Steelers offense dusts off no-huddle attack
After a significant decrease in employing the no-huddle offense last year, the Steelers may dust it off against Atlanta on Saturday — to the delight of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
"I love it, and so do the wide receivers," Roethlisberger said. "I like the change of pace. I like the up-tempo, and it's hard for the defense to substitute."
The Steelers ran the offense much more frequently two years ago compared to last year. That was because of young receivers such as Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, along with having a lot of new starting offensive linemen, including rookie center Maurkice Pouncey.
With the receivers more acclimated to the offense and Pouncey emerging as a Pro Bowler, the return of the no-huddle could be a regular part of the game plan.
Roethlisberger said he would like to see the offense pick up where it left off in last week's 24-14 victory over the Eagles, with the added wrinkle of the no-huddle.
"We want to establish ourselves and what we want to do," Roethlisberger said. "We may go some no-huddle, and if we do that then I would like to execute that well."
» Steelers coach Mike Tomlin would only rule out cornerback Ike Taylor for Saturday's game. He is still recovering from a broken thumb. cornerback Cortez Allen (hamstring), cornerback Bryant McFadden (hamstring), wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring), wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (foot) and left tackle Jonathan Scott (knee) are listed as questionable.
"Anybody else other than those names should consider themselves in and be ready to rock and roll," Tomlin said.
» Tomlin said that the starters are going to play at least a half of football "and go from there." Tomlin also said he will have the first units play a series in the second half, "then we will play it by ear from there."
» The Steelers will have trim the roster from 90 to 75 by Tuesday. They likely will make the moves Sunday. A lot of players won't have an opportunity to show the coaches what they can do during Saturday's preseason game, with the starters expected to take up a good bit of the snaps. But if certain players do survive the first cut, they will play a lot during Thursday's final preseason game at Carolina.
"It is tough, because those guys don't get to play a lot and if you make it through this week then you get all the reps," safety Ryan Clark said. "The advice I have is to soak up every moment and take advantage of every moment. If you have an opportunity to run down on special teams, then you do that 100 percent."
» Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel visited the Steelers' facility Thursday and watched practice. Tressel was a guest of director of football operations Kevin Colbert.
» Rookie running back Baron Batch is no longer using crutches one week after undergoing ACL surgery. Batch is still on the active roster, but he likely will be placed on injured reserve this weekend.