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  1. #46
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    Study break; Rookie QB Dobbs eager to step in for Steelers
    August 9, 2017


    PITTSBURGH (AP) Don't get Josh Dobbs wrong. The Pittsburgh Steelers' rookie quarterback is amped to take the first snaps of his NFL career on Friday night when the AFC North champions open the preseason against the New York Giants.

    The fourth-round pick from Tennessee - who may or may not be Ben Roethlisberger's eventual replacement depending on whom you ask - wants to get in the huddle with the starters.

    He wants to hear the roar of the crowd and the sound of offensive coordinator Todd Haley's voice crackling in his headset. He wants to stand at the line of scrimmage, scan the defense, put the puzzle together and go.

    Of course there will be pressure to show the Steelers they made the right decision when they took him with the 135th overall pick, the same exact spot the Dallas Cowboys took Dak Prescott last spring. But Dobbs is well aware pressure is relative, one of the byproducts of earning a degree in aerospace engineering.

    Trying to read a defense and put the ball in the right place is one thing. Trying to figure out how to safely get people - be they pilots or passengers - from one place to another safely is another, one with considerably more significant consequences than an incomplete pass.

    ''You have a lot of lives at stake with every problem that you do,'' Dobbs said.

    So while Dobbs fully expects a range of emotions when he sprints onto the field with his No. 5 game jersey pulled tight, fear of failure won't be one of them. It's simply not part of his considerable vocabulary.

    ''I'm just anxious to compete,'' Dobbs said.

    And Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is anxious to see if Dobbs' poise and precision during the opening weeks of camp translate when it (almost) really matters.

    ''At that position, you're defined by how you perform under certain circumstances,'' Tomlin said. ''And it'll be good to get him in that stadium on Friday night and watch him in terms of putting his skills on display. This is just the first time out.

    ''I'm interested in his game day demeanor, his ability to communicate through circumstances, not only with his fellow players but with his coaches as well.''

    Dobbs won't lack for opportunities. Roethlisberger is getting the night off and primary backup Landry Jones will sit while battling an abdominal injury.

    With Bart Houston the only other active quarterback on the roster, Dobbs should play the entire first half and perhaps well into the second in what marks as the beginning of extended audition to take over whenever the 35-year-old Roethlisberger - who weighed retirement over the winter before deciding to return for a 14th season - decides to walk away.

    Not that Dobbs is ready to look that far down the road. He can't predict his own future let alone Roethlisberger's.

    So he'll just continue to bury himself in Haley's playbook and try to be ready when and if the time comes, if it does at all.

    ''I learned quickly at the college level that you never know when your time is going to come,'' Dobbs said. ''It's a peculiar position that you play. You're expected to, whether you have one rep in practice or you have 50 reps in practice to come in and play at a high level just as the starter did.''

    Dobbs made his debut at Tennessee as a true freshman in 2013 against Alabama, pressed into action when Justin Worley went down with a thumb injury. He managed just two touchdown passes in five games that year. More growing pains followed in 2014 before he took off as a junior. He set a school record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single season (12).

    The Steelers aren't as interested in Dobbs' legs so much as his right arm and his voracious appetite to learn.

    Following a whirlwind spring Dobbs spent the five weeks buried in Haley's playbook, focusing just as much on the ''why'' as the ''what'' and the ''how.''

    Now comes the fun part: seeing how quickly he can translate all that knowledge into performance. He looked pretty comfortable running a two-minute drill with the starters on Wednesday, throwing a touchdown as the clock ticked toward zero.

    ''He doesn't second-guess what he's doing,'' said rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who has quickly developed a bond with Dobbs.

    That comes later in the film room where Dobbs will grade himself out. And there is no Bell curve. There can't be. When in the huddle, his job is the same as Roethlisberger's. It's heady territory, but one Dobbs believes he can navigate.

