Communication is key


It's not just what happens after the snap that the Steelers will be missing minus Maurkice Pouncey, a factor that must be overcome in the All-Pro center's absence of which quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is well aware.

"We do a lot of communicating pre-snap, we talk a lot," Roethlisberger said. "(Pouncey) talks to the guards a lot, he's a student of the game and he's very good.

"We've corrected each other, it's a comfort level. If I've made a mistake, he'll tell me. If he makes one; we talk to each other a lot out there. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes and it's very reassuring. But I know (backup guard/center) Cody Wallace puts a lot of film study in, as well, and a lot of work with (guard) David (DeCastro) and (guard) Ramon (Foster).

"The communication level will be at an all-time high moving forward."

Roethlisberger anticipates becoming as involved as he'll need to be in that process.

"It'll be a lot of line-to-line talk," he continued. "As long as they make the right call I don't need to change much. Every once in a while I'll chime in and say, 'Hey, let's make this declaration.'

"But as long as they make the right one the first time, we're good."

Left tackle Kelvin Beachum, Pouncey and DeCastro all started every regular-season game last season.

Check out the highlight photos from the Steelers vs Packers game.

Foster missed two starts (he was replaced by Wallace on Sept. 21 at Carolina and on Sept. 28 against Tampa Bay).

Right tackle Marcus Gilbert was replaced by Mike Adams on Oct. 26 against Indianapolis, on Nov. 30 against New Orleans, on Dec. 7 at Cincinnati and on Dec. 14 at Atlanta.

The concept of moving parts up front isn't an unfamiliar one to Roethlisberger.

"It's about them," he said of the offensive linemen. "It's about their continuity together, working together in practice, in the meeting rooms, off the field, whatever it is, and those other four will help. And Cody's been part of that for a while now. (Guard/center) Doug (Legursky) knows all those guys, as well.

"They'll be fine."

Foster maintained the Steelers' offensive line is better prepared to handle Pouncey's absence than it had been when Pouncey was lost for the season in the 2013 regular-season opener.

"Everybody has grown up," Foster said. "David has grown up. 'Gil' (Gilbert) has grown up, too. 'Beach' (Beachum) has grown up. You have guys that know and have played together.

"Plugging Cody in (at center) should be easy because we've played with him before."

Foster even acknowledged personal growth since Pouncey's 2013 injury.

"I'd probably be cut if I was the same, so yeah, definitely," he said. "I think we'll be fine."

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