Keisel feeling comfortable in starting role
Tuesday, September 5, 2006
By Teresa Varley
If there is one player who took advantage of every opportunity during training camp and the preseason it was defensive end Brett Keisel.
Keisel, entering his fifth season, spent the majority of his first four years with the Steelers playing special teams and giving fellow linemen Aaron Smith and Kimo von Oelhoffen a breather.
With von Oelhoffen signing with the Jets this off-season things have changed. Keisel has stepped in to a starting role and is becoming more comfortable every day.
"It feels great," said Keisel. "It has been different. Before I was spending most of my time watching special team's films. You still had to keep up on defense. But this year it's defense all of the time and I am paying more attention to what the other guy is doing on the line, the different formations and the different tendencies that they have.
"The last four years I had a different role. Now being out there full-time it's crazy. I almost feel like I am missing out on the special teams meetings and all of that stuff. I just have to concentrate on my defensive responsibilities and be ready to go."
Despite the new role, the added responsibility and the extra work, Keisel would be more than happy to step in and lend a hand if needed on special teams.
"(Coach Kevin Spencer) knows he can use me anytime he wants," said Keisel, who was a major force on special teams. "We laughed during the last game. I was out there on field goal. It was the only special teams I had. They were coming up the middle and I went to him right after that and told him we have to install a fake, I'll get open."
The defensive line, though, wants to keep him right where he is. They are building their chemistry and his teammates have confidence that Keisel can get the job done. It's now just a matter of going out there and working together for a full game.
"These guys are used to me," said Keisel. "We are still growing together. It's going to take time. I don't think they are at the same comfort level they were with Kimo, but hopefully I can change that."