Jackson, Lynch will both be a challenge

The Steelers have been watching film on Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson for a few days and the more they watch the more praise they have for him.

"The thing he brings to the table is he is tough," said linebacker James Farrior. "He is a tough quarterback. He doesn't get easily rattled. He is going to be tough to bring down because he is strong in his legs."

Keeping Jackson contained in the pocket is going to be a key, because if they don't he can wreak havoc.

"He is a leader for them," said linebacker Lawrence Timmons. "He is a tough guy, he is a scrambler. We have to watch out for him coming out of the backfield. We have to look for him when he scrambles, buying time for his receivers to open up.

"We are going to have to stay in our rush lanes because we don't want him to escape the pocket. We have to contain him. That is going to be big for us."

Jackson isn't the only offensive weapon the Steelers will have to contend with. They also will have to focus on running back Marshawn Lynch.

"They have a great running back and they are going to try to give him the ball," said defensive end Aaron Smith. "If I was them I would do the same with the running back they have and go from there. He is a fantastic running back. I have a lot of respect for him and the way he runs the ball."

Lynch didn't put up big numbers in the Seahawks loss to the San Francisco 49ers last week, gaining just 33 yards on 13 carries. But that isn't a typical Lynch performance.

"Lynch is their workhorse," said Farrior. "We expect them to give the ball to him a lot. He is probably going to carry the load for that team. He is a great running back. We expect him to have the ball a lot."

Former NFL defensive tackle Warren Sapp, now an NFL analyst, took shots at the Steelers defense and wide receiver Hines Ward on Showtime's Inside the NFL.

Sapp knocked the Steelers defense overall because of age and took shots at individual players.

"The Pittsburgh Steelers - I have three things: old, slow and it's over," said Sapp on the show. "It's just that simple.

"James Harrison told us that he was 70-to-75 percent. It looked more like 40 percent to me if you are looking at the ballgame I was looking at. And Hines Ward, Mercedes Sapp can cover Hines Ward right now. You have to be kidding me…Mercedes is my 13-year-old daughter. She will cover Hines Ward in a heartbeat. And Troy Polamalu, Ed Dixon runs this crossing route. Troy Polamalu is trying to grab him to have a pass interference and he can't even get close enough to grab him. (It) looked like he was dragging a wagon behind him. Touchdown Baltimore. Pittsburgh Steelers done."

Steelers players weren't angered by Sapp's comments, but they certainly don't agree with them.

"The guy has earned the right to say what he wants to say," said Chris Hoke. "He is one of the best defensive tackles ever to play the game, but I don't agree with it."

Cornerback Ike Taylor laughed at the comments, but defended the defense.

"That's his opinion," said Taylor. "I don't have anything to do with what he says. I can't control what he says. Once you get a certain age, you get labeled as old. That's kind of understandable. Just the group of guys we do have, age isn't a factor."

Harrison wasn't fazed by Sapp's comments when asked about them.

"That's his opinion," said Harrison. "It don't matter. He don't write my checks."

Harrison said that the Steelers "played terrible. Point blank; period," against the Ravens and it will take more than a game or two to make people change their opinions of the team.

"You aren't going to be able to quiet everybody in one week anyway," said Harrison. "Those who jump on the bandwagon when this is over with let them do what they do."

Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring) did not practice on Thursday.  Guard Chris Kemoeatu (knee) and cornerback Bryant McFadden (hamstring) were limited in practice.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.