Steelers notebook: Linebackers on the spot against Saints offense
Saints quarterback Drew Brees will look for mismatches in the passing game with tight end Jimmy Graham and running backs Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas, who returned to practice last week after suffering a shoulder injury in Week 7.
Brees will try to target the Steelers linebackers, who also will be asked to pressure the 14-year veteran. Brees has been sacked only 13 times this season compared to 37 in 2013.
“I don’t think that’s something we’re too worried about being an issue,” outside linebacker James Harrison said. “We feel our linebackers can cover their running backs. “We’ll see how the week goes along before we decide how we’re going to defend them.”
• The Chiefs are expected to sign defensive end Nick Williams off the Steelers’ practice squad. Williams, a seventh-round draft pick in 2013, suffered a season-ending knee injury during the 2013 preseason. The Samford product was a victim of the numbers game and couldn’t make the active roster, partly because of rookie Stephon Tuitt, free agent signee Cam Thomas and the return of veteran Brett Keisel.
• Wide receiver Lance Moore, who spent nine seasons in New Orleans, said the best way to attack the Saints’ 23rd-ranked defense is to simply stay ahead of the chains and possess the ball. If nothing else, it limits the explosive New Orleans offense. “We have to make big plays when they make them available to us,” said Moore, who has 11 receptions and two touchdowns. “But you can get in trouble tying to do too much against their defense. We have to run the football just as we did against Tennessee, and we can.”
• Center Maurkice Pouncey was thrilled about getting the first game ball of his career. The Pro Bowl center proudly displayed the ball following Monday’s practice. Pouncey had a dominating performance as the offensive line controlled the line scrimmage as running back Le’Veon Bell amassed career highs in rushing attempts (33) and rushing yards (206) in a 27-24 win over Tennessee.
• Quote of the day: “You overlook somebody on the Saints, and you’ll get your face kicked in.” — Harrison, on defending all of New Orleans’ offensive weapons.
— Ralph N. Paulk