Rookies taking different approaches

The Steelers open their preseason Friday night against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles. Here's how rookies Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Potts and Roy Lewis are looking at the game.

RASHARD MENDENHALL, RB

Q: What are your expectations in the game?

A: I don't really have too many right now. I'm expecting to have a good game. I'm not sure how long I'm going to be out there, how many carries, or what's going to happen. I'm just trying to play sound football.

Q: Are you getting pumped? Or is it like another practice?

A: Nah, it's not a practice, but it doesn't hit you until you run out of that tunnel on Friday, so I'll just wait until that time.

MIKE POTTS, QB

Q: How big a deal is this game?

A: Ah, it's pretty big. Like some of the guys were saying: For some of the rookies, the preseason is pretty much like your Super Bowl. You've got to get it done then. It's big, but I can't put too much pressure on myself.

Q: Easy to say, but will you sleep?

A: I'll be fine. I've been sleeping well. They've got us going all day long, so you get pretty worn out.

Q: Coach gives you the benefit of the doubt since you went to William and Mary, doesn't he?

A: I don't know.

Q: That's what he said when you threw the TD pass the other day. But it won't be a factor on cutdown day, will it?

A: Hey, I hope so. I'll use anything I can use.

Q: How's your understanding?

A: It's good. I know pretty much everything. We have pretty much everything installed in the offense. I just need to put that to work Friday night.

ROY LEWIS, DB

Q: See the coach praised you in the Post-Gazette?

A: Oh, really? I don't read the papers.

Q: I shouldn't have told you.

A: Yeah, you shouldn't have told me that.

Q: Are you doing that well?

A: I guess. I don't like to really measure how I'm doing personally. I just like to come out here and make plays when they come to me, and work hard. That's the name of the game, especially in my position as a rookie free agent. I just feel like my job here is to try to make this team the best I can, and set my bar high individually because I know it's a big task in front of me.

Q: Is this game big for you?

A: I'm looking at this like this is serious. This is it. You have to play. That's the way it is. Every preseason game is a test and we have four tests before they make final cuts. My job is to ace every one of those tests.

Q: You're playing safety. Aren't you a corner?

A: Yeah. I'm getting a little bit of a run at safety and corner, which is great. I played safety and linebacker back in high school and converted over to DB during college, so I get a chance to get both in. That will only make me a better all-around player.

Q: Play safety at Washington?

A: No. Sometimes they had me in the nickel package dropping deep playing a half-field type of coverage, but, no, no safety.

Q: Is it a good sign that they're moving you around?

A: Oh, yeah. It's always good to have position flexibility, you know, be able to fill those voids, those gaps, those holes where needed and help this team out anyway I can.


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