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New looks for a new season

Right guard David DeCastro didn't practice today, new right tackle Zach Banner talked about his comfort level playing with Stefen Wisniewski at right guard, and offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner acknowledged some uneasiness generated by shifting up front that has also included Matt Feiler switching from right tackle to left guard.

Fortunately for the Steelers, they still have a rock upon which the offensive line can rely.

In Monday night's regular-season opener at the New York Giants and beyond.

"Any time you have a piece that gets changed up front there's always that little bit of angst, if you will, at least from my perspective," Fichtner said. "I don't think it's from their perspective. They work together. They have unique communication.

"(Center Maurkice) Pouncey ties that whole thing together. I think if you would have said 'Pounce' wasn't sitting there in the middle, then I'd probably say it's not angst, it's nervousness. That'd be a lot greater-type feeling for me. But I do know that these guys are prepared."

The adjustments along the line weren't the only potential offensive changes Fichtner discussed after practice today.

The Steelers prepare for the Week 1 matchup against the New York Giants

Others included:

-An increased reliance on two-tight end formations with Vance McDonald and veteran free agent-addition Eric Ebron: "Eric has been really wonderful. He's been bringing a lot of energy to practice. He obviously loves to be involved with the passing game. He's unique in a lot of aspects. He has tremendous hand-eye coordination, tremendous body control. There's a lot of good opportunities that you can put him in.

"I would see that he and vance will play together a bunch. You will see them out there together."

-The incorporation of second-round wide receiver Chase Claypool: "Chase is unique physically for the position. I think, to his credit, he did the necessary things in the offseason. He didn't get a chance to do it with us. We didn't get a chance to work him in the weight room and work him on the grass, but he learned to be a professional prior to getting here.

"He came in in awesome shape. His body hasn't failed him, and his mind hasn't failed him because of conditioning. He's gotten a lot of reps. I think he's put himself into that talk of being able to be useful earlier in the season and a lot earlier than you probably would expect based on no offseason for a rookie."

-The effectiveness of more motions and misdirections, two areas of expertise of new quarterbacks coach Matt Canada: "Any variation of deception is always good. When you put a package together, whether it's shifts, options, unique-alignment situations, I think it always allows you to potentially maybe unsettle a defense. Maybe in situational football and certain times it's always going to be potentially an advantage.

"Anything that you do, and I've learned this over years and years of coaching, it all comes down to blocking, catching, protecting, ball security. At the end of the day, no matter what you do and how you choose to do it, those are the main things."

And last but not least:

-Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger dealing with emotions he hasn't experienced in a long time, at least initially, while making his comeback from elbow surgery: "I would say 'anxious' would be a perfect word. A couple weeks back when we were in the stadium (Heinz Field), we kind of made it like a scrimmage, we did a pregame, did everything. And just before we went to the first period Ben came up to me and nudged me and said, 'My knees feel a little shaky." And I said, 'What are you talking about?' And he said 'just anxious.'

"He's no different than anybody else. Yes, he has a lot of in-helmet perspectives and a lot of games played. But those juices will be flowing, it'll be exciting for him and I'm excited for him."

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