Tomlin: 4 things you must know vs. Ravens

  1. Rivalry week: The Steelers start the season off with two AFC North games, heading to Baltimore this week for a game against the Ravens on Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium. Coach Mike Tomlin isn't concerned about the short week to prepare, and is looking forward to what is always a classic matchup.

"We are excited about going to Baltimore and playing the first division road game," said Tomlin. "They are Baltimore and we are Pittsburgh. We understand what that means.

"We're going to be excited; not concerned about the short week. It's week two in this season and we are going into a hostile environment. I am sure there is going to be a lot of excitement associated with that, prime time. I look forward to the challenge and getting to know our team as hopefully we push through it."

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Catching on:** Running back Le'Veon Bell started the season off right rushing for 109 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries against the Browns. But his contribution in the passing game was just as impressive. Bell caught six passes for 88 yards, including a 30-yard reception.

"We are not surprised by that," said Tomlin. "That was an element of his game that was attractive to us a couple of years ago when we drafted him. I think he caught 38 or 40 balls his last year at Michigan State. Le'Veon thinks he can do anything on the football field. I agree with him."

  1. Start me up: William Gay might not be listed as a starter on the stat sheet after a game, but in Tomlin's mind he is. Gay, the fifth defensive back in the nickel package, showed his importance on Sunday with his coverage skills that included breaking up a Brian Hoyer pass on third down as the Browns were driving in a tied game late in the fourth quarter, and again on the Browns final possession breaking up another pass and then tackling Andrew Hawkins for a five-yard loss after a short reception to force a Browns punt.

"To me the nickel corner is a starter in today's NFL with the multiple receiver sets and how significant it is in situational football," said Tomlin. "We view William Gay as a starter, that's why we introduce him with the starters at the beginning of every game. I think that is a component of NFL football now. When you are talking about defense you have a minimum of 12 starters with that nickel corner being the 12th."


Photos from the last victory vs the Browns at Heinz Field on September 7th, 2014.

Everyone plays:** The Steelers defensive line started with Cam Heyward at left end, Steve McLendon at nose tackle and Cam Thomas at right end, but Tomlin continually rotated players in, including Brett Keisel and Stephon Tuitt, and will continue to do so for now.

"Until people distinguish themselves as being core components, or reasons why we win regardless of circumstance, we are going to cast a big net and play all of the guys in a helmet," said Tomlin.

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