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Preseason steps, stumbles resonate beyond a necessary result

 
Preseason steps, stumbles resonate beyond a necessary result

 

The result was significant because, believe it or not, their recent history dictated that the Steelers needed to win at least one game this preseason.

That sounds stupid but with this team at this time that, as the great Bill Cowher might have put it, was where the Steelers were at.

It was even brought up unsolicited in the locker room a couple of times after the Steelers’ 19-16 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Saturday night.

The components that comprised the Steelers’ first preseason triumph since 2012 were a bigger deal.

Here’s a smattering of reaction to a few of those:

WR Markus Wheaton on his 16-yard touchdown reception: “I was at the end of the progression so (QB Ben Roethlisberger) went through it all, ended up at me, it just happened to be there. I had off coverage, one-on-one. They rolled the coverage to (WR) Antonio (Brown). I had off coverage, post-corner, perfect ball, good protection, it was there.

“Any time you get on the field you want to make plays, you want to score touchdowns, you want to impact the game, you want to help the team regardless if it’s a preseason game or a real game. The same with winning, anytime you touch the field you want to win regardless of if it counts or not.

“I want to build (Ben’s) trust. I think plays like that will do that for me.”

QB Bruce Gradkowski on the performance of Roethlisberger and the first-team offense running the no-huddle: “That’s Ben’s game. He does a great job with the no huddle. He has a great feel for the game. The offensive line gave him great protection and A.B. (Brown) is doing what A.B. does (a 76-yard catch-and-run touchdown) and that’s exciting to see.”

CB Ike Taylor on the play of the first-team defense: “We started off kind of slow. Can’t start off slow, gotta start out straight from the gate. Once we got in tune and wound up we made our plays, but we have to start out of the gate fast.”

LB Ryan Shazier (nine tackles, two special teams tackles, one interception) on whether he picked up where he left off after missing about a week and a half of training camp due to a boo-boo on his knee: “I’m not going to say that. I could definitely feel where I left off. I’m not in condition the way I need to be. I have to keep working and continue trying to learn this defense more and more so I can help out this team more and more.”

RB Dri Archer on whether he can consistently create big plays in the passing game, as he did on a 40-yard screen: “Yeah, definitely, that’s what I’m in the game for, to make something happen.”

DE Cam Heyward on whether the defense “shot itself in the foot” fewer times than it had in the preseason opener against the New York Football Giants: “Not with all those penalties. There are things we can still clean up.”

LB Vic So’oto, after inducing a fumble that was ultimately recovered by LB Howard Jones for the second consecutive game, on whether it’s more important to force a fumble or recover one: “I don’t think you can recover a fumble without it being forced, right?”

 

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