Steelers notebook: Velasco to start at center
Newly acquired center Fernando Velasco picked up the offense enough throughout the week to get the start for the injured Maurkice Pouncey against Cincinnati on Monday.
However, Velasco will get help making the calls (identifying the middle linebacker) at the line of scrimmage from guards Ramon Foster and David DeCastro.
“We are on top of that,” Foster said. “I know it a little bit better than Fernando, and David is re-assuring it. If Ben (Roethlisberger) needs to, he can righty or lefty us to where we are going.”
Velasco's taking over the center spot allows Kelvin Beachum to move back to tight end — and a de facto sixth lineman.
The Steelers used Beachum in that role last week until Pouncey's injury forced Beachum to play center. The Steelers managed only 32 yards rushing.
“My goal right now is just to go out there and learn the playbook and stay on top of things and be ready if my number is called,” Velasco said.
Allen ruled out
The Steelers ruled out cornerback Cortez Allen (ankle) for Monday's game.
Allen injured his ankle during last week's opener against Tennessee and did not practice this week. He will be replaced by veteran William Gay at corner and rookie Shamarko Thomas when the Steelers go to their nickel package.
The Steelers also ruled out tight end Heath Miller and running back Le'Veon Bell and listed cornerback Curtis Brown (illness) as doubtful.
Jarvis is ready
Rookie first-round pick Jarvis Jones played only 30 snaps in his professional debut. That number figures to increase significantly against the Bengals.
Jones will start at right outside linebacker and get most of the snaps instead of veteran Jason Worilds.
“I am ready for it,” Jones said. “It's all mental. You have to go with the flow. These guys plays 60 snaps out there, so they have to trust me to do it.”
Kirby not happy
Running backs coach Kirby Wilson is a firm believer in two things: ball security and blocking.
His unit failed at both during last week's opener against Tennessee. Isaac Redman fumbled twice, and 3 1⁄2 of the Steelers five sacks were because of missed blocks by running backs.
“You practice ball security the most and blocking the second-most,” Wilson said. “We failed in both of those areas, and it was very disappointing.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Spaeth on baby watch
- Steelers defensive end Tuitt shifts into high gear
- Steelers’ Mitchell taking cautious approach about dealing with injuries
- Inside the Steelers: Wide array of receiving options shine
- Steelers’ Harrison awaits go-ahead from Tomlin before practicing
- Slot cornerback Boykin should give Steelers options in secondary
- After early criticism, Haley has Steelers offense poised to be even better
- Inside the Steelers: Williams’ quickness out of backfield evident in drills
- Inside the Steelers: Roethlisberger strong in goal-line drills
- Ability to clog the trenches crucial to Steelers defense
- Steelers notebook: WR Bryant sidelined after minor procedure on right elbow