View Full Version : Tribune Review: Defensive line remains confident, ready for Saints

11-12-2006, 01:05 AM

By John Harris
Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Steelers face the New Orleans Saints today at Heinz Field, and everyone on the defensive line remains confident, despite the team's 2-6 record.
There is no time for panic against New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, running backs Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush, and explosive first-year receiver Marques Colston, just time for the Steelers D-line to start making more plays.

It's hard to remember any big plays made by a Steelers defensive lineman in last Sunday's 30-21 loss to Denver. Think about it. Nothing significant from nose tackle Casey Hampton. Ditto for ends Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith, who need to turn their games up a notch.

But the Steelers believe they will take a step forward -- instead of taking yet another step back -- against the surprising 6-2 Saints, who have a quality offensive line led by center Jeff Faine, left guard Jamar Nesbit and left tackle Jammal Brown.

"It's like everybody says. We have to focus on ourselves, concentrate on what you've got to do, and trust your brothers,'' said Smith, who leads all Steelers defensive linemen with 33 tackles and 21/2 sacks.

The Steelers limited Denver's potent ground attack to 115 yards, but 72 yards came on a single play when receiver Javon Walker scored on a reverse as the defense broke down and missed several tackles. Walker also burned the secondary for two touchdown catches.

"In this league, you can't relax for a minute. We just can't give those plays,'' Smith said. "And if you do give those plays, it's hard to win football games.''

New Orleans presents another difficult challenge for the Steelers.

They're going to have their work cut out for them, if they can get some pressure up the middle and collapse the pocket, force McCallister to run outside then we can slow them down pretty well.