Remember When, With Ben

Mike Prisuta tells some old Steelers tales and looks ahead to some new ones.

The conversation, one-sided as it was, has been re-told for years on the South Side.

We'll re-tell it one more time here in honor of the Steelers' upcoming visit to Arizona.

As legend has it, Ben Roethlisberger, upon being drafted by the Steelers, was being introduced around the practice facility and happened upon the office of Russ Grimm, then the Steelers' offensive line coach.

After being introduced to Roethlisberger, Grimm looked up from his desk and began gesturing with one hand.

"One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, throw the (expletive) thing," Grimm barked.

Grimm then went back to doing whatever it was he had been doing.

It's still good advice.

And it's still going mostly unheeded.

* The Steelers were threatened by CJ2K but were able to keep him contained.

And they were threatened by Maurice Jones-Drew but managed to do just enough on run defense to keep Jones-Drew from beating them.

The difference this time is the Cardinals have the incomparable Larry Fitzgerald along with Beanie Wells, who is as big a threat – literally – as the Steelers have faced in terms of potential game-changing ballcarriers.

Loading up against the run will be a more risky proposition due to the attention Fitzgerald will demand from the secondary.

The good news is Wells is more big (229 pounds) and predictable than he is shifty. When the Cards are in trips-right, Wells is running right. When he's running behind a fullback, Wells is following the fullback. And more often than not, it appears, Wells will be running to contact.

Ask the poor Vikings defender who had his helmet knocked off trying to tackle Wells. He's pretty good at it. He wants to run defenders over.

The big boy pads, thus, are a prerequisite in this one, but there's reason to anticipate that Wells, too, can be contained.

* Fitzgerald is another matter entirely.

Here's hoping the Cardinals continue to not throw him the ball enough, as has been their habit this season.

* As for the QB, Kevin Kolb may be a fifth-year pro, but a couple of Sundays ago against Minnesota he was still a guy making his 12th NFL start.

And it showed.

Kolb usually throws on time, but not all the time. And he throws with accuracy most of the time, but not all the time.

He has a gun, but he's also listed at 6-foot-3 (looks shorter on TV) and as a result seems to have a lower trajectory that invites passes being batted at the line of scrimmage.

Kolb will hang in the pocket and take a hit to make a throw, but if he has to do that too many times it begins to have a cumulative effect.

And if you can get him running outside of the pocket the play is over.

* Adrian Wilson isn't listed on Arizona's injury report, but Hines Ward has noticed Wilson is playing with a "torn bicep."

Wilson is also playing strong safety as he always has, like a 6-3, 230-pound runaway truck on blitzes and search-and-destroy missions against the run.

"The guy's a massive guy," Ward said. "I had to battle with him in the Super Bowl. I'm sure I'll have to battle with him again.

"The guy's playing with a torn bicep. And just watching the receivers block him, I was in the weight room a little bit longer today."

I wasn't in the weight room at all today, but watching receivers and anyone else block Wilson I've noticed that he's staying blocked a lot more often than he used to when he was healthy.

Wilson isn't alone. A lot of the guys who play defense for Arizona tend to stay blocked when they get blocked.

If the Steelers can get their assignments right, get a hat on a hat, they'll be able to get some things done.

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