Latest Steelers Buzz

Wednesday Practice Notebook: Offense focusing on slowing down Freeney and Mathis

By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers left offensive tackle Jonathan Scott might have the toughest role when his club faces the Indianapolis Colts Sunday night at 8:20 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indiana, because the sixth-year pro faces Colts pass-rushing demon Dwight Freeney.
The Colts also have veteran Robert Mathis at the other end spot, so Steelers rookie right tackle Marcus Gilbert also should have his hands full.
“They’re good pass-rushers, but the positive thing about it is that we also have two guys of that caliber to practice against every day and get better every day,” Scott said. “So, that eases some anxiety for getting ready for the game and knowing what to expect.”
That’s a good thing for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, because Scott is guarding his blind side.
“(Freeney and Mathis) are disruptive,” Roethlisberger said. “They have speed, spin moves, (and) they’re built for that turf. With the crowd noise, you have to use silent counts and stuff like that. They can get off the ball. They’re basically like linebackers that are big and strong. They’re so fast, so it’s such a huge challenge for these guys this week.

“So, you have to make sure you spend some time with tight ends chipping and helping everybody out. (The dome) is always an advantage for the home team, because it’s always a little bit louder, especially in the old dome when they pumped in the noise. I probably shouldn’t have said that out loud, but then it was louder. I don’t know, because I haven’t played in this one yet.
“But I’m sure it will be loud and everybody will be jacked up because it’s Sunday Night Football and it’s us,” Roethlisberger added. “And it always is, so it’s definitely an advantage for them. (But) I have good faith in my tackles and our tight ends, whoever is on them. Those ends are going to win some, but we’re going to win some, too. And it comes down to having faith in those guys.”
Scott played against Freeney once before at Indianapolis, when the Colts previously played in the RCA Dome when the offensive lineman played for Detroit in 2007. And how did he do?
“We won, so good, I guess,” Scott said. Scott has been hobbled a bit by a sore right knee from a preseason injury, but said it’s something he just has to deal with for a while this season.”
Mirror Images
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said that second-year player Jason Worilds will play Freeney, while rookie Chris Carter will be Mathis for the Steelers scout team this week. And for Carter, it’s a blessing, because his hamstring is finally healthy.
“For me, it’s all about going out there and giving our team the best look I can to make sure that they’re ready for Mathis,” Carter said. “I definitely appreciate the role, and any time you get an opportunity to get out there to help the team you have to feel that way. And at the end of the day, I have a chance to help us get better, and that’s a good thing.
“But I’m just glad I’m finally healthy enough to make a contribution, but I owe that to our training staff. They’ve done a great job helping me get back. I got close last week, but I’m ready to go out there and give my all to help us get better and hopefully be successful this Sunday.”
Juicy Should Be Back
After missing last week’s game with a swollen left knee, starting left offensive guard Chris Kemoeatu wasn’t even on the injury list Wednesday and expected to play against the Colts Sunday night. If not, then Ramon Foster is ready.
“That’s the same mind-set I have right now,” Foster said. “If either Chris or Doug goes down, I just have to be ready for it. That happens in football, but our O-line is like musical chairs at times anyway. So, you’ve just got to be ready. And it helped me getting all those practice reps to get ready for Seattle.
“The way I look at it, you’ve got to hold your head high and take the high road about it. So, I hope to continue to work and hopefully, some good will come out of it. You never know, but you have to keep the faith and go out every day with a positive attitude and just do your job. So, that’s the way I look at it.”
Foster had a solid performance last week for Kemoeatu, and he had a huge triple-block on Isaac Redman’s 20-yard touchdown run. He knocked down his guy and then pulled to take out two others.
“I thought I was just doing my job, but after the game I saw on my cell phone that I had a lot of text messages, and my Twitter account blew up,” Foster said. “So, that’s when I knew about it, but I just tried to do my job. I am glad that Redman scored on that play to make it look even sweeter.”
Casey’s Call
“Actually, they didn’t call it,” Hampton said. “They picked the flag up. Look here, man, that chop-blocking stuff, we got beat. So, I’m not going to sit here and cry over spilt milk. We got beat. I’m not going to sit here and be bitchin’ and say that they did this and they did that. I’m just not going to do it. You’re never going to hear me bitch about nothing, man. We just got beat.
“We got beat, and that stuff was a non-factor in us losing that game. So, the only thing I’m trying to correct is why we lost the game, so all that other stuff doesn’t matter. (But) you have to be aware of it, because a lot of guys are doing it and they’ll keep doing it if it’s not called.”
Does Hampton appreciate playing a quarterback like Kerry Collins as opposed to Peyton Manning, who stands at the line and changes every call, re-aligns his blockers and generally looks pretty silly pointing and waving each time.
“Do you really know he’s directing guys and getting guys lined up?” Hampton said. “I don’t. I think he does half of that stuff for show. I really don’t know what he’s doing, but when the ball’s snapped it’s snapped. That’s when it matters.”
Walking Wounded
Inside linebacker James Farrior, defensive end Aaron Smith and wideout Hines Ward all sat out practice Wednesday, but are not injured. Defensive end Brett Keisel (left knee) was the lone injured player to miss practice.
Running back Jonathan Dwyer (left shoulder) and center Maurkice Pouncey (hamstring) worked out on a limited basis. Wideout Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring) got through a full practice for the first time since he arrived at training camp. Cotchery said he felt good before the season-opener at Baltimore, but re-injured the hamstring that week.

About The Author

Dale Grdnic

TIOPS Steelers Beat Writer

Dale Grdnic is a contributor to Inside Pittsburgh Sports, covering the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Football. Dale has covered the Pittsburgh Sports scene for over 15 years with various publications

Comments Disabled

Comments have been disabled for this post.