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mesaSteeler
09-27-2010, 11:03 PM
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_701530.html#

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Steelers' play reminiscent of '08 champs

By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The beard defensive end Brett Keisel has been growing since June is more than just an affront to razors everywhere.

It is also a barometer of success, as Keisel has vowed not to shave until the Steelers lose, apparently with, if not the blessing, at least permission from his wife, Sarah.

"She doesn't say she dislikes it, so it's good," Keisel said with a smile. "I've had a lot of good responses to it and it's something fun. Hopefully, this can get us into the playoffs again and the Super Bowl."

The Steelers have the early look of a Super Bowl contender, with the emphasis on early. And it has much more to do with the beard in which diminutive special teams ace Anthony Madison might be able to hide.

The defense is playing at the level it did in 2008 when it carried the Steelers to a Super Bowl. And wide receiver Hines Ward said what generally went unsaid after the Steelers trounced the Buccaneers, 38-13, to improve to 3-0: Just wait until quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returns from his four-game suspension.

"I know Ben is itching to get back to be here with us," Ward said.

The offense with Roethlisberger should be more potent than the one he directed in 2008. The running game with feature back Rashard Mendenhall is much better than it was two seasons ago. The offensive line has also made strides and should only improve as rookie center Maurkice Pouncey continues to grow.

The Steelers' offense actually has the potential to complement the defense, something it did not do consistently in 2008.

Maybe that is why Keisel smiled as he rubbed his beard.

"Three months more," he said, "it should be real nice."

Quotable

Outside linebacker James Harrison, on the team starting 3-0 without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

"Just because Ben isn't there, he is not the whole team. He is a big part of this team, no question, but he is not the whole team. He is not going to determine if we win or lose the game. It may be something that is a contributing factor, but the next guy in line is just a starter in waiting, and that's how we look at everybody."

Offensive tackle Max Starks, on the Steelers' running backs

"I think having a Rashard (Mendenhall), having an Isaac Redman, having a Mewelde Moore, all three of them make us a better offensive line because all three of them have different styles, and defenses hate to combat that. If we continue to do our job -- whoever's back there -- they're going to make the right read"

Defensive end Aaron Smith, on the unit that has dominated its first three opponents

"Our mentality is to go out there and pitch shutouts. That's our mentality, and that's just the way it's going to be for the whole season."

3 players to watch

Rashard Mendenhall, RB.

Third-year back is averaging 5.2 yards per carry this season but has rushed for just 3.2 yards per carry in three career games against the Ravens.

Joe Flacco, QB.

Flacco has completed 51 percent of his passes with more INTs (six) than TDs (four) in five career games against the Steelers.

Anquan Boldin, WR

The fastest player in NFL history to 600 career catches, Boldin reeled in 3 TDs in Ravens win against the Browns.

Digits

20.5 -- Yards wide receiver Mike Wallace is averaging per catch for his career

26 -- Consecutive games the Steelers have won when they have rushed for at least 200 yards

89 -- Combined rushing yards of the three backs that have started against the Steelers

176 -- Projected tackles for inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons this season

406 -- Games the Steelers have won since 1970; the Cowboys are the only other team that have won 400 games since the AFL-NFL merger.

3 questions with Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden

Q: As a Florida State alum, what did you think of the way Bobby Bowden's coaching career there ended?

A: "Everybody was kind of disappointed that he left, how it happened. I would have liked to see him do one more year. He's like our modern-day Paul 'Bear' Bryant as far as the legacy he has and will continue to have. Only him and Joe Paterno will probably be the two coaches with those amount of victories. That way it is now, most coaches don't stay with a university that long."

Q: If you could have one superhero quality, what would it be?

A: "To be invisible, so I can always see and hear whatever I want to, whatever somebody's saying about me and knowing what's going on."

Q: If you have to pick one of your teammates to marry your sister, who would it be?

A: "I'd probably say (punter) Danny Sepulveda. He's a saint. He's easygoing, and he and Troy (Polamalu) have the same similarities as far as personality."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

SoCalFan
09-27-2010, 11:04 PM
I agree,nice article!!!

lionslicer
09-27-2010, 11:29 PM
176 tackles? thats 8 short of Ray Lewis's 184 record