Defense looking to stop the run

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By Teresa Varley
Steelers.com

Jaguars running back Fred Taylor might not be a fan of Heinz Field, but he sure ran wild there last month when they beat the Steelers 29-22.

Taylor rushed for 147 yards in the game, while Maurice Jones-Drew added 69 yards.

It wasn't something Steelers players were used to seeing.

"We're standing there watching and you are like holy cow we've never seen a team run on us or beat us at home," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "I don't expect that to happen again. I expect our defense to come out firing. That motivates us as an offense. They give us the ball in good field position and they are fun to watch."

There is no question in the mind of the Steelers defense that the Jaguars are going to challenge them again and come out running. They plan on being ready.

"We are able to get a feel for how they are going to attack us," said defensive end Brett Keisel. "We understand they are going to run the ball because that has been our Achilles heel the last few games. We know that is going to come. We kind of know their personnel. We know our strengths and weaknesses against them.

"They like to run smash mouth and come right at you. They have done a good job of that this year."

The Jaguars game was the first one played without defensive end Aaron Smith, one of the best run-stoppers in the NFL.

But it wasn't just Smith's absence that made the difference.

"We had a lot of missed tackles," said safety Anthony Smith. "Guys weren't filling their gaps like we were supposed to. This time around we've got to be a better tackling team and a better gap-sound team and we'll be good."

 

Travis Kirschke will continue to start with Smith out of the lineup and he will get help from fellow end Nick Eason. It's going to take a full compliment of healthy defensive lineman to get the job done.

 

"We have to dominate the line of scrimmage," said Keisel. "That's what we need to do. That and have faith in each other that we are all going to be where we need to be and make plays for each other.

 

"This is the only team that has come into our house and won this year. All of us want to win. We want to continue on in the playoffs and hopefully we can."

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