.

"I'm content right now," he said. "My goal is to start, but that's up to the coaches."

Taylor, of course, is a New Orleans native and his mind has been preoccupied with his family this week.

"Everybody made it out safe," he said of Hurricane Katrina. "There were 30 or 40 people and their places are gone. They have to start all over.

"My uncles and my aunts, they're pretty close-knit. Everybody's working together; nobody panicked. Everybody just stuck to a plan and they all had the same game plan. To be honest with you they made it easier for me because every time I kept calling they were like ‘We're straight; don't worry about us.'

"I don't like talking about it. I was watching CNN and a guy said he had to let his wife go to hold onto his two kids. After that, I couldn't watch any more."

Taylor's family evacuated New Orleans for Baton Rouge two days before the storm hit.

"My aunt and my uncle had that gut feeling so everybody just left," he said. "That saved their life. They lost everything else. They have to start all over. That's how it goes."

EASY LIKE SUNDAY MORNING

Willie Parker will make his first NFL start at halfback today for the Steelers, but he expects the Tennessee Titans to have a full scouting report on him, thanks to former college teammate Michael Waddell.

"He had to do a speech on me, but he didn't tell me what he said," Parker said. "He played with me in college and he's pretty fast. That's the one I used to race all the time. I'm faster. He says he is. We're about even actually. But he's a speedster. He played defense, a cornerback. He'll be on the field and he said their defense will be watching me."

Parker has been mobbed by reporters all week and pestered by family members.

"They're the same way like the media. I said, Oh my God, leave me alone. They ask for a lot of stuff, but I know they really care about what's best for me."

On Parker's last carry, he went 51 yards in the third preseason game. Does he have any bold predictions for today's game?

"Nah. No bold predictions. That ain't the way I roll. I've just got to go out there and play. Whatever happens happens."

TOP PICK READY

For the first time in four preseason games, first-round draft pick Heath Miller showed more than solid blocking and soft hands. He flashed speed and agility on a 29-yard catch, cut, hurdle and run against the Carolina Panthers.

"It gives you a little confidence that you're able to make a play; hopefully I'll make more," said Miller, who caught four passes for 46 yards this preseason.

Miller is still the second-team tight end behind Jerame Tuman, but rumors that the team will unveil the 6-foot-5 rookie today have been sweeping through Pittsburgh all week. Are the Steelers ready to "take the wraps off" Miller?

"As it will be every week, we're going to take what the defense gives us," Miller said. "The defense will dictate where we're going to go with the football."

It's what his coaches have said all summer.

"I feel a lot more comfortable with the offense at this point than I did coming into training camp, and I'm ready to roll this Sunday," Miller said.

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