Defense ready to play as a unit

The starting defense you are going to see on Sept. 9 when the Steelers visit the Cleveland Browns has yet to take the field as a complete unit this preseason, but on Saturday when they play against the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field, they are going to be a lot closer to it.

They still could be missing T.J. Watt, who continues to work his way back from a hamstring injury, but otherwise it should be the final dress rehearsal for a defense that is looking forward to working together as a whole.

"This game is important because it is the game where we showcase our starting unit for the first half," said Sean Davis. "I think it's imperative that we are all out there to get that chemistry, to get something on tape of us all being able to play together, playing well together. I am looking forward to that.

"I think we just need to all get out there first and see our best 11 working together. I think that's what we need to get done."

Artie Burns sees this as the perfect opportunity for the defense to wrap a bow around the chemistry that will be a key when games count. 

"It's a chance to put everything together, make sure we are all out there playing on one accord and flying around out there together as a group," said Burns. "We have some guys playing some games, some games not. It will be our first game out there everybody playing together as one.

"It's important for us because chemistry plays a big role, especially on defense. We have to get our chemistry going early."

The defense has been working on their communication throughout training camp and the offseason, and Joe Haden likes that they have one more opportunity to put it to work as a unit before the regular season hits.

"Just to get a little camaraderie, just being able to play against a different team with our starters," said Haden. "Being able to communicate with our safeties, communicate with the linebackers. I think it's going to be a good test for us and watch some tape and see what goes on.

Home sweet home: Saturday will be the first time rookie Terrell Edmunds plays in front of the home crowd at Heinz Field, and even though it's not the same as a regular season game, he is looking forward to it.

"I am ready for it," said Edmunds. "I can already see the fans are crazy, now to have them at the home field it's going to be amazing."

The Steelers prepare for the Week 3 preseason matchup against the Tennessee Titans.

They said it:

Bud Dupree on the defense coming together:
"There is a lot that goes into the defense. Everybody has to be on the same page. Everybody has to do their job to make it flow. It is a different type of defense. For it to be successful everyone has to be clicking."

Javon Hargrave on Saturday's game:
"It's the third preseason game so everybody is coming with their game plan. It's getting ready for the regular season, so everyone is anxious to get out there. We will have all of our parts back, so it will be a lot of fun."

Dan McCullers on stepping up:
"I feel like I have stepped my game up. I've learned a lot. This is a big year. I feel like I can help this team a lot. I have to keep working. That is what the coaches want me to do. I just have to go out there and put my best foot forward and show what I can do and help the defense. Just keep playing aggressive, physical, going out each and every play and trying to upgrade."

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