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Steelers Notebook: Smith brings a challenge

Posted Oct 10, 2013

Steelers Notebook: Smith brings a challenge; Bettis offers insight

The defense will have their hands full this Sunday with Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith, who isn’t just a threat with his arm, but also with his ability to run.

“We faced a lot of quarterbacks like that,” said cornerback Will Gay. “We know we have to run to the ball, cover the receivers and when he breaks the pocket we all have to rally to him.”

Smith has thrown eight interceptions coming into this week’s game and lost three fumbles, including a four-turnover performance against the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 29.

But he is turning things around, coming off the best game of his young career, completing 16 of 20 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns in a 30-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night. And he played turnover free football.

“He is not making mistakes,” said Gay of Smith’s recent performance. “That’s what it comes down to. If you don’t turn the ball over, you don’t put your team in a bad situation. He isn’t turning the ball over and is making plays when necessary.”
 
* * *

Safety Will Allen will wear No. 20 since his familiar No. 26 is taken by rookie running back Le’Veon Bell. Allen said he didn’t even think about asking him to switch numbers.

“No, I didn’t,” said Allen. “I didn’t even try to do it. It’s all good.”

* * *

Former Steelers’ running back Jerome Bettis has been keeping track of his old team, and thinks that they can turn things around after a disappointing start.

“The key right now is for the guys to go back to the basics and remember the little things,” said Bettis, now working as an analyst on ESPN’s NFL Live. “When you go through tough times you start pressing and try to make it all up at one time. You start to neglect the little things. The little things enable you to do the big things.

“You always have to bring it back down to the simplest forms and that is how you work your way out of a rough situation.”

Bettis said one thing he knows from playing for the Steelers is losing is something that won’t be accepted, and that attitude will help them get back on track.

“The standard is that you won’t get comfortable losing with the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said Bettis. “That is not going to happen. There is a standard that has been in place for a long time. It puts every single person on notice. Everyone has to be accountable. That is what you want in a successful organization.”

* * *

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said this week that at times it seems like Jets Coach Rex Ryan literally draws up plays on the sideline for their tenacious defense, and tackle Marcus Gilbert agrees with the assessment. 

“It’s pretty outrageous,” said Gilbert. “I haven’t seen anything like it. But it’s something you have to prepare for. It’s going to be our toughest matchup we have had so far this year. What he is going to throw at us we have to handle. But I think we have a good game plan and set everything in stone and try to hold these guys back.

“They try to throw a lot of confusion at you. They bring a lot of pressure, cause a lot of disruption, especially with the front they have. They are very talented. It’s going to be a good matchup.”