Among the weapons the Steelers defense has to prepare for this week is a familiar face to the black and gold, Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer.
The Steelers faced Palmer for eight years while he was with the Cincinnati Bengals, and they know what he brings to the table.
“He stays poised in the pocket, he doesn’t let too much stuff rattle him,” said cornerback Keenan Lewis. “He has experience so he knows the throws he wants to make. He can find mismatches real quick so we have to be alert for that.
“We have been watching him a lot. We know what he likes to attack, what they don’t like. We have a feel for him.”
It’s not just Palmer the defense has to be alert for. Running back Darren McFadden brings multiple wrinkles to the Raiders offense, with the ability to hurt a team on the ground or in the air.
“He is a great running back, one of the best in the league,” said Lewis. “He is a fast guy. He can make people miss in space and in closed space as well. You have to have an alert out on that guy. He has soft hands like a wide receiver and runs good routes as well. That can be a problem if we aren’t ready for him.”
McFadden hasn’t had his normal production so far this season, with only 54 yards on 26 carries. He has caught 15 receptions for 105 yards, including 86 yards in the opener against San Diego.
“We know he is an explosive back,” said nose tackle Casey Hampton. “He can go off any time. We are very aware of that. We are not taking it for granted.”
Safety Troy Polamalu, whose status for Sunday’s game has yet to be determined after he didn’t practice for the second straight day, knows the defense has to be on point with the way the Raiders use their running backs.
“You just have to be on your keys,” said Polamalu. “As a safety as good as their play action is they set up screens nicely. We just have to be disciplined in our techniques, our gaps and ready our keys.”
Tags: Casey Hampton, Keenan Lewis, Troy Polamalu
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