Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Ramon Foster on track to play Sunday
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- Ramon Foster made it through a full practice Wednesday putting the fifth-year veteran on track to start at left guard Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the New York Jets.
Foster sustained a minor pectoral stain in the Steelers’ 34-27 loss to the Vikings on Sept. 29. Coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that the Steelers’ padded practice would be critical in determining whether Foster could play against the Jets.
“It was cool today,” Foster said after the Steelers practiced in full pads. “It’s still going to be one of those day to day things.”
Foster’s availability would mean Tomlin would just have to make one change along the offensive line following the Steelers’ bye.
Kelvin Beachum and Levi Brown are vying to replace the demoted Mike Adams at left tackle.
Brown, whom Pittsburgh traded for last Thursday, said after his second practice with the Steelers that he has a stronger grasp of the playbook.
What has also accelerated his learning curve, Brown said, is that the Steelers pare down their playbook once they start game preparations.
“I’m not sure if I’m going to be starting or not but it they call on me I’ll be ready,” Brown said.
Continuity along the offensive line -- or as much continuity that is possible after a change at left tackle -- will be critical against the Jets.
Defensive line is one of their biggest strengths, and Rex Ryan is a defensive coach who tries to confuse opposing offenses with myriad looks.
“Coach Ryan is a very intelligent defensive coach and sometimes you look at things and you’re like, ‘Did he just draw that up literally on the sidelines?’ He’s that good, ” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said.
Ryan’s scheming and a defensive front that had its way against Atlanta last Monday night is why Roethlisberger said it will help the offensive line if the starters for Sunday are settled on as soon as possible.
“I think it’s important for the line and for their communication to know who they’re blocking, who they’re picking up, who’s down and who’s not,” said Roethlisberger, who was a full participant in practice Wednesday despite nursing a partially dislocated finger on his throwing hand. “That’s why I say it’s important for those guys to know.”