7 on 7: Ben hits on 7 hot topics


AB is special: While Ben Roethlisberger's own health is squarely on his mind this week, he also knows how important it is to have a healthy Antonio Brown in the lineup.

Brown is currently in concussion protocol, and while he will only play if he clears it, Roethlisberger stressed he is a huge component if the offense is going to be successful.

"You can never just plug someone in for AB, because AB is pretty special. He's the best in the world," said Roethlisberger. "But we have guys who have stepped up all year and if AB can't go, then we have faith and confidence that the next guy will step up and be the best player they can be."

Huge challenge:The Broncos have the NFL's No. 1 defense, including tops against the pass, and Roethlisberger knows it's going to be a big test in the AFC Divisional Playoff in Denver on Sunday afternoon.

"They have the No. 1 defense in the world for a reason, they're really, really good," said Roethlisberger. "We got lucky the first time. We made plays, they had guys injured, we were at home and it's not going to be that easy. This is a very, very good defense that I'm sure is going to take a little bit of pride from the last game and really get after us. We're going to be at their place, so it's going to be loud. So, this is the biggest challenge we've ever faced."

  • Ready if needed: Roethlisberger described his status this week as hour-by-hour, but if he can't go against the Broncos, backup Landry Jones will be ready to go.

"Landry is one of the smarter guys I've been around and a guy who puts in more preparation and work than most," said Roethlisberger. "He's really, really good like that. I think we've seen growth, because you see a guy who a lot people didn't anticipate making the team, but he's put the work in and he has confidence. We've all known what he's capable of doing."

  • Stepping up: Roethlisberger challenged receiver Martavis Bryant last week, and the quarterback liked the way he responded.

"I thought he did great," said Roethlisberger. "He stepped up, played well, made some big plays for us. We just need him to continue to do that."

  • Penny for your thoughts: The last time the two teams met, a 34-27 Steelers win, the Steelers threw the ball 55 times because of the defense the Broncos were in. Roethlisberger expects something different this week.

"They had penny personnel on the field, so we were going to throw it when they had that defense on the field," said Roethlisberger. "They had some injuries in the secondary, so we expect them to be back and healthy."

  • Far from grounded: With Le'Veon Bell sidelined, Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman have stepped up and Roethlisberger likes what he has seen from the duo in the running and passing game.

"I thought Fitz and Jordan did a great job, stepping up in the pass game, catching the ball, blocking and running," he said. "I thought they did what we expected them to do and exceeded the expectations of the outside world."

  • QB on QB: Roethlisberger has all of the respect in the world for Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning.

"He's one of the greatest to ever play the game," said Roethlisberger. "It's always an honor to share the field with him. And I just hope that he doesn't have a good day."

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