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Steelers' defensive backs look for respect

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Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ryan Clark prepares for the NFL football team's practice in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

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Carries for Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles/carries for Steelers RB Isaac Redman29/8

Chiefs turnovers (14 INTs, 15 fumbles)/Steelers turnovers (four INTs, four fumbles)

Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, 8:06 p.m.
 

Outspoken free safety Ryan Clark isn't annoyed that the Steelers' top-ranked pass defense isn't getting its due. But he's not happy about it, either.

“We've always been known as a run defense even when we're not stopping the run,” Clark said. “What gets overlooked is the pass defense. We've been No. 1 lately more than we've been No. 1 against the run.

“They don't talk about the way our corners (Ike Taylor and Keenan Lewis) have been playing. For me, it's no big deal because I have to insert myself in both the run and pass.”

The Steelers, who held the Giants' Eli Manning to his lowest total (125 yards) in four seasons, are allowing 174 passing yards per game. They were No. 1 last season, surrendering 156.

“It's frustrating because I want them to get the kind of respect they deserve,” Clark said.

Eyes on McCluster

The Steelers respect Kansas City receiver Dwayne Bowe, who leads the Chiefs with 45 receptions for 571 yards. But slot receiver Dexter McCluster got their attention in the film room.

McCluster, a 2010 second-round draft pick, has 29 catches. Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel has been frustrated because his quarterbacks have been unable to get McCluster more touches.

“I think Dexter's done a good job of developing in the slot,” Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel said. “He worked hard this offseason learning the ins and outs of the position and reading the different coverages.

“Dexter has tremendous ability with his quickness and his ability to uncover. There's also a second side of that where he's a little bit smaller, so sometimes it's challenging from a physical standpoint for him.”

— Ralph N. Paulk

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