Steelers notebook: RB Jones gets more work with first unit
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley isn't ready to divide up the number of carries he expects out of each of his running backs for Monday's game against Cincinnati. But he is working toward having all three available, including Felix Jones.
Jones worked extensively with the top unit Thursday in order to get up to speed with the playbook so he can contribute against the Bengals, something he didn't do against the Titans.
“I am trying to get the plays down and learn the situation and be ready for those,” Jones said. “If you continue to rep and rep, your body gets used to it. It is the best thing to get to learn, and that's what I am doing.”
Brown off to good start
Antonio Brown's first game as a No. 1 receiver turned out pretty well. He caught 5 passes for 71 yards and was targeted six times with a little more attention than he's used to seeing.
“Sometimes they were keeping a guy over the top or a guy underneath,” Brown said. “That's where I have to be better in reacting what I am seeing. Those are things you have to deal with.”
DeCastro better prepared
If there's a theme in the Steelers' meeting rooms this week, it's this: Beware the pass rush.
The Bengals had a team-high 51 sacks last season (the Steelers had 37), and G David DeCastro gave up two to Bengals DT Geno Atkins in only his second career start Dec. 23. DeCastro believes he is much better equipped this time to go against one of the NFL's top pass rushers, and, no doubt, he'll get some help.
“(I) get another shot. ... That's the thing about football; it's a new game every week whether you play good or bad,” DeCastro said. “I'm more comfortable now.”
DeCastro didn't allow a sack against Tennessee last week.
Taylor respects Harrison
Former Steelers linebacker James Harrison likely won't return to his All-Pro level with Bengals. But to Ike Taylor, who was Harrison's teammate for nine seasons, believes that Harrison provides the intangibles that the Bengals need.
“Just having that presence, that physical presence — that silverback presence like when you are in the jungle and see that silverback on the Animal Planet — that's pretty big dude. Not too many people play with him, not even humans. That kind of presence.”
Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is confident in Kion Wilson's ability to replace the injured Larry Foote at inside linebacker but said that rookie Vince Williams will see some time — mostly on special teams.
“I've been pleased with those two young guys and the way they've played throughout the preseason,” LeBeau said.
Lewis likes Steelers' methods
Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis is from McDonald, Pa., coached at Pitt and with the Steelers. So it's no surprise that he looked to the Steelers model on how to run a successful franchise.
“We're really trying to follow the trend of the successful teams within our division, and they've done the same,” Lewis said. “I think that's important that you do that, that we continue to draft good, young players and develop and hope to try to re-sign them when we can.”
Allen sits out
Cornerback Cortez Allen sat out of practice for the second day with a sprained ankle, and running back Le'Veon Bell (foot) and cornerback Curtis Brown (illness) also missed. Nose tackle Steve McLendon (hamstring), tight end Heath Miller (knee) and kicker Shaun Suisham (hamstring) were limited.
High prices for beer
It's a tradition for many at a Steelers game: head to the concession stand, hand over a $20 bill for a couple of beers then enjoy the game.
But this season, a fan will get only small change in return. With 16-ounce brews costing as much as $9, Steelers game day beer prices are the third highest in the NFL, averaging 50 cents per ounce, according to Team Marketing Report.
Only the Lions (67 cents) and Cowboys (53 cents) are higher. That's the equivalent of $64 for a gallon of beer.