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Final thoughts: Full speed ahead

Here are four final thoughts to wrap up the Steelers' preseason.


Check out the highlight photos from the Steelers vs Panthers game.

BRADY SET TO START:** U.S. District Judge Richard Berman's nullification of Tom Brady's four-game suspension ensured the Patriots' quarterback will be eligible to play when the Steelers come calling.

That's just fine with the Steelers.

"Yep, looking forward to it," Heyward confirmed. "What better way to start the season than playing Brady? Our best vs. their best, No. 7 (Ben Roethlisberger) is going to be there, No. 12 (Brady) is going to be there, let's join the party."

Added Allen: "Always hoping to see their best. That way there's no question at the result. You want to play against the best. We want this opportunity. We like this moment."

FULL SPEED AHEAD: The Steelers will open the regular season minus running back Le'Veon Bell, wide receiver Martavis Bryant and center Maurkice Pouncey, but guard Ramon Foster still expects them to start fast.

"We lost a few guys here and there but overall we're going to have to show improvement," Foster said. "We've been in this situation before with Ben being out four games. Guys are going to have to step up. We can't be one of those teams that starts slow, offensively, defensively or on special teams. We have to be red hot and guys have to pick up the slack of having those name-guys out.

"The guys that are still there understand what's going on. The guys that are filling in, their opportunity is at an all-time high right now."


SCOBEE-DOBY-DO:** Josh Scobee's Heinz Field debut as a Steelers kicker included a pair of 27-yard field goals in two attempts.

"Luckily got a couple short ones to get the confidence built," Scobee said. "This place is obviously a tough place to kick later in the year so it was nice to get a couple kicks in, get a few kickoffs and get it rolling for next week."

Scobee navigated Heinz Field's "dreaded open end," which may or may not be as dreaded now that the new seats have been installed behind the South end zone.

"It's been a while since I played here but it wasn't very windy tonight so there wasn't much to really navigate," Scobee said. "It was just about kicking the ball where you wanted and it would go there."

Scobee kicked off three times and registered three touchbacks, one of which went through the uprights on its way out of the end zone.

"As long as it goes out of the back that's fine with me," he said. "I'm trying to hit touchbacks, that's the goal."

CHEERS FOR VICK: Mike Vick was cheered when he started at quarterback against the Panthers, and again when he replaced Landry Jones late in the fourth quarter after Jones had been injured.

"Very thankful, man, a warm reception," Vick said. "It makes me want to go out and do my job even harder.

Vick finished 3-for-5 passing and carried twice for 5 yards.

He was purposely conservative while running with the ball.

"My coach told me don't take any chances, get down, don't take any risks," Vick said. "It's more important going into the regular season healthy and then let it all hang out then.

"I still have the extra step. I was proud of myself because I slid. I think that's something you have to be able to do during the course of a four-quarter game in the regular season. It's all about protecting yourself at the age of 35 and being accountable for your team. I missed too many games in that fashion.

"I'm proud that I'm maturing as a player. There will be times when I pick and choose my spots (to run aggressively), that'll never change."

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