Steelers notebook: Gilbert, Adams listed as questionable for Bills game
•Offensive tackles Marcus Gilbert (ankle) and Mike Adams (ribs) are listed as questionable against Buffalo on Sunday at Heinz Field. Tackle Kelvin Beachum (knee) and guard David DeCastro (ankle) are probable, along with defensive end Cam Heyward (knee), tight end Heath Miller (not injury related), cornerback Ike Taylor (concussion), center Fernando Velasco (thigh), wide receiver Markus Wheaton (finger) and linebacker Vince Williams (concussion). Williams, who suffered a concussion at New England, was a full participant in practice for the first time this week. Adams sat out practice while Gilbert and Beachum saw limited duty on Friday.
•Safety Troy Polamalu describe the Buffalo offense as the “flavor of the week.” He expects the Bills to attack the Steelers' defense differently with rookie quarterback EJ Manuel back behind center. “Anytime you have someone who can run and pass, it gives them flexibility with their play calling,” Polamalu said. “We have to be aware of him scrambling.” Polamalu said the Steelers defense has to deliver an early message to Manuel, who is listed as probable. “As a team, we have to get off to a good start,” he said. “If they want to beat us, they have to control the ball. If they establish the running game, it'll be a tough game for us.”
•Wide receiver Antonio Brown watched video of the Steelers-Buffalo preseason game from 2012 at his locker in an effort to find a weakness in the Bills' pass coverage. The Bills have made a few personnel changes, but the coverage schemes are the same. So far this year they have been somewhat vulnerable to the deep ball. “We have to capitalize when we try to go downfield,” said Brown, who leads the team with 61 receptions. “For the most part, they are doing similar things we are used to seeing. I think we'll have some opportunities to make plays.”
•Buffalo's first-year coach Doug Marrone said the Steelers' 5-foot-9 rookie safety Shamarko Thomas turned his lack of size into an advantage while playing for him at Syracuse. “He's one of the best strikers or hitters that I've been around,” Marrone said. “He's so strong and he can jump —he uses (his size) to motivate himself.”
•Linebacker Jarvis Jones is feeling somewhat anxious midway through his rookie season. The expectations were he would improve the pass rush, but the Steelers have only 13 sacks. ”I've been sitting around too long not being productive.” he said. “I've got to make something happen. Hopefully, this week I can make a big play to give us the winning edge.” Jones has yet to register a sack and has only four quarterback pressures.
• Linebacker Jason Worilds is familiar with Buffalo running back C.J. Spiller's work. They faced each other a couple times while in college. Spiller, once a Heisman Trophy candidate, gives the Bills a solid 1-2 threat along with Fred Jackson. “Spiller is a home run player,” said Worilds, who twice sacked Tom Brady. “I played him in college, so I have some background on him. Fred Jackson is tough after contact. It's going to be an interesting challenge for us. Spiller is a more complete player than he used to be. He's added things to his arsenal, but he still has that burst.”
— Ralph N. Paulk