Defense working on adjustments


ROTATION ALTERATION:** The Steelers are contemplating changing things up on defense for Cleveland.

William Gay is in line to start at right outside linebacker against the Browns and be followed at the position by Ryan Shazier.

"As far as the rotation goes, yeah," Jones said.

Jones has started eight of the first nine games (the exception was Harrison starting on Oct. 9 against the Jets).

"They're making a decision for the team," Jones said. "I don't make those decisions.

"I'm a player, take all the coaching, let the coaches make decisions. I just play when I get my opportunity."

Harrison declined comment.

Jones played 37 defensive snaps (57 percent) in last Sunday's 35-30 loss to the Cowboys.

Harrison played 28 defensive snaps (43 percent) against Dallas.

Jones was on the field for running back Ezekiel Elliott's 32-yard, game-winning touchdown run in the closing seconds.

Harrison was on the field when the defense stuffed Elliott on third-and-1 from the Dallas 20-yard line in the fourth quarter.

"I think it'll be the same rotation, we'll still get the same amount of snap counts," Jones said. "It is what it is."


EXPANDED ROLES:** Defensive end Stephon Tuitt knows what the Steelers have lost now that defensive end Cam Heyward has been lost for the season to a pectoral injury.

"As a teammate, as a friend you don't ever want to hear that about anybody," Tuitt said. "All of us are praying for him, it's a sad situation. He played through it (against Dallas) so I didn't think it was that bad. But when you do the MRI you get a chance to see some things.

"It shows his passion, how much he cares. You're going to miss that, not many guys have that. For him to have that and play through an injury like that and stay in the game and try to help us win, that shows a lot about his character. Losing somebody like that is a big component of our defense. Losing a captain is big, too."

Tuitt anticipates seeing more double-teams with Heyward out of the lineup.
"I do expect that but we have a good gameplan going on so we're going to make sure we'll be able to capitalize on those," Tuitt said. "I'm going to mix it up a little bit, get inside the other offensive coordinator's head when we're on the field. I'm going to be doing a lot more, expanding my role. I'm moving a lot more than I usually do.

"We're going to keep rolling with this. I don't see any negativity, positive vibes all the way."

Defensive lineman Vince Williams said he'll be asked to "step up a lot more than I have been doing," in Heyward's absence.

"Cam's gone now, I gotta fill in and be if not better close to it," McCullers said. "I'm feeling good, just going out there playing hard, making plays. That's the biggest thing, be productive."

Defensive end Ricardo Mathews started on Oct. 16 at Miami and on Oct. 23 against New England when Heyward was out with a hamstring injury.

Mathews said he brings "speed, discipline, detail, good vibrations, a lotta good stuff," to the table.

"One man goes down, another man's opportunity to show what he has for the team," Mathews said.

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