UNITY TWP. – Isaac Redman got the call to run through the meat-grinder, also known as the first-team goal line defense.
He not only lived to tell about it, the undrafted rookie running back from Bowie State scored on all three carries.
How good is Isaac Redman?
“I don’t know. It’s a bad time to talk to me,” said Ryan Clark.
How good is Isaac Redman?
“Who’s Isaac Redman?” said James Harrison.
The back who just scored three touchdowns against the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first team defense.
“Don’t ask me no questions right now,” Harrison responded.
Chris Hoke, how good is Isaac Redman?
“He’s pretty good,” Hoke said. “But next time out we’ll probably shut him down all three times.”
Is that pride talking? Or is he a good back?
“No, he’s good, but there is some pride talking. We’ll get him. They didn’t run up the middle. They went after the edge a little bit. Up the middle, that’s where Big Casey is.”
Well, the 6-0, 230-pound Redman didn’t completely avoid the middle. Here’s the breakdown:
* His first carry was behind fullback David Johnson through right guard.
* His second run, as the single back, was blown up by Big Casey Hampton, so Redman slipped right and cut it up for the touchdown.
* On Redman’s third run, he lined up behind fullback Sean McHugh, but followed motioning wingback Frank Summers to the right side for the touchdown.
* Against the second team, Summers motioned to a wing-fullback spot but couldn’t spring Redman.
* Redman was stopped a second time, on his fifth carry, as a single back when Scott Paxson blew up the play. Redman juked a few times and nearly reached the goal line anyway.
* On the sixth carry, Redman -- with Summers motioning back to fullback – ran wide right for an easy score.
* The seventh carry was a replicate of the sixth carry.
Coach Mike Tomlin last week had wondered aloud about Redman’s conditioning, and that was the reason he scrapped his original plan Sunday of giving Redman only the first two goal-line carries.
“You saw Rashard (Mendenhall) go through it last year in the preseason,” Tomlin said. “When they get a number of carries, sometimes they lose a little ball security, some of the detail in their work. (This was done) just to evaluate him from that standpoint.”
The coach was asked why Mendenhall didn’t receive any carries.
“You can’t evaluate 33’s conditioning by using Rashard,” Tomlin said. “Rashard will get his opportunities.”
Did Redman open the coach’s eyes yet?
“Ah, you know, he’s still got a ways to go,” Tomlin said. “That’s a process. No question he represented himself pretty well today.”
For those counting, Redman scored two touchdowns against the backups in last week’s goal-line drill, and two touchdowns against the Cardinals backups Thursday in the preseason opener. With the five touchdowns Sunday, Redman just may receive a chance against the Washington first team in the next preseason game.
“It gives me a bit of a confidence boost,” Redman said. “The offensive line had some great blocks. The fullback had a great block and I basically walked in on a couple of them.”
CAPIZZI KO’s KIRSCHKE
Offensive line coach Larry Zierlein told his men before practice that he wanted to see nothing but short sets, meaning the hands had to come up quickly. Massive tackle Jason Capizzi responded with a punch to Travis Kirschke’s chest during a one-on-one drill that was so violent and sudden it buckled Kirschke’s knees as the veteran defensive lineman slumped to the ground. Kirschke didn’t practice the rest of the day with what Tomlin said was an ankle injury.
“You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” said Capizzi, who seemed unhappy about the result.
But wasn’t this a good thing for the young tackle?
“Oh, yeah. That was very good,” he said. “Everyone was like, ‘Holy cow, look what he can do.’”
It’s the third camp for the 6-9, 330-pounder from IUP, and he believes it’s by far his best.
“Everything’s going pretty good,” he said. “I feel more confident, playing right and left (tackle). Coach says ‘the more you can do,’ and I even spent a couple days at guard. I don’t know if I was the best guard, if I’m one of their last options, but the more you can do. They have me at tight end in goal line, too. I’m just trying to show them that I can go out there and push people around in the run game and protect the quarterback in the pass game.”
And knock out veteran defensive ends with one quick punch.
Along with Kirschke, Troy Polamalu left practice after his calf tightened up.
Kraig Urbik didn’t come down to the field because of a scratched cornea. Tomlin explained that the rookie guard needed to keep the eye protected for 24 hours and expects him back soon.
Also sidelined were Brandon Williams, Mewelde Moore, Tyler Grisham and Darnell Stapleton with their lingering injuries. Stapleton will begin running in a few days and will be evaluated at the end of the work week.