- Rookie role:* *Rookie T.J. Watt is the listed as the starting right outside linebacker on the first official depth chart of the regular season, and it's a role he has been preparing for. Watt worked with the first team all through training camp, and started all four preseason games.
"He's been there," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "He's been in that position since day zero. You don't like to anoint people. You like to watch them earn it. We didn't put it on paper. It won't be like he is in a new position when he gets here on Wednesday. It will be the same spot in the huddle he was in (Monday)."* * *Sharing secrets: When the Steelers and Browns meet on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium, there will be some familiar faces on opposite sides of the rivalry. Joe Haden was released by the Browns on August 30 and signed by the Steelers, while Sammie Coates was traded to the Browns on September 2.
There could be some interesting conversations this week, with both players sharing their insight leading into the game. Tomlin, though, thinks that the two have plenty to focus on learning their own schemes, without focusing on what the other team does.
"Joe has enough to do just trying to familiarize himself with being a part of us and what is going to be required from him from that standpoint," said Tomlin. "I am sure some natural give and take and exchange of thoughts will occur over the course of the week. Much like Sammie Coates will be doing similar things in Cleveland.
"I think largely, whether it's Joe or Sammie, with the short period of time those guys are going to be spending the majority of their time getting themselves ready to contribute to their teams."
- Focused on Hue: The Steelers will face their third quarterback in as many games against the Browns on Sunday when rookie DeShone Kizer gets the start. Tomlin said he doesn't focus as much on preparing for a player they have never faced, as he does against the overall plan that Browns Coach Hue Jackson will bring on Sunday.
"We're prepping for Coach Jackson," said Tomlin. "We played those guys twice last year. I think we had a different quarterback in both games. We're familiar with facing him with different quarterbacks. We faced him in Cincinnati with A.J. McCarron. We faced him last year with Cody Kessler. We faced him last year with Robert Griffin III. I am taking that approach. It's less about who the quarterback is. I am looking at the play caller and his approach, and his approach when he's got a new one."