Butler: 'We tried to simplify a lot of stuff'

The Steelers' offense must transition from Ben Roethlisberger to Mike Vick at quarterback tonight against Baltimore.

The Steelers' defense merely hopes to keep the continuity ball rolling against the Ravens.

"It's everybody playing together," defensive coordinator Keith Butler said of a defense that has seen the points against drop from 28 to 18 to six over the season's first three weeks. "The first game, the New England game, how many times had we been on the field, the same field, the same 11 in there, how many times had that happened in training camp? Maybe once or twice, maybe one or two days.

"They've gotten a chance to play together and understand each other and know what each other are going to do and start to rely on each other. And when that happens you should get better."

Inside linebacker Ryan Shazier (shoulder) will miss his second straight game tonight.

The other 10 starters on defense are all poised to make their third consecutive starts.

The Steelers have also been trying to keep it simple on defense since before the New England game and that less-is-more approach is starting to pay dividends.

"We tried to simplify a lot of stuff going into the game," Butler said. "We tried to simplify a lot of things and keep a short, little menu in terms of calls and things like that. That's the way it's going to be.

"Let those guys play. They're good players so we're going to let our guys play and try not to bog them down with too much to think about."

The improvement on defense apparent in last Sunday's 12-6 win in St. Louis included safety Will Allen coming up with the season's first interception and the Rams being limited to a pair of field goals, one of which was kicked on a possession that had achieved a first-and-goal at the Pittsburgh 7-yard line.

"I was pleased because we didn't let them throw the ball over our heads," Butler said. "As long as we do that we have a good chance to keep them from touchdowns, and if we keep 'em from touchdowns we have a chance to win."

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