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Steelers notebook: Mitchell says secondary rounding into form

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Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, 9:15 p.m.

• Safety Mike Mitchell believes the defensive backs made significant improvement throughout the three-week camp. “We try to push harder to get better every single day,” he said. “I know in our secondary unit we haven't taken a step back, every single guy in our unit. … It's cool to see how the younger guys have developed.”

• If the Browns start Johnny Manziel at quarterback in the Sept. 7 opener at Heinz Field, this stat will come into play: The Steelers are an NFL-best 17-2 against rookie quarterbacks since Dick LeBeau returned as defensive coordinator in 2004.

• The Steelers won't make their first roster cut until after the third preseason game Thursday at Philadelphia. “I'm just looking at who are the best 53 for us,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “I haven't broken it down positionally. We have a lot of ball left in front of us. … We are going to let it continue to play out.”

• Tackle Mike Adams had no trouble adjusting to the NFL as a run blocker two years ago, but he's still learning the art of pass blocking. Offensive line coach Mike Munchak said it isn't easy. “The passing game is always harder for offensive linemen, especially tackles, just because of the speed of the game and because defenses are so specialized.”

• With the starters likely playing the first quarter Saturday against Buffalo, tight end Heath Miller hopes for more red-zone opportunities. The Steelers were 0 for 2 in those situations against the Giants, and 2 of 14 on third down. “We need to be better in the red zone,” Miller said. “That's certainly a trend we don't want to start, not finishing off our drives.”

— Alan Robinson

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