Burns: 'I am so anxious'

Thursday's preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers will be a final opportunity for some young players to prove they are worthy of a spot on the Steelers' 53-man roster.

For No. 1 pick Artie Burns, it will be something much different.

Burns will see his first action of the preseason against the Panthers after missing the first three games and practice time while battling a quad injury. Burns can't wait.

"I am so anxious," said Burns. "I was cringing in my sleep I am so anxious to play on Thursday."

Burns returned to practice just prior to the Saints game, but went full tilt on Sunday when the team practiced at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

"It felt real good to be back out there with the team, do something I love to do and get ready for my first NFL game," said Burns. "I felt no pain. I felt like I was able to run around real good."

The rookie said mental reps have helped him while he was sidelined, but now it's time to show what he can do on the field.

"I have to prove something to my team, to my whole city," said Burns. "I have to go out there and compete and show them what I've got."**

Applying pressure:** The goal for the Steelers offense last year was to score 30 points a game. That is something that hasn't changed as the team is looking forward to the start of the regular season.

"There are two types of pressure," said running back Le'Veon Bell. "You either apply it or you feel it. We definitely want to apply it. We apply the 30 point a game rule because that is what our offensive coordinator and head coach want us to do. We go out and match their expectations."  Midseason form: Center Maurkice Pouncey said he liked the feel of things from the offense last week against the Saints, and looks forward to it getting even better when the regular season opens on Sept. 12 in Washington.

"We did a great job," said Pouncey. "We just need to fix some things we did in the game wrong. It went really well. We kept Ben (Roethlisberger) protected.

"It felt great. Things are going nice, flowed well. Ben was on point. He looked nice. Le'Veon (Bell) had some really good runs. So did Deangelo (Williams). I was proud with the production."

And as far as Roethlisberger, he did exactly what his teammates expected, completing 12 of 17 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns and a 136.4 quarterback rating in his first game action.

"He is a veteran, a Hall of Fame like quarterback," said receiver Antonio Brown. "Any time he is out there we know wat it's going to be like. A lot of fun and a lot of big plays."

And as far as his center, you know he is giving Roethlisberger nothing but love.

"He is a Hall of Famer," said Pouncey. "We love that guy."

And then with a smile and a laugh.

"Whenever he walks away, I am walking away with him."

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