Steelers Day 2 minicamp notes

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers continued their full-squad, mandatory minicamp Saturday to kick off the 2009 football season.

Here are some notes and observations from Day 2:

  • I'm pleasantly surprised with the way second-year quarterback Dennis Dixon is throwing the football this weekend. In the four practices the past two days, Dixon's ball has been a tight spiral more often than not and his accuracy has been solid. Saturday Dixon placed a ball over the middle through three defenders to hit receiver Brandon Williams in one of the best throws of minicamp thus far.

  • Linebacker Lawrence Timmons looks ready for a breakout year. He's always been one of the best athletes on the team. But in his third year it looks like he "gets it," in terms of his assignments and Pittsburgh's complicated defensive scheme. Timmons has looked fluid and confident all weekend. He also has little wasted motion when getting to his spots and chasing the ball carriers.

  • Veteran cornerback Keiwan Ratliff believes he can contribute in Pittsburgh this year. Ratliff was with the Indianapolis Colts last season and played a lot of Cover 2 defense, which is a strong point of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. Ratliff says knowing the coverage scheme well will help the transition with his new team.

  • It what seems to be a daily occurrence at Steelers camp, the funny play for Saturday involved nose tackle Chris Hoke. At 6 feet, 2 inches tall, weighing 302 pounds, Hoke was caught covering speedy, 5-feet-7 scat back Stephan Logan in the flat. The quarterback read the play correctly and quickly threw the ball to Logan, who put a juke move on Hoke that nearly caused him to completely flip over himself. The team went nuts and even congratulated Hoke for selling out and trying to make the play, despite the obvious mismatch.

  • Receiver Dallas Baker once again flashed some potential Saturday. Baker made four quality catches in the second practice, many of them in traffic, to complete a good day of work. Baker has quietly made plays in camp for the Steelers the past few seasons. This year he is competing again for one of the final roster spots at receiver.