A.B. Asks, Receives

PITTSBURGH -- Antonio Brown wanted the ball, and he's gotten it. In the last three games, since complaining on the sideline to offensive coordinator Todd Haley, Brown has caught ...

... 30 passes for 370 yards and 2 touchdowns.

It tied him with Hines Ward for most receptions in a three-game stretch in Steelers history. In games 8-10 of 2002, Ward caught 30 passes for 386 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Was Brown's spike in production intended?

"We're doing what we always do and trying to play to each guy's strength, but he's our number one guy," said offensive coordinator Todd Haley. "When Mike [Wallace] left, he knew he had an opportunity to step into that role. He's embraced it, he's worked hard and he's making plays. That's tough to do when you are the guy because that's the guy that generally sees some of the double coverage that's going on within games. We've moved him around and he's done a good job with that. We've got to just keep him playing fast and making plays."

Brown was the team MVP in 2011 with 69 receptions for 1,108 yards, and appeared on his way to topping those numbers last season until a high ankle sprain gummed up the works. He caught 66 passes for 787 yards last season, and already has 41 this season for 498 yards. That puts him on pace to make 131 catches for 1,594 yards.

"Last year for the first half of the year he was playing flanker, which is generally on the strong side – some of the slot looks," said Haley. "As we got about halfway through the year, we moved him out to X (split end). So, he's had some experience at multiple positions and that always helps.

"He's lightning fast, lightning quick, quick hands, very good hands and as you saw last week, very good after the catch. You can throw him a short one and he can run long. Those are always good, especially against pass-rushing teams like the Jets."


Jarvis Jones came to work Monday with a headache that lasted into Tuesday. On Wednesday, team neurologist Dr. Joseph Maroon determined that Jones had a concussion. He didn't practice Wednesday, but was cleared for limited work on Thursday. Defensive coordinator

Dick LeBeau said he was optimistic that Jones would be able to play Sunday, but has Jason Worilds up and ready.

"I think they are growing and doing a good job," LeBeau said of the two blind-side rushers. "Jason was going through what Jarvis is going through right now. He has a little bit more experience, but they are both young players. I think our outside linebacking situation with those guys and the other guys that we got, we are going to continue to build and be OK."

Worilds recorded his first sack of the season Sunday, giving him 11 in three-plus seasons.

"If you look at the video, and really the team record, you will see that Jason played pretty daggone well last year." LeBeau said. "He was a young player, kind of fighting his way through it. He had a good season for us last year. He showed up on the sacks, and that gets you noticed. But a lot of times it's what you do at the point of attack and the effort that you give to get the other guys around you free. Jason has always been excellent at that. He is a good, growing young player. We are glad we got him."


The opposing players -- Kelvin Beachum and Terrell Suggs -- didn't want to talk Wednesday about the most important matchup Sunday against the Ravens. But on Thursday, Haley did.

"He's got his work cut out for him, there's no doubt about it," Haley said of Beachum, who made his first career start at left tackle last Sunday and now goes up against a player only two years removed from being named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

In his one-plus seasons with the Steelers, Beachum has played four line positions and tight end. He was a four-year starter at left tackle in college but was drafted to be an everyman for everybody. Until now.

"One thing about Kelvin is that every time we say he's this, he shows us he can be something more," Haley said. "That's happened at every position. Now, it's left tackle. This will be the biggest test to date. He's working hard to get ready, but 55 [Suggs] is a great player."

Suggs has 7 sacks this season, or as many as the Steelers' entire defense. Haley was asked if Beachum will continue to be viewed as a valuable five-position reserve by the coaching staff.

"No, we're taking some of that off of him so he can just focus on one job," Haley said. "He's the left tackle and he's getting ready to play."


RT Marcus Gilbert (quadricep) didn't scrimmage with the first team again but said after practice for the second consecutive day that he will play Sunday. The only other player -- aside from Gilbert, Jones and the already ruled out WR Markus Wheaton -- to miss all or parts of Thursday's practice was new tight end Richard Gordon (toe).

Out for the Ravens again was starting ILB Josh Bynes (thigh, finger), top special-teams tackler Albert McClellan (shoulder) and reserve WR Brandon Stokley. Limited were CB Chykie Brown (thigh), DT Terrence Cody (knee), C Ryan Jensen (foot), DT Haloti Ngata (elbow), OLB Courtney Upshaw (foot) and CB Lardarius Webb (thigh).

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