LB by committee: If Vince Williams, who is battling a hamstring injury, isn't able to go on Sunday against the Falcons, the Steelers will count on multiple linebackers to fill his inside spot. Tyler Matakevich, L.J. Fort and Matthew Thomas have all gotten work this week in different packages.
"We know we are ready," said Matakevich. "All three of us have got to be ready to go in there and rotate and help this defense and help this team, (do) whatever we can do to get this 'W.'
"These coaches know what they are doing. They are going to put you in the best situation. Then it's just up to you to make the plays. They are going to give you a chance, an opportunity to show what you can do. The coaches believe in all of us.
"I know I can do it. I believe in myself. I know these coaches do because they are going to put me in. That helps. At the end of the day you have to go out there and make the play."
Fort stepped in last week against the Ravens when Williams went down, and feels good about the 'next man up' if needed.
"Everybody is confident in their abilities," said Fort. "That is what we are repping in practice. That is my goal, to play. So I am ready for it. I am comfortable with the defense."
Thomas, an undrafted rookie free agent, has benefitted from having Williams and Jon Bostic mentoring him and helping him with his adjustment.
"Those guys are vets," said Thomas. "They know what they are doing. They help me whenever I am lacking in any areas. Especially off the field they help me out a lot."
Do your job: Cameron Heyward has preached it. And his teammates get it.
Do your job.
"We have to make the plays that come to us," said Terrell Edmunds. "We have to stay patient, do your job and be right there and help out your brother. Your brother is expecting you to be in one spot so you have to make those plays that come to you.
"We are giving up too many points. We are not coming up with wins. We have to come out and play our game. We can't start off in the hole again."
Ready to go: Brian Allen was activated from the practice squad to the 53-man roster earlier this week when Nat Berhe was placed on injured reserve. Allen said his focus is the same as it was when he was on the practice squad, to always be ready if needed.
"Technically not much has changed," said Allen. "I was in all of the meetings. Technically my week didn't change. I was still learning defenses. I was in tune with everything.
"I am staying after practice every day, working on technique. I am working on small things to help my game improve. My teammates have said they see my game improving. I see it improving. That helps my confidence."
Where Allen likely will be needed right off the bat is on special teams, with Berhe out and Darrius Heyward-Bey missing time this week with an ankle injury.
"That is my role right now, special teams," said Allen. "Working my way into the defensive role. Everything they are asking me to do, I will do. Stay on top of everything in every meeting. Just staying in tune.
"Because we are down a safety, I am going to talk to the coaches about dime stuff in case they need me. The more you can do. If they put me in there I will be ready."
He said it:
Maurkice Pouncey on James Conner:
"I think he's doing really good. He's doing really great in the pass game. The first game he had really great rushing yards and kind of got off of the game plan a little bit. But we'll see if we can get back to it this week."