Defense keeping things in perspective


The flaws on defense were obvious on the stat sheet and to the naked eye at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

But what transpired in Saturday afternoon's 43-19 preseason loss to the Bills wasn't enough for Steelers' defenders to lose confidence or perspective.

"We're not really looking for excuses but we have some new things going on that we're trying to implement," linebacker Vince Williams said. "We're gonna jell. We're gonna get better. Thank God this happened in the preseason, it still gives us time to eliminate some of those mistakes.

"A lot of this stuff is new. I think really we're coming together, to be honest with you. That was just a bad game. I think when it's all said and done we're going to be pretty solid."

Added safety Will Allen: "I think we're on the right track. That's what the preseason is for. We're going against a different team, going against looks we haven't seen. That's what the preseason is for, to fine tune, make adjustments and learn from our mistakes.

"That's what pro's do."

The Steelers hadn't yet reviewed Saturday's video when they met the media today.

Allen didn't need a second look to dissect what transpired on Bills running back Fred Jackson's cutback and 41-yard scamper to the Steelers' 1-yard line on Buffalo's first offensive snap.

"I take a side away," Allen explained. "I took a side away and (cornerback) Will Gay got blocked and (Jackson) went around Will Gay. You hope that you can take one side away and somebody else can help you.

"That's what happens sometimes. Sometimes players get blocked. Sometimes players get tripped up."

The Bills' second possession ended on a 67-yard touchdown pass to tight end Charles Clay over Williams and in front of safety Shamarko Thomas

"I take full responsibility for that," Williams said. "I opened to the wrong side. The guy split the seam on the back side. I should have been over there."

Added Thomas: "My fault, I gotta make the tackle. I can't slip up on the play."

And with that the Bills were on their way to 43 points and 542 total net yards, much of it gained against second- and third-team defenders but all of it costly.

"After the last performance I don't feel like we had too much to look at that was encouraging," linebacker James Harrison said. "It's still the preseason but there are still things we're going to need to fix and adjust to. We have another week and then we'll roll into the season and see what happens.

"I think it's a combination of everything, players, calls and the biggest thing is just execution of the defense and beating the man in front of you."

Allen said it's not so much the volume of what's different that the defense is still sorting its way through as it is the details of those schematic alterations.

"You need algebra to do calculus," he explained. "Sometimes in your mind you may get the problem mixed up. You may do the algebra steps and then forget the calculus part, or do the calculus part and forget the algebra steps.

"We have this last preseason game coming up (on Thursday night against Carolina) and then Thursday night (Sept. 10) against New England. Hopefully, by then all the cobwebs and all the dust will be cleaned off and we'll be shining and ready to go."

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