The status of the Steelers' offensive line is beginning to come more clearly into focus. What will be required of the Steelers' offense in New England has been obvious all along.
"At the end of the day, we've got to bring our 'A' game," wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. "We've got to put up points on these guys because we know that with No. 12 at quarterback they can put up points in any amount of time. Once we get in the red zone we've got to execute and we've got to score touchdowns."
Quarterback Tom Brady – the No. 12 referenced by Sanders – and the Patriots were held in check throughout a 13-6 loss on Oct. 6 at Cincinnati. Since then New England has scored 84 points in three games (an average of 28.0 per).
No wonder even Steelers offensive players such as Sanders have referenced Brady this week.
"You play against Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, any of these teams passing the ball and putting up 40 points a game, you gotta recognize it," Sanders said. "No disrespect to our defense, these guys are averaging 30 or 40 points a game so we gotta bring our 'A' game.
"We gotta put it up points."
Starting left guard Ramon Foster (concussion) is optimistic about being available to start at New England.
"Little bit better today," Foster said. "I practiced all of today. (Saturday) I'll take one more (test) and see what the docs say. I think I'll be pretty sharp."
Starting right guard David DeCastro (ankle) didn't practice today, the third straight day of preparation he's missed, and he has been ruled out of the game against the Patriots. Reserve offensive lineman Guy Whimper (knee) was a full practice participant and anticipates starting in DeCastro's spot.
"They haven't told me that yet," Whimper said. "I'm taking the approach like I am. I'm a whole lot more confident playing guard this week. If they need me there I'll be ready.
"I'm willing and more than capable of coming in and helping this line out."
The official status report for Sunday's game at New England reads as follows:
WR Markus Wheaton (finger), CB Curtis Brown (not injury related), David DeCastro (ankle) are out; G Ramon Foster (concussion), NT Steve McLendon (illness), TE Heath Miller (not injury related), QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related), ILB Lawrence Timmons (hand), G Guy Whimper (knee) all are probable.