Getting on a moving train and riding

It isn't the way they intended to run the offense, but nor is it a bridge too far.

It wasn't on Nov. 24 at Cincinnati or last Sunday against Cleveland, and because it wasn't it might be easier to pull off again this Sunday in Arizona and beyond.

"Most definitely," wide receiver Deon Cain maintained. "I was talking to 'K-Whyte' about it, the new guy that came in, No. 40. I was just telling him a lot of people are starting to adapt now. We're starting to feel a little more comfortable. And now that we're actually going out and making plays together it's kinda making us as one now.

"We're feeling a little bit more at home now because the guys are embracing us, they see we're contributing."

"K-Whyte,' running back Kerrith Whyte Jr., feels the same way, which isn't surprising since he and Cain were acquired on the same day.

"The culture, the closeness that's here, how everyone's tightly knit together, it's great to see," Whyte said. "That's what great teams are, it's a brotherhood.

"It's good to be a part of it."

Cain and Whyte were two of five players who touched the ball against the Browns that weren't on the season-opening, 53-man roster.

That group included starting quarterback Devlin "Duck" Hodges.

All had a hand in the Steelers' 20-13 victory over the Browns as well as a hand on the ball.

Hodges completed 14 of 21 passes for 212 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

Cain had one catch for 5 yards and drew a critical pass interference penalty.

Whyte carried three times for 10 yards and returned three kickoffs for 72 yards.

Wide receiver Tevin Jones had one reception for 28 yards.

And tight end Nick Vannett caught one pass for 7 yards.

The Steelers prepare for the Week 14 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals

None of those guys were in the picture when the regular season opened on Sept. 8 at New England.

Cain and Whyte were signed on Nov. 16, Cain off the Colts' practice squad and Whyte off the Bears' practice squad

Jones was promoted from the Steelers' practice squad on Nov. 14.

Vannett was acquired in a trade with the Seahawks on Sept. 25.

And Hodges landed on the active roster on Sept. 16, shortly after he had been brought back to the practice squad on Sept. 10.

It had been the same the week before in Cincinnati, when running back Trey Edmunds (added from the Steelers' practice squad on Oct. 11) carried twice for 7 yards (Vannett didn't have a catch against the Bengals).

"Tip of the hat to them," offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said. "They've come in and they've learned, they've listed and they've worked. They've put themselves in position to play because we needed them and the rest of the group accepted them and it's been great."

Vannett is in his fourth NFL season, but still had to get on a moving train with the Steelers.

Cain played for the Colts against the Steelers on Nov. 3 (he was targeted twice but didn't catch a pass) as a first-year pro.

Hodges, Whythe and Jones have made their NFL debuts this season.

Edmunds has carried the ball with the Steelers for the first time this season, and for the first time in the league since 2017.

Working so many new faces in at the same time has its disadvantages.

The most challenging of which is "being all on the same page," offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner maintained.

"We still fight some of that every day in practice," he said. "But that's why we practice and try to get as many reps in as we possibly can. Like we talked about with the young quarterbacks, they're going to make a handful of mistakes just being young and growing and learning every week. You hope you're not making other mistakes around them because that compounds the problem.

"I've been really pleased with the new and the young guys that have had to play and step into their roles. They've aggressively attacked their job and I appreciate it."

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