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Posted Sep 28, 2016

Dangerfield, Gilbert may have expanded roles vs. Chiefs.

PLAN B WITH THE DBs: S Jordan Dangerfield said he was “running with the No. 1s today” and CB Justin Gilbert said the chances are “very high” he’ll play defensive snaps on Sunday night against Kansas City.

That was the Steelers’ response on a day that saw S Sean Davis (back), S Robert Golden (hamstring) and CB Senquez Golson (foot) among those who wound up under the “Did Not Participate” category on the practice report.

“They’re big on ‘next man up’ here,” Dangerfield said. “If I’m the next man up I’ll be ready.”

Dangerfield spent time during the 2014 and 2015 seasons on the Steelers’ practice squad.

He was signed by Buffalo as an undrafted rookie out of Towson in April of 2013 but released that August.

The Steelers signed him to a reserve/futures contract in January of 2014.

They’ve cut him four times and re-signed him five times since.

“I know the plays,” Dangerfield, 5-foot-11 and 199 pounds, maintained. “I’ve been around here the past two years. I know the defense. I know the coverages. They’re putting faith in me. I want to show them what I can do.”

Gilbert was acquired in a trade with Cleveland on Sept. 3.

He was the eighth-overall pick in the 2014 draft.

“I’m willing to accept the challenge and ready to display my talents, for sure,” he said. “For now it’s just (sub-) packages stuff, you’ll find out once the game comes around.

“Before this week I’ve been working outside corner, left and right.”

Gilbert would like to do even more before Sunday arrives.

“I’m hopefully going to get some return reps, we’re working on kick return (Thursday),” he said.

S Mike Mitchell acknowledged there would be more on his plate, and on veteran CB William Gay’s, if younger, less-experienced players such as Dangerfield, Gilbert and CB Artie Burns end up in the secondary at the same time against Kansas City.

“There is but we can eat it,” Mitchell insisted. “It’s not anything that’s shocking. We had a lot of guys get hurt last year, in and out. I think our team, as a group of 53 guys, is good at handling adversity, good at not having our starters in and finding ways to win games.

“I just expect us to do that again.”

THE PRINCE OF BELL-AIR: RB Le’Veon Bell said he can handle an expanded role catching the ball if it comes to that against Kansas City.

“I feel more confident catching the ball,” Bell said. “When I was suspended that’s all I was really doing, running routes, conditioning every day and just catching the ball. Today, it felt great. I felt like I was hauling the ball in a lot easier. Plus, I have (QB) Ben (Roethlisberger) throwing to me so he’s putting it right where it has to be.

“If I play receiver I feel I can get open. I feel I can get open on just about anybody. If I end up in the slot I gotta do what I gotta do to get open. I’m confident I’ll be able to get open.”

Bell even caught a deep pass from Roethlisberger.

It was a ‘go’ ball,” Bell said. “Ben threw a great ball, I did a great job tracking the ball, getting my feet in bounds and making the catch.
“I want to be a player for all aspects of the game. I want to catch short passes, down the field, whatever it may be, get run after, everything.”

HE SAID IT: “People say it all the time, failure is the key ingredient to success. We needed a little adversity, we kind of needed that … to just kind of keep focused on what we need to get done here. If we don’t play at a high level we will get beat and we will get beat bad. I think everyone obviously, obviously knows that now.” _ Mitchell on Sunday’s 34-3 loss at Philadelphia.