Sunday notebook: Leftwich shares knowledge

No one knows the Jacksonville Jaguars better than Steelers backup quarterback Byron Leftwich. So, who better than to take prisoner and hold under a single light bulb in the pursuit of the truth?

Q: Do you expect the Jaguars to blitz Ben Roethlisberger?

BL: Jacksonville's never been a heavy blitz team, but what's been said around here the last few weeks about protection, they might try it. But I don't see Jack Del Rio blitzing that much. I don't. I don't see it happening. But it is possible.

Q: What else can you tell us about Del Rio?

BL: On offense, they go for fourth downs like its John Madden football. Jack will go for it. It'd be 4th-and-3 and he'll go for it like it's PlayStation.

Q: Have you reminded the defense about their quarterback draws?

BL: I think I've scored on it about seven times, and if I can score on it I think anybody in this league can score on it. So I think it's something we'll be prepared for.

Q: Do you know those backup linemen?

BL: I know them. They also signed Chris Naeole back and he was the anchor of that offensive line for a while. They're getting healthier.

Q: Wasn't Naeole out of football?

BL: Yes, but only because he tore a hamstring right off the bone last year, and it was the last year of his contract. (OL coach) Andy Heck does a good job with the line. They had big problems, but they're so well-coached. Even with the guys they have in they're doing a good job protecting.

Q: Can you help Mike Tomlin with your insights?

BL: There are no secrets about each other's teams. This will be the third meeting. When you play a playoff game, the scouting is so great that you know just about everything about the opposing team. I'm quite sure I don't have anything top secret that they don't already know.


Scott Paxson of Penn State was promoted to the active roster after spending the last two-plus seasons on the practice squad. He'll provide the Steelers with a fifth defensive lineman and a backup for nose tackle Chris Hoke – not that Casey Hampton's replacement needs one.

"Hokie won't come off the field unless he's going to heaven," said defensive end Aaron Smith.

"That's funny," said Hoke. "But, really, this is my opportunity to go out there and play a lot, and I don't want to take plays off. As long as I feel I can be effective and get my job done, I want to stay in there."

Hoke left the base defense for only one snap last Monday night. He was replaced by starting right end Travis Kirschke. However, because of injuries to Hampton, Brett Keisel and Nick Eason, Paxson was needed. He replaces rookie linebacker Patrick Bailey on the active roster. Expect Bailey to be recalled in some capacity early next week.


The Steelers are down three running backs and enter tonight's game with only Mewelde Moore, Gary Russell and Najeh Davenport. In case of emergency, the Steelers can always turn to safety Troy Polamalu, who used to pester Bill Cowher and Ken Whisenhunt for the ball at the goal line.

"He wants to dive over the top. It's a fantasy of his," said receiver Hines Ward. "But we've got enough running backs. Let's let Troy be Troy."

Polamalu has a team-high three interceptions this season, and impressed fellow defensive back Deshea Townsend with a Joe Flacco pass he batted away.

"That play shows the growth that he's made," Townsend said. "Coming from the middle third to get to the sideline to break up that play was very impressive. He started on the other hash and before the quarterback threw it he was already there. That just shows how far he's come. We all know he can get down there in the line of scrimmage, but now he can get down the middle of the field if he needs to."

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