A little bit of this, and a little bit of that as the Steelers prepare to take on the Philadelphia Eagles.* *
No job too small: Linebacker Lawrence Timmons said he is seeing growth in the defense from last year, which was defensive coordinator Keith Butler's first year at the helm.
"It's evolved a whole lot," said Timmons. "You see the way it's carrying over to the grass here and that has been pivotal to our success.
"The defensive line is doing a great job, even though we don't have that many sacks. We are getting turnovers, we are physical, and we are stopping the run. So far so good."
Timmons said the linebackers are doing more in the defense, including dropping back incoverage, and it's something they welcome.
"There is no job too small for us," said Timmons. "We are rushing, blitzing, and run to the ball. We all want to bring something to the table. We are just all together a hungry defense."
Rookie threat: The defense will face Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz on Sunday, and while he has been hot so far the goal is to cool him off.
"We want to confuse him," said cornerback Ross Cockrell. "We are going to show him some things that we haven't shown before this season. Our communication is going to have to be strong."
Challenge accepted: Wide receiver Sammie Coates is proving he can be a threat for the Steelers offense, someone Ben Roethlisberger can throw deep to.
At the same time Coates knows that he has to continue to grow and develop so Roethlisberger can count on him. Roethlisberger challenged Coates last week against the Bengals to step things up, and he responded and wants to keep moving in the right direction.
"I have to do a better job finishing my routes," said Coates. "That is one thing about me, I am growing every day. I am learning. I am getting a feel for everything. That is one thing you have to do is grow every day. It's part of the game. Every day you have to take a step forward. That is what I do. I have to come to practice and keep gaining his trust."
The wide receiver corps gets a boost this week with the return of a healthy Markus Wheaton, something that will pick up the competition.
"It's football," said Coates. "You go out there and work and compete against each other and make each other better. It's what we do as a group of wide receivers. I think we have one of the best wide receiver groups. We do a good job of going out there and showing we are capable of making plays."
Baby on board: And then there is this. Guard Chris Hubbard missed practice time this week and for a great reason, the birth of his son, Creed Eason Hubbard. Congrats to Chris and his wife Tamara.