- Hot hand: With Bud Dupree healthy and seeing more extensive playing time at outside linebacker, things are getting interesting as far as the rotation at the position. Coach Mike Tomlin said Dupree and William Gay are definitely at the top of the list, but playing time for the others at outside linebacker, including Anthony Chickillo, Ryan Shazier and Arthur Moats, is all based on performance.
"Until Bud got up to speed that really wasn't a discussion, a four-man rotation is not a discussion. That is pretty fluid," said Tomlin. "A five-man rotation, discussion is more difficult and less fluid. I am really not into five-man rotations. I expressed that to that group last week. As Bud gets up to speed, somebody is going to win, somebody is going to lose. I don't care who wins. I think we all win if we play the hot hand. Those are our intentions.
"If you look at it right now, James is probably going to be in the mix, he has the hot hand as of late. He leads the group and leads us in sacks. Other than that I imagine Bud is going to be part of the group because we are excited about what he potentially could bring us that we haven't seen now that he has his health. The other guys are going to be based on performance and I think that is fair."
Under his skin: Trying to stop Odell Beckham Jr. is not an easy task. Containing him has potential, but there are no guarantee. Trying to frustrate him and get under his skin is something that has happened to the all-everything receiver on occasion. But according to Tomlin, the best way to frustrate him is not to try and intentionally get under his skin, but instead focus elsewhere.
"I think getting under his skin is minimizing his impact on the game," said Tomlin. "We are going to spend our time in that area. If we can minimize his impact on the game, I image that will be frustrating to him and aid us. Spending time talking about anything else is not good, productive, or professional time for us. We have to do what we need to do schematically and technically to minimize one of the most dynamic players in football. That is a tall task."
When Tomlin was asked when Beckham is the most dangerous, the answer was easy.
"Whenever they snap the ball," said Tomlin.
Inside looking out: Playing inside linebacker for the Steelers means one thing, be prepared to rush from the outside as well. And with guys like Ryan Shazier, Ryan Shazier and Vince Williams inside, that isn't a problem.
"They are versatile guys," said Tomlin. "They are inside backers, but both guys were outside like backers in their schemes in college. Both guys worked very hard at developing that aspect of their game. They realize being a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers means that you are a blitzer, you are an interior blitzer, and you are an edge blitzer. They embrace that work. They work get off the way that edge people do. They work their rush moves the way rush men do because it's an aspect of the job."