Steelers notebook: TE Miller probable to play vs. Jets
Tight end Heath Miller returned to practice Friday after being held out of Thursday’s practice by coach Mike Tomlin.
• The Steelers aren’t taking Jets’ rookie quarterback Geno Smith for granted. They respect the fact he runs and passes effectively. “He’s very talented, and he can make all the throws,” safety Troy Polamalu said. “They run the wildcat well and create a lot of misdirection when they get him moving out of the pocket.” The Steelers have a reputation of handling rookie quarterbacks, but Polamalu isn’t putting much stock into that. “It’s hard to compare him to other passers,” Polamalu said.
• Linebacker Kion Wilson, who was cut earlier this week and replaced by Stevenson Sylvester, was added to the practice squad. Wilson, who started one game after Larry Foote was lost for the season, replaces Alan Baxter.
• Receiver Jerricho Cotchery said these are not the same Jets he played with, but the defense still is solid. “They do a good job disguising the blitz, and their cornerbacks, especially Antonio Cromartie, can create some difficult matchups,” Cotchery said.
• Former Steelers guard Willie Colon said he still has much love for center Maurkice Pouncey and Foster, so it’s been tough watching the offensive line struggle. Yet he’s hardly sympathetic as prepares to face his former teammates. “It’s in the past now,” said Colon, now with the Jets. “Defensively, they’re doing what they need to do to be efficient. I’ve been telling these guys that by no means because they are 0-4 we can overlook them.”
• The Steelers are likely to start Kelvin Beachum at left tackle, but he expects to split time with Levi Brown, a former No. 1 pick of the Arizona Cardinals who signed last week. “I’m learning the terminology, but the adjustments were the biggest thing I had to do,” Brown said. “I did OK with it, especially since we’re facing a defense that does a lot of moving around.” Brown said the Steelers’ offense is similar to one in Arizona when offensive coordinator Todd Haley was with the Cardinals. “Things changed over the years, but he’s adapted his offense,” Brown said. “It’s similar to (Arizona coach) Bruce Arians’ offense. It’s just the terminology that changes.” Brown said he and Beachum split time with the first team in practice. “It’s up to the coach’s discretion who he plays and what the other guy will do,” Beachum said, “but I’ve been preparing the past two weeks like I’ve always prepared, just in case my number is called.”
• Steelers safety Ryan Clark is as impressed with Smith as any rookie quarterback he has seen. “Smith is very poised in those late-game situations,” Clark said. “He has extreme confidence in himself. He believes he is going to make those plays. He believes he is going to drive them for a touchdown. “It’s been his No. 1 attribute.”
• The Jets already were short-handed at cornerback with Dee Milliner missing his third straight game. Now the team also could be without Antonio Cromartie, who injured a knee during practice Thursday. Cromartie is questionable. The Jets also will be without receiver Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring). Tight end Kellen Winslow won’t play after being suspended four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.