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Steelers notebook: Defense preparing to see Manziel

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By Alan Robinson
Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, 9:03 p.m.
 

How much Johnny Manziel will the Steelers see?

They aren't about to predict, although they anticipate him getting on the field because of his ability to run or throw.

“(He) has a lot of things other quarterbacks don't have,” Ryan Shazier said.

But fellow rookie Stephon Tuitt didn't seem quite as impressed.

“He's talented — for what he has,” Tuitt said.

Added Cam Heyward: “We don't want to treat him like he's all-world.”

• Browns coach Mike Pettine was married during his two seasons as a Pitt graduate assistant under Johnny Majors in 1993-94, and his first child was born at Magee-Womens Hospital. That Pitt connection helped him get his first NFL job eight years later with the Ravens under former Panthers quarterback Matt Cavanaugh. “I loved it (in Pittsburgh),” Pettine said Wednesday on a conference call. “I totally enjoyed the experience.”

• Wide receivers Martavis Bryant (shoulder) and Lance Moore (groin) missed practice. Bryant might not play Sunday. Taking part in a limited role was cornerback Brice McCain (groin). Linebacker Sean Spence, who bruised his posterior cruciate ligament in a preseason game, was a full participant, along with tight end Matt Spaeth (hamstring) and long snapper Greg Warren (knee).

Ben Roethlisberger on the false Sidney Crosby arrest report: “People can make up what they want, say whatever they want, and it's unfortunate. That's why I don't tweet or Facebook or all that other stuff.”

• Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones had only one sack as a rookie, so he is hoping to get his first of 2014 out of the way in a hurry. “I'm not thinking as much. I'm flying around, trying to make plays and execute,” he said. “It would be great to do that (get a sack), get on a roll, gets your defense going, start off right.”

Brian Hoyer spent time talking with defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau during the three weeks he spent with the Steelers in 2012. “When they released me and I was walking out, he said, ‘It was great to have you here. If I can ever help you with anything, you let me know,' '' Hoyer said on a conference call. “I don't know if that offer is still on the table now that I am the Browns quarterback.”

• The Steelers' offense isn't where it wants to be. Even Roethlisberger says so. Many offenses don't find a groove until midseason, receiver Lance Moore said. What Roethlisberger wants is for theLe'Veon Bell/LeGarrette Blount running game to mesh with the Antonio Brown/Heath Miller/Markus Wheaton passing game as quickly as possible. “The more you can mix it up or change things up, whether that's tempo or personnel, that's to our advantage,” Roethglisberger said Wednesday.

The Steelers' starting offense didn't play the equivalent of a full game during the preseason, too little time for a quarterback to get locked into all of his receivers.

“There are still question marks,” Roethlisberger said. “We're still trying to figure out our identity and who we are going to be and what we are going to be. The good thing is it's not Week 8 and we're trying to find out.”

Because former Ravens-Jets-Bills assistant Pettine coaches the Browns, Roethlisberger expects to see a defense that is “Baltimore-esque ... a lot of mixing defenses up to try to confuse us on offense.”

Pouncey ready

Three-time Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey called it “boring” to miss all but eight plays last season. He knows it won't be boring Sunday, when he hopes to play his first full game in 20 months. He hasn't worried about his recovery from major knee surgery since the first day of offseason workouts. “I was blocking (Ryan Shazier) pretty good, and he pulled me down on the ground with my jersey. I rolled forward, and I said, ‘Wow, there it is,' '' Pouncey said. “I didn't even think about it any more.” Except to tell Shazier not to do it again.

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