    ''You have to own the position, own the playbook,'' Dobbs said, ''say (the play) with confidence and keep moving forward.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #47
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    Fight for LA: Rams, Chargers scuffle during joint practice
    August 10, 2017


    IRVINE, Calif. (AP) The Fight for LA finally has some punch.

    A handful of skirmishes broke out Wednesday when the Los Angeles Chargers visited the Los Angeles Rams' training camp for the teams' second joint practice in five days.

    The fights mostly arose between the Chargers' offense and the Rams' defense during a lively scrimmage.

    In the first and best scrap, Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson threw a punch at Chargers receiver Dontrelle Inman before Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman pushed Inman to the ground - and Chargers receiver Keenan Allen responded by body-slamming Robey-Coleman.

    Even veteran Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers chipped in with some trash-talking of the Rams' defenders during the workout, but Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines' bloody face was the only noticeable result of the short-lived brouhahas.

    The players and coaches left UC Irvine with the first on-field instance of bad blood between two franchises currently competing for the hearts and minds of Los Angeles' football fans after moving to town one year apart.

    ''We're definitely building a nice little rivalry with the Rams,'' Chargers running back Melvin Gordon said. ''That's what I got out of today.''

    The franchises have co-existed peacefully in the seven months since the Spanos family announced the Chargers' intention to join the Rams in Stan Kroenke's lavish Inglewood stadium complex, which will open in 2020.

    The Chargers also moved north with a bold advertising campaign built around a ''Fight for LA " slogan, and they actually released a new video from the campaign earlier Wednesday.

    That fight hadn't really materialized until the teams got together for a workout lasting more than two hours. They are holding their training camps 5 miles apart in Orange County.

    ''It's a fun experience being out here,'' Rams quarterback Jared Goff said. ''I'm sure there's a little bit of a rivalry among the fans with both LA teams now, but it was a good day today, and it was a lot of fun to see both teams' fans out here.''

    The teams also held a joint practice last weekend at StubHub Center, the Chargers' new home stadium, without anything approaching a fight.

    Everything changed in Irvine, where Johnson and Inman set off the festivities with a scrap after the whistle.

    ''He probably landed (a punch) on my helmet, which is kind of nothing,'' Inman said of Johnson. ''I think that's stupid. If you break your hand, then what? But nah, I think it got real intense.''

    Johnson, the Rams' highest-paid player, indeed threw a punch at Inman, and Robey-Coleman flattened Inman as the third man in. Johnson said the scuffle arose from Inman leaving his hand in Johnson's facemask for far too long.

    ''Where I'm from, if somebody initiates it, you're going to finish it,'' Johnson said. ''But it was a fun competition. ... I'm from Stockton, (California) and the Stockton came out in me. At the end of it, he got in my face, and I'm not going to let anybody disrespect me.''

    The intensity and feistiness likely were secretly thrilling to both coaches, who used the joint practice to shake their teams out of the preseason doldrums with their exhibition openers looming this weekend.

    Sean McVay and Anthony Lynn both expressed relief that nobody got seriously hurt in the workout.

    ''I liked the energy,'' McVay said. ''Going against another quality team is something that's going to be helpful for us going forward. ... (Fights) are a good learning opportunity for us as a team, about keeping that composure in scrimmage situations.''

    The teams won't play each other during the regular season, but they will face off in a preseason game at the Coliseum on Aug. 26.

    Neither team expects any bad feelings from this workout to linger - and most players were back to casual friendliness by the time they wrapped up this practice at dusk.

    During their first year of cohabitation, the clubs will spend their weeks about 90 miles apart on opposite ends of the sprawling Los Angeles metroplex. After their preseason showdown, the Fight for LA will be mostly an advertising slogan and a point of debate for fans.

    The Rams' faithful made their feelings known in Irvine with rude chants directed at the Chargers. Talkative Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward had a running dialogue with hecklers during one drill, but it was mostly in good fun.

    ''I just saw a lot of good competition out there,'' Lynn said. ''I didn't encourage the fighting, but I was pleased with the intensity.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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