Steelers still searching for right mix on the line
The Steelers' revolving door at left tackle continued to swing this week.
Second-year player Kelvin Beachum and seventh-year veteran Levi Brown, acquired Oct. 2 in a trade with Arizona, have split first-team reps this week, as the Steelers (0-4) prepare to face the New York Jets (3-2) in East Rutherford, N.J. Both should play, but the starter likely will be a game-time decision.
Second-year pro Mike Adams, who started the opening four games, was demoted to third team and primarily played on the scout team this week.
''They're all getting work,'' Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said. ''We're trying to get them all better and ready to go.''
Beachum replaced Adams in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings Sept. 29 in London, but that was the most extensive playing time he's had at the position. He primarily has been a right tackle.
''We've been splitting the reps all week, so we'll see what happens in the game,'' Beachum said. ''It's to the coach's discretion who he plays and what the other guy will do, but I've been preparing the past two weeks like I've always prepared, just in case my number is called and get an opportunity. I do believe that I'll play, one way or another.''
Brown was selected by the Cardinals No. 5 overall in 2007, and has been at left tackle most of the time. In Arizona, Haley was his coordinator for two seasons. Brown believes the Steelers offense is similar to the one Haley had with the Cardinals, and that has helped the transition.
''It was all about learning the terminology and making adjustments for all the plays that are in,'' Brown said. ''That's the biggest thing I had to do, and it was important for this week against a defense that likes to do a lot of moving around to try to get somebody open to get a free hit on the quarterback.''
The Jets have won two of the past three games, and are coming off a victory in Atlanta Monday night. Their defense will surely test a Steelers line that needs some confidence.
''I've made the adjustments pretty well, and with a week under my belt, I feel pretty good about it so far,'' Brown said. ''It's a fresh start for me, and I'm eager to get started with it. Hopefully, I can help us turn this thing around, win the division and get in the playoffs.''
Ramon Foster should help. He will be back at left guard, after aggravating a left pectoral injury against the Vikings.
''Levi has picked up the playbook pretty good, and he's done all right this past week,'' Foster said. ''Beachum is a solid player. I'm not sure which one of those guys is going to start or how much either one will play, but with the help of the rest of us, I'm sure Levi will be on top of it ... if it's him.
''And Beach already knows what he's doing, so I have no problem with either one of them getting the call.''
NOTES: Foster (left pectoral muscle), quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (right index finger) and tight end Heath Miller (not injury related) were full participants in practice Friday and are listed as probable. ... Rookie wideout Markus Wheaton (right pinky finger) had surgery and is out. ... Linebacker Kion Wilson was re-signed Friday and assigned to the practice squad. Rookie Alan Baxter was released to make room for Wilson.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org