PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Some random thoughts from the Steelers locker room before the Cleveland game Sunday, including Steelers wanting to face Browns fans. Mike Tomlin was right about Keeanu Benton playing time. Patrick Peterson continues to move and thinks it is time for the team to as well.
It was a question from the PG’s Brian Batko to Cam Heyward about the opportunity to play in a first true road environment. What he means by that is in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and to a lessor extent Houston, there were tons of Steelers fans. Wouldn’t expect a Browns fanbase, with the team 6-3, to give up a lot of seats.
“What are you saying, we can’t take over the Cleveland Stadium,” Heyward said with a big smile. “We’ll see.”
“I am excited, honestly, for a road atmosphere in the AFC North,” said Steelers TJ Watt. “You know it’s going to be pretty much us against all of Cleveland. I’m really looking forward to that type of atmosphere.”
Patrick Peterson continues to move around the secondary. He said he’s still getting his feet wet at lining up at new spots. He feels like his communication is improving, but he’s enjoying it immensely. He said you’ll see him make more plays as he has more freedom to hunt those opportunities.
He’s not the only one moving or dealing with change. Minkah Fitzpatrick remains out, safety Keanu Neal is out along with a couple of middle linebackers. They are moving different defensive backs in and out of the lineup, most who have time with the team but a few others relatively new. Peterson said they’re doing ok because they’re prepared.
“Coach Tomlin and (secondary coach) Grady (Brown) and TA (defensive coordinator Teryl Austin) does a great job throughout OTAs and mini-camp and training camp for situations like this because it’s a long football season. There’s going to be guys in and out of the lineup. We have to make sure that the guy whose number is called is ready to go.”
“As Coach Tomlin says, you have to be able to jump on this moving train, because we can’t slow down for you because we have places to be and places to go.”
He said all of that is coupled with the confidence Peterson has in the Steelers front office to bring in the right players.
Right by Benton
Many wishing rookies, like Keeanu Benton, got more reps from the start of the season. The first-year nose/defensive tackle said on Friday, he thinks the reason he’s come on (six tackles against Green Bay) is because of how he was brought along instead of being thrown in the fire. Now that he’s getting more reps, because he has a deeper understanding of what is going on, he’s able to improve quickly.
“That’s something I’ve been getting taught from the older guys and through our coaches,” Benton said. “I’m just starting. I don’t think it’s been drastic changes, but just fine tuning those details and nuances of the game.”
A veteran of 13 years in the NFL, Peterson said now is the time for the Steelers to show who they are.
“I’ve been in the league for a long time and I understand that November and December football is the most important,” Peterson said. “It’s when you separate the pretenders and the contenders.”
“If we want to be that playoff team. If we want to be a championship caliber football team, this is the time where we have to start separating ourselves.”
“I believe we have the guys in this locker room. We definitely have the coach that has been there and done that and understands the importance of November and December football.”