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Steelers' Rainey staying patient during rookie season

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By Alan Robinson
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 11:30 p.m.

Chris Rainey is learning it takes more than speed and a good scouting report to succeed in the NFL.

One of the Steelers' most-used players in the preseason — he had two punt returns for touchdowns called back by penalties against Carolina — Rainey is touching the ball an average of only five times a game. The running back expected more action but said, “I'm a rookie, man, and that's all it is. I've talked to guys that were rookies recently, and they just said, ‘You've got to be patient, man.' It's just like being a freshman (in college) again.”

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Rainey makes an impact even when he doesn't get the ball.

“It feels like when he's out there the defense is always yelling to watch the trick play and watch (No.) 22,” Roethlisberger said. “It's like they know something is going on when he's out there.”

• The Steelers' wide receivers will oppose elite cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha, often called the NFL's best this side of the injured Darrelle Revis, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who already has three interceptions for Philadelphia. According to Mike Wallace, the Eagles don't assign their corners to a certain receiver. If Wallace lines up on the left side, he'll generally be covered by Asomugha, but Rodgers-Cromartie will shadow him if he lines up on the right side. “Whatever side of the ball you go to, you're pretty much going to see that guy,” he said.

Ryan Clark is impressed how Eagles coach Andy Reid adjusts the emphasis of his offense depending on the talent he has. The Eagles once relied on possession-type receivers and the multidimensional play of running back-pass catcher Brian Westbrook but are more of a big-play team now. Brent Celek (17.5) and DeSean Jackson (16.7) have high yards-per-catch averages. “They're probably more explosive on the outside than they've ever been,” said Clark, who opposed the Eagles twice a season when he played for the Redskins and Giants. “You've got a coach who really knows how to coach offense, and does a good job — a guy they respect and who puts them in position to make plays.”

• For the first time since training camp started July 25, there are no names on the injury list. The team said all players took part in practice Wednesday, including linebacker James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert (groin) also practiced.

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