Opponents on Steelers

Colts are talking about Alex, T.J. and Cam

The Steelers are in prime time on Monday night, facing the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

It will be the first time facing interim Coach Jeff Saturday in his current role, but for Cameron Heyward he has faced Saturday before.

When Heyward was a rookie, he played against Saturday, the former Colts center, in a Week 3 matchup in 2011.

"People I've played against now coaching," said Heyward. "It's a wild, wild time."

Saturday, who played for the Colts from 1999-2011, knows the Colts will face a challenge in the Steelers defensive front that Heyward helps to anchor.

"Listen, their front four is as good as anybody in the NFL," said Saturday. "Everybody talks about the ends, (Alex) Highsmith and (T.J.) Watt, but listen all four – they're all dudes and they can put pressure on you at every point, and they will pressure you. They're not scared.

"So, hats on the o-line, make sure we get our jobs done, protect it. I've told those guys since I got here, protection is going to beat coverage, but that's a big ask. So, make sure we put the hat on of making sure we get those guys blocked. But you can't hide from it. You've got to go out, work your techniques, understand they're smart players, they are going to make plays. It's limiting the big plays, limiting the moments where the big plays can be had. So, a big challenge ahead but one that we hopefully meet."

Saturday isn't the only one impressed by the defensive front by a long shot. Pass game specialist/assistant quarterbacks coach Parks Frazier said the talent there can impact play-calling.

"I think you're always thinking about that," said Frazier. "Especially when you're going against a defense like Pittsburgh who, (T.J.) Watt and (Alex) Highsmith are really good players. Highsmith, I feel like he's an underrated player in this league and he's having a heck of a year numbers wise. Obviously, we know what Heyward brings inside too.

"When you're going against a front like that, it obviously plays into your play calling and your decision making and really, it's your game planning. You think about those things going through the week and the things you put on the call sheet. That's obviously on your mind with everything and so, I think that we're going to put together a good plan for those guys and hopefully we can go execute it."

Quarterback Matt Ryan knows the offense has to be on top of their game for the challenge the group brings.

"I think they're talented," said Ryan. "I think it's a good group, physical on the inside, they've got game-changers on the outside, guys that you have to – in that front seven. On the edge rushers, they've got a lot of talent, but they play with great effort too. They finish and they find ways to get those effort strips or sacks or even plays in the run game. So, I think it's a good group. It's certainly going to be a challenge for us, and we've got to go play our best."