By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger walked around the locker room with a boot on his left foot and didn’t do much during practice Wednesday, but the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback believed there was no chance that he would miss the game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field.
One concern is that over-working it this week could cause more damage,
but Roethlisberger noted that similar to last season he will wear a shoe that is one size bigger with a metal plate on the bottom to keep the foot from bending.
“Well, last year’s injury was a broken bone on the outside of my plant foot, so this one is my step-into foot,” Roethlisberger said. “I just have to deal with the pain. (But) part of the preparation is making sure I still step into the throws. I’ve dealt with pain before and played through broken bones. So, it’s just pain that you have to play through, but I’ll be fine.
“I’ll try to get as much (practice) as I can. I just took the walk-through stuff. I’ll at least try and get the mental reps, things I can see, even if I can’t go full speed. If I can just sit back there and take snaps and see the picture, that helps me a lot. Film study and making sure I’m mentally ready will be just as important in my preparation this week.”
Ward Isn’t Desperate YET
“I think it’s more of a sense of urgency,” Ward said. “We can’t think that we can just show up and beat teams because we’re the Pittsburgh Steelers. … We have to keep putting in a lot of hard work, and it’s all about executing.
“And we have to get all 11 guys on offense on the same page. We haven’t had that. We did that against teams that we were supposed to beat, but against teams that are good we haven’t had all the guys on the same page.”
Ward had one catch for 19 yards at Houston, but not because he wasn’t open.
“I’m in the right spots that I need to be,” Ward said. “I can’t tell someone or dictate where that ball goes. That’s out of my control, but I know I’m in the right spots. And if my number is called, I have to be there and make plays. But it’s not about me. You guys can (say) Hines is not doing this or statistically or whatever, the coaches and I know that I’m in the right spots that I need to be.
“And when I get my number called, I need to make plays. And I can’t get frustrated to a point where it starts to affect my play on the field. That hasn’t happened, so we continue to work hard and stay positive. I’ve never been a negative person where it’s all about me. I’m all about the team first, and if I’m not getting the ball then I have to do something in the run game.”
Ward added that as long as he can help the Steelers move the ball downfield, he’s doing his part in a game.
“Whatever it takes to win ball games,” Ward said. “(But) it’s just a matter of execution, and some guys are trying to do too much. They try to help others, but you end up hurting yourself. So, each guy can only worry about what he can control. You can’t control what the guy next to you does. If you try to make an over-and-beyond spectacular play, you can end up hurting your team.
“So, you can’t do that. We’ve just got to execute the game plan and do the best that we can. (And) I’m saying the whole team. Obviously, we’re not getting it right, because we’re not playing good football. I’m not saying offense or defense. I’m saying the whole team, special teams included. We’re all in it together and need to play better.
“The coaches included,” Ward added, “because they need to put guys in spots so we can go out there and make plays. James (Harrison) can call out the defense if he wants, but I’m speaking about the whole team. We all need to play better, and we’ve got a big test this week against Tennessee.”
Steelers right offensive guard Doug Legursky practiced Wednesday and said his left shoulder is much better this week after missing his first game since high school due to an injury.
“I’ve tested it in the weight room a little, going through therapy,” Legursky said. “We’ll get a good feel for it after (practice) and how I feel (Thursday), but … I’m going to play. If I’m able to pass through it without more injury to myself. Pain’s not an issue. It’s the possibility of injuring it more. That’s it.”
While Legursky should return this week at right guard, left guard Chris Kemoeatu (left knee) was limping around the locker room and did not practice Wednesday. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Ramon Foster, who started for him against Seattle.
The Steelers had a large group that did not practice Wednesday, including CB Cortez Allen (ankle), NT Casey Hampton (shoulder), OLB James Harrison (eye), RBs Rashard Mendenhall (hamstring) and Mewelde Moore (ankle), DE Aaron Smith (foot), OLB Jason Worilds (quadriceps) and Ward (day off).
Harrison had surgery and will be out at least a couple weeks. Moore and Smith had boots on their injured feet and will not play, either. Worilds is doubtful as well, but Mendenhall is just questionable. After missing two weeks with a knee injury, DE Brett Keisel returned to practice and expected to start Sunday.
The Tennessee Titans are much healthier than the Steelers, as safety Chris Hope (broken forearm) is the only player already ruled out. Kick-returner Marc Mariani (hip) and TE Craig Stevens (ribs) did not practice, while safety Michael Griffin (illness) was limited. And LB Gerald McRath (knee) went through a full practice.