Steelers notebook: Defense has a retro feel |

Steelers notebook: Defense has a retro feel

With Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu listed as probable and expected to play Sunday against New Orleans, the Steelers defense is beginning to have a retro feel.

It will be the first game this season in which Taylor, Polamalu, linebacker James Harrison (signed two days after Taylor broke his arm) and Brett Keisel (signed toward the end of training camp) will be active for the same game. They are the oldest players on the team, each playing at least 11 seasons with the Steelers.

Add cornerback William Gay and linebacker Lawrence Timmons, and the Steelers have much of the defensive core from their most recent Super Bowl-winning intact.

“There’s a lot of the old guys from that group here, and it’s a good feeling,” Timmons said. “We won a lot of games with those guys, and they’re also showing the young guys the way to go about football and the Steeler Way. So we’re very grateful for this group, and I’m just glad to be part of it.”

• With Marcus Gilbert (ankle) sitting out practice for the second consecutive day Friday, Mike Adams appears likely to make his second start of the season at right tackle. “I’m looking forward to getting a chance to play,” Adams said after running with the first-team offense. Gilbert officially was listed as questionable.

• Rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier (ankle) was listed as questionable for only the third time in the past nine games. “Still a little sore,” he said. “I go through ups and downs, but it’s feeling pretty good. Going to have to wait until the game I guess. … I feel like whenever you play football — you could have a broken leg — you feel like you’re (able to play). … It’s just when (trainers and coaches) feel like I’m ready.”

• The Saints have a relatively quiet injury report. Only two little-used reserves have been ruled out (running back Khiry Robinson and linebacker Kyle Knox), and there are no players listed as questionable or doubtful. Running back Pierre Thomas, receiver Robert Meachem, linebacker Curtis Lofton and cornerback Keenan Lewis are considered probable.

• There’s no doubt New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham is a matchup nightmare for defenses, especially in the red zone. The former Miami (Fla.) basketball player has used his 6-foot-7, 265-pound frame and deceptive speed to score nine touchdowns, tied for most among tight ends with New England’s Rob Gronkowski. The Steelers secondary could be in for a long day at Heinz Field on Sunday if Graham finds the matchups he’s seeking. The Baltimore Ravens kept Graham under wraps for much of the game Monday by having their linebackers rough him up at the line of scrimmage. But Graham was too much for Baltimore in the red zone. He scored twice to keep the Saints within reach in a game they lost 34-27. For all the talk about Graham, the Steelers are focused primarily on shutting down the Saints’ ground game. If running backs Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas (who is expected back from a shoulder injury) can have success, it opens up the passing game. “I think they will take more than a couple of shots downfield,” defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.