LATROBE, Pa. - Whenever given the opportunity, Ben Roethlisberger quickly sings the praises of his offensive line.
"We have a line that is as good as any in the business," said Roethlisberger. "They're the catalyst to how good we can be, how good we are."
David DeCastro said hearing things like that from Roethlisberger is something that he doesn't take for granted.
"It's not just the quarterback saying that," said DeCastro. "The quarterback alone means a lot, but a Hall of Fame type of guy like him means a lot. He has been doing this for a long time. That means a lot and it adds extra pressure for us to be great."
DeCastro said the expectations for the offensive line this year are higher than they have been, and that is expected.
"No question," said DeCastro. "Every year they get bigger and bigger as they should. We should be getting better and better, and I think we are. We have to keep going. As long as we play together, we have to keep getting better and pushing for excellence."
A key in that happening is having all of the pieces together, something that was cemented when Alejandro Villanueva was signed to a four-year contract the day the team reported to camp.
"It's nice. It's huge," said DeCastro. "It keeps that continuity growing, experience growing. There is nothing better than getting those live reps, spending more time with (Coach Mike) Munchak. And we have Alan Fancea back for training camp helping us. He is like Coach Munch. He is another one of those Hall of Fame type guys who has the experience and knowledge. He can give us those tips and insight. You can ask random questions and just talk with him."
Ready to compete: Stephon Tuitt loves the competition in the secondary this year, especially at cornerback where the team added veteran free agent Coty Sensabaugh and third-round draft pick Cameron Sutton.
"That is the beautiful thing about camp. We are here ready to compete," said Cockrell. "I know with the guys we drafted, the guys we brought in, everybody is itching to play, including me, including the guys that played some for us last year. That is the best thing about it. We are going to come in here and compete and the best guys are going to play."
He said it: T.J. Watt on going against Alejandro Villanueva: 'Big Al is big. Big Al is big. I will give you that.'