Fourth & Goal

PITTSBURGH -- The word out of the Steelers' South Side practice facility on Monday was that Flozell Adams played well enough ...

... on Saturday night against the New York Football Giants to maintain his status as the starting right tackle. It continues to be Adams and then Jonathan Scott in the pecking order at the position.

Adams was beaten cleanly by Justin Tuck on what became an interception thrown by a scrambling Ben Roethlisberger in the first quarter, but the pressure was attributed to Roethlisberger changing the protection at the line of scrimmage and Adams -- new to Pittsburgh after 12 seasons in Dallas -- for whatever reason failing to get the call.

So there you have it, the first unofficial miscommunication of the preseason. Now, it's on.

* If you thought Tony Hills had a second solid game on Saturday night you weren't alone. Hills' only previous game-day appearance was Nov. 29, 2009 at Baltimore. But as he continues making a charge at a roster spot, he's doing his best to tune out positive reviews from fans, media and even coaches.

"A grade is what it is," Hills said. "Nobody is putting more pressure on myself to succeed than myself. I just want to keep getting better."

* Another guy who gets it along those lines in Keenan Ivory Lewis.

He was identified by Mike Tomlin (and anyone with eyes) as having had a good camp a few days before the Giants game and then was thrown in to the Giants game after Ike Taylor had been thrown out.

Lewis wound up playing left and right cornerback in the New Meadowlands Stadium, but like Hills he wasn't interested in hearing how well he's been doing from anyone.

"Last year I feel like I had a good camp and then when the season started I was on the sideline, not dressing," Lewis said.

* Monday's useless yet fascinating nugget comes from Trai Essex, who pointed out that prior to 2005 no one from Northwestern had ever won a Super Bowl ring, and that since then someone from Northwestern has won one every season.

The progression: Essex (Steelers) in 2005, Matt Ulrich (Colts) in 2006, Barry Cofield (Giants) in 2007, Essex again in 2008 and Zach Strief (Saints) in 2009.

Essex also maintains it's on this week, as evidenced by the regular-season schedule the Steelers have adopted in advance of Sunday night's visit to Denver.

"We're treating this as if it's the first game of the regular season," Essex said. "We're going to game-plan like it's the Atlanta Falcons. We're going to practice like it. We're going to have the ‘look' teams in practice this week. We're going to have the same time off that we would during the season, Tuesday off (today). We're going to travel like we normally do.

"It's going to be just like a regular-season game for us."

* As coaches do every August, Tomlin has cautioned not to read too much into the No. 1s, the No. 2s, etc., as it relates to how the Steelers are lining up on special teams. That said, there wasn't much change in the first units from preseason week one to preseason week two.

The four-phase guys in each game thus far have been Will Allen, Ryan Mundy and Patrick Bailey.

The three-phase guys have been Anthony Madison and Keyaron Fox.

* Jason Worilds was a four-phase special teams guy with the No. 1s on Saturday night. Worilds also saw extensive action at linebacker in his preseason debut, and came away disappointed in his conditioning in the wake of time missed in camp due to a hamstring injury.

"I definitely need to hit the treadmill," he said.

* And finally, for what it's worth, Essex expects Adams to be the starting right tackle against the Falcons.

"There's nothing that tells me otherwise," he said.

No miscommunication there.


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