Formulating a gameplan

The standard decrees a next-man-up approach be applied, as it always is when injured players have to be replaced.

But since quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is the player who has to be replaced on Thursday night against the Ravens, the Steelers are giving next-man-up Mike Vick a little wiggle room.

"That's still our mentality, but that being said this is the quarterback that touches the ball every single play," offensive coordinator Todd Haley explained. "He's not just stepping in and doing what Ben did, so to speak. He's going to be doing what gives Michael Vick the best chance to help us succeed."

Vick, 59-50-1 in his career as an NFL starter with the Falcons, Eagles and Jets, took over the running of the Steelers' offense today.

The gameplan had been formulated prior to practice based on Haley's opinion of how what Vick does well can best be applied to what the Steelers do well.

Vick had a voice in that process, as well.

The Steelers prepare for the week 4 contest against the Baltimore Ravens.

"I've stood on the other sideline enough and held my breath at different times in my career when he's been out there playing quarterback to have a vision," Haley said. "At the same time you have to go by what you see, and he's been here now long enough (since Aug. 25) and I watch him close when he's running 'Card O' (the scout team offense) and those types of things. I think you get a feel for what guys like to do.

"And then we had a good sit down (Monday night) really to get into likes, dislikes, comfort level, all those things. I think it's all important."

The Steelers have been forced to make a change at the most important position on the field during a dreaded "short week" in advance of Thursday.

But Haley doesn't necessarily see the condensed preparation schedule as a disadvantage.

"Coaches like security blankets, more is better; (Bill) Parcells would kill me for saying it," Haley said. "So knowing it's a short week you gotta use your head and keep things pretty simple I would think. So maybe in the long run it's a blessing.

"Any time you (replace a starting QB) you gotta be on your toes and you gotta push forward. And if you are and you have good players, you'll have success."

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