Steelers notebook: Receiver Brown expects more attention
• With receiver Antonio Brown coming off a 196-yard game against the Bears, he expects to face more Cover 2 schemes. To Ben Roethlisberger, that means Brown must pay extra attention to details. “He has to understand people are going to watch him more,” the quarterback said. “He has to let it come to him. Maybe he gets 80-something yards in the fourth quarter. He has to make sure he stays patient, humble and keeps working hard.”
• The Steelers arrived in London about 8 a.m. local time Friday, with a half-dozen players attending a late-morning news conference. A midafternoon practice was held on the grounds of the London Wasps professional rugby team.
• Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson struggled with his math skills when asked what it means when a pair of 0-3 teams meet. “It's either going to be 1-4 or 0-4,” he told the Pioneer Press.
• The last 0-3 team to make the playoffs was the 1998 Buffalo Bills. Of the 161 teams that started 0-3 since 1978, the first year a 16-game schedule was played, only five recovered to make the playoffs.
• Roethlisberger would hate playing regular games in London, as some divisional opponents might have to do each season if the city someday gains an NFL franchise. But he wouldn't mind playing a regular-season game in Ireland, where Steelers chairman Dan Rooney recently served as the U.S. ambassador. He said, “I'd go to Ireland because of Mr. Rooney.”
• Rebuilding? The Steelers? Asked if the Steelers would consider this to be a rebuilding season if they lose and drop to 0-4, LaMarr Woodley said, “We're never in a rebuilding year. We've still got a lot of football left. I'm not thinking about going into the bye week 0-4 or any of that stuff.”
• London's underground railway system stops already are plastered with signs promoting Penn State's game against Central Florida next season.
• Right guard David DeCastro said he and left guard Ramon Foster are helping newly signed center Fernando Velasco with the offensive line play-calling responsibilities now that Maurkice Pouncey is out for the season. “Pouncey was all Pouncey, we listen to him,” DeCastro said. “Now it's all three of us listening to each other, making sure we're on the same page.”
• The Steelers haven't faced NFL rushing champion Adrian Peterson since holding him to 69 yards in 2009, and they seem to be glad they haven't. “He's the greatest running back in the NFL, no doubt,” defensive end Brett Keisel said. “He's an interesting character. He can beat you with speed, he can beat you with jump cuts, he can run you over. It's going to take 11 men, but we pride ourselves on stopping the run.” The Steelers permitted only two 100-yard games last season, when Peterson came off knee surgery to gain 2,097 yards. “He runs with an attitude,” Ike Taylor said. “You can tell coming off ACL surgery, he almost set an NFL record. His mindset and intensity, we've got to match it.”
• There are two zeros the Steelers (0-3) are eager to erase Sunday: for wins and takeaways. They are the only NFL team that hasn't forced a turnover; the Bears, by contrast, already have forced 11. Since 2011, the Steelers are a whopping minus-32 in giveaways/takeaways. “Last weekend I was watching football and there were turnovers everywhere,” Keisel said. “It's just one of those things. We feel and we believe they're going to come and, hopefully, when they come, they'll come in bunches.” Keisel added, “Turnovers have been a huge point of emphasis for a year now. We've got to start doing that.”
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