Confident in whoever plays

The question threw Ben Roethlisberger off during a conference call with the Houston media when they asked him about injuries on the offensive line and having confidence in guys "we pull off the streets." Roethlisberger had to think about that for a minute.

"I was trying to figure out who we pulled off the street," said Roethlisberger. "Those are guys I've known for a long time and have been here for a long time. I have all of the confidence in the world in those guys that they will step up for whoever they need to step up for. To me that's what's so impressive. Last week Trai (Essex) played right tackle, he played left tackle, he probably played guard at some point. Those guys can do it and it's awesome to watch."

Roethlisberger might need to depend on guys like Essex and Ramon Foster this week with mounting injuries on the offensive line. Both Doug Legursky (shoulder) and Jonathan Scott (ankle) were held out of practice on Wednesday and their status for Sunday's game against the Texans is still up in the air.

"I feel like we lose linemen around here more than any other team," said Roethlisberger. "I don't know why or what it is. It's hard for those guys to get in a rhythm with each other. The nice thing is they are not off the street, they do know each other even if they are not the five starters all of the time. They do know each other and they can play together."

Essex, who wasn't with the team during training camp but was signed back before the start of the season, knows that people are panicking right now because of the offensive line injury issues.

"We'll be fine," said Essex. "Everybody doesn't need to overreact. We had two guys go down. We had the same thing happen last year and we had to band together and look what happened, we made it the Super Bowl. We'll be fine. Everybody will be ready to go.

"It's a non-story for us. We have plenty of confidence in everybody that is going to be dressed and ready to go.  You got guys, me and Ramon, who are stepping up and have started multiple games and have done well. Ben's comfortable with us, the coaches are comfortable with us, and that is all we need."

One player who will definitely be on the field in Houston on Sunday is tackle Marcus Gilbert. Gilbert left the Colts game with a shoulder injury, but returned after Scott went down. He practiced on Wednesday and said he will play.

"I definitely will be playing," said Gilbert. "We are going to be good. We have guys capable of coming in and playing multiple positions on the line. We will be fine. We have to have a great week of practice and be ready to go on Sunday."  


Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery is hoping to finally get on the field this week after missing the first three games of the season with a hamstring injury. Cotchery returned to practice last week, but was still held out of the Colts game to make sure he was at full strength.

"I am practicing. I had a good week last week," said Cotchery. "Right now I am continuing to progress, trying to get better every day. I feel good right now."

Cotchery hasn't played since the Steelers preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles when he had two receptions for 49 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown reception. He said he is ready to go. Now it's just a matter of the coaches feeling he is physically ready.

"They are still watching me. I feel good," said Cotchery. "They are confident I had a good week last week. I think they feel comfortable putting me out there right now."

He admits he is itching to get on the playing field and it's been difficult not playing.

"Not being able to be out there with my teammates has been the toughest part to deal with for me," said Cotchery. "Just watching those guys go to work every day and watching them take the field on Sunday. I am excited about the opportunity to get out there this week.

"I am excited to be out there. I will be happy putting that uniform on Sunday."

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