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Rookies ready to roll


FULL SPEED AHEAD:** Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged the existence of the "rookie wall" this week but maintained the rookies the Steelers have relied upon the most this season aren't in danger of slamming into it entering the postseason.

"They haven't been starters the entire season, so I think that's an element of it," Tomlin said regarding defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, cornerback Artie Burns and strong safety Sean Davis. "I think when you look at that erosion, it's usually centered around snap count.

"I'd imagine nobody in that group has much more than 550 snaps. So from that perspective I'm less worried about it than I would be if they were sitting at 1,000 snaps, or something that a wire-to-wire starter would be."

Davis isn't concerned "at all" about holding up mentally and physically while playing on into January.

"I want to keep playing, keep winning," he said.

For Davis, the playoffs are an eventuality he first contemplated, to a degree, upon being drafted by the Steelers.

"The Steelers have a reputation," he said. "They're an awesome team. They have a chance to go for it all every year. That went through my mind, 'I'm on a winning team.'

"I didn't think about it at the beginning (of the season), but now that it's here you have to live in the moment and execute."

Burns said he was excited now that the playoffs are finally at hand.

"The intensity is up," he said. "Everybody in the building is wired in. We are ready to go."

Hargrave, likewise, is feeling energized at the conclusion of the longest regular season he's ever experienced.

"I'm ready, I'm trying to win," he insisted. "We all have the same goal right now, so there's no 'rookie wall.' I'm trying to advance."

MOORE OR LESS: Matt Moore has gone 2-1 as the starting quarterback in place of Ryan Tannehill (knee) in Miami's last three games and went 6-6 as a starter for the Dolphins in 2011.

Steelers cornerback Stephon Tuitt admitted to being less than an expert on Moore.

"I believe he used to play for the Panthers," Cockrell said. "That's about it, though."

Moore, 32, went 7-6 as a starter in Carolina from 2007-2010.

He has a 15-13 career record as a starter.

Moore, 6-foot-3 and 192 pounds, has completed 59.3 percent of his passes, with 41 touchdowns, 31 interceptions and a passer rating of 82.0 in 46 career games (28 starts).

The numbers this season are 63.2 percent, eight TDs, three INTs and a 105.6 rating.

Moore didn't appear in a game in the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons.

"Their offense has pretty much stayed the same without Tannehill in the game," Cockrell said of the Dolphins. "They still move the quarterback around a lot. We'll just continue to prepare as if Tannehill is going to play. If Matt Moore plays, we'll be ready for him, too."


LANDRY DAY:** Cockrell is much more familiar with Jarvis Landry, Miami's most-frequently targeted wide receiver.

"Probably Anquan Boldin," Cockrell said, when asked for a Landry comparison. "He's very good after the catch, very strong hands. He makes difficult catches in coverage."

Landry, 5-11, 206, has 94 receptions (on 131 targets) for 1,136 yards and four touchdowns this season and 288 catches for 3,051 yards and 13 TDs in his three-year career.

The 288 receptions matched Odell Beckham Jr.'s NFL record for the most by a player in his first three seasons.

"We'll do what we've done all year, be disruptive at the line of scrimmage and make plays on the ball," Cockrell said.


DIFFERENT BALLGAME:** Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt is a veteran of three playoff games, enough to have grasped the difference between the regular season and the postseason.

"The speed is definitely taken up another notch, the physicality, as well," Tuitt said. "Everybody out there wants one thing, and that's a Super Bowl ring. You're going to get the best out of everybody. Your opponent's going to give you the best they have.

"It's going to be a physical, fast football game."

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