Notebook: Harrison fined into new bracket

Making appearances in Thursday's Steelers notebook are James Harrison, Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Arians, Brett Keisel and Maurkice Pouncey.

PITTSBURGH – Soon after James Harrison told reporters Wednesday that he hadn't been fined for his late hit on New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, Harrison received a call from the league and was fined $20,000.

It was the third time the Steelers' linebacker has been fined this season for a combined total of $100,000.

"The amount of money is becoming an issue," said Harrison.

Harrison was penalized on the play for a late hit, but the league cited him for driving his helmet into Brees's back. Harrison felt the fine was unjust, but seems to have an understanding of the league's stance.

"From what the rule says, you cannot put any part of the crown of your helmet, the hairline of your helmet, or your facemask, onto a defenseless player," he said.

BEATING THE BLITZ

The last time the Steelers played in Cincinnati, they blew a 13-3 halftime lead with the help of a missed read on a Bengals blitz, a missed hot read, by Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes. The pass was intercepted and returned 30 yards for a touchdown by Jonathan Joseph.

Holmes was usually a reliable receiver with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger under duress, and it appeared Roethlisberger could've used Holmes Sunday night against the blitzing New Orleans Saints.

"He was good at it," said Roethlisberger. "He knew what was going on and when he came, he came hard. He was a big guy, a solid guy. But Mike (Wallace) is doing a great job of seeing things and I think Emmanuel (Sanders) is really going to be able to pick it up good. Antwaan (Randle El) has been around for a long time and he knows those things.

"We're evolving. It's still early in the year."

Was it a big problem Sunday night?

"We had a lot of weaknesses," Roethlisberger said. "But, yeah, I can admit that."

But offensive coordinator Bruce Arians seemed satisfied with the performance of his quarterback and receivers when blitzed.

"There are times when people drop in, the call's changed," said Arians. "And on those plays, we went from a 3-down to a 5-down, had it all blocked up, and we didn't have a hot receiver. Those things can happen, but it's better than turning guys loose and hitting your quarterback. That communication I'll accept."

WHY NOT SNEAK?

With the Steelers first-and-inches at the Saints' goal line, Roethlisberger handed to fullback Isaac Redman, who lost a yard when right guard Trai Essex mistakenly pulled and opened a gap for the tackler. The Steelers eventually kicked a field goal.

Arians was asked why he didn't call a quarterback sneak on first down.

"Same play," Arians said. "Same exact blocking scheme, (with a) big 240-pound guy hitting it straight ahead. Exact same block. Same thing as a quarterback sneak."

Did Arians see center Maurkice Pouncey put the Saints' nose tackle on his back?

"Yeah. So did the left guard and left tackle. But if we'd had a bust with a quarterback sneak, he might've had a broken neck."

INJURY REPORT

Everyone but Aaron Smith practiced Thursday, including defensive end Brett Keisel, who missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. Keisel believes he'll play Monday night in Cincinnati.

"Yeah I think so," he said. "We're taking it day by day, but obviously I think having a Monday night game is going to help, give me an extra day of rest. Hopefully we'll be out there Monday night."

QUOTABLE

Pouncey on the noise in the New Orleans Superdome Sunday night:

"That was the loudest place I've ever been in. That dome, man, I don't know what it was but they had it rockin'. They were playing this certain song, a rap song, ‘Stand Up and Get Crunk.' I forget who sings it, but man when I tell you everybody stood up in there and got crunked, believe it. But it was loud. We know what we have to do to fix it and we'll do a lot better the next time in that situation."


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