Steelers' Aerial Attack At The Ready

With starters ready, healthy and getting better every day, the Steelers' offense is poised for an unveiling.

Mike Tomlin talked about his Pittsburgh Steelers making adjustments, "particularly the young guys," as they move into Game 2 of the preseason Friday night at Jacksonville.

When asked to be more specific about "adjustments," Tomlin shot back, "Catch the ball."

Reporters nodded in agreement as they remembered rookie tight end Jesse James dropping a sure touchdown pass, and later another that was ruled a fumble; C.J. Goodwin fumbling another catch; and rookie wide receiver Sammie Coates looking lost on a couple of passes into the end zone.

"Some of the younger guys freeze up sometimes," Tomlin said. "That’s part of the process."

Even though James and Coates continued dropping passes this past week, they won't be in the spotlight against the Jaguars. Not only is Ben Roethlisberger expected to play quarterback for "10 to 12 snaps," but Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton, Heath Miller and Le'Veon Bell are expected to be on the receiving end in this game.

In the first quarter of the opener, Landry Jones was throwing to rookies Coates, James and Devin Gardner.

No doubt the Steelers will put on a better aerial performance Friday night.

Brown, who's agent will meet with the Steelers in Jacksonville to discuss a contract extension, has been unstoppable in training camp. On Tuesday, he caught a fade in the end zone over Brandon Boykin, and on Wednesday he ended the two-minute drill with a touchdown catch over the middle with less than five seconds left.

Those were just examples from this past week, a week in which he enjoyed the return of Bryant and Wheaton.

Bryant, who'll be difficult to keep out of the opening-day starting lineup, showed off his freakish skills his first practice back. Jones underthrew a deep pass that forced Bryant to stop, come back and outjump Cortez Allen to catch the ball at the high point before falling into the end zone.

Not to be outdone, Wheaton ran under a deep pass from Roethlisberger that appeared to have been thrown too far. But Wheaton blew past converging safety Gerod Holliman and caught the pass in stride for a touchdown. He later made a diving catch of a hurried pass from Roethlisberger to convert a first down.

The Jaguars are the second of five Steelers preseason opponents, so it's unlikely that Roethlisberger and this explosive set of playmakers will play more than a quarter. But they'll no doubt show the youngsters how it's done.

NOTES -- Tomlin said it's possible that all four quarterbacks will play. ... Ruled out are S Robert Golden, NT Daniel McCullers, S Ross Ventrone and ILB Vince Williams.


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