New England Patriots week is fully upon us.
Missing practice Wedneday were LBs James Harrison and Jason Worilds, NT Chris Hoke, OL Doug Legursky, and WR Hines Ward.
Ward, though, almost always gets the mid-week practice as a veteran's day off to preserve his body, and I expect him to play this weekend.
Here are a few of the quotables from Steelers players during the Wednesday afternoon locker-room session:
RB Issac Redman
On the progress of the team's running game
"We're developing right now, everything is starting to come together. Our offensive line is finally able to have a set roster. It's [been] kind of tough for them to gel but know it just seems like they're starting to click.
On the job at hand playing New England
"We're going to have to score a lot of points. We've got to keep the ball out of Brady's hands. The longer we're on the field, the longer he's off the field. Hopefully we're able to run the ball very efficient, keep our defense off the field."
On what he remembers from New England defense last year
"They're real technically sound, they tackle well, they're not going to overrun their gaps. They like to blitz, they like to come from everywhere. They're a sneaky blitzing team. You don't pay attention and here comes the corner blitzing out of nowhere. Third down is a big down for us. Me and 'Mo [Mewelde Moore], we'll both be doing some third downs, and the blitz pickup is going to be key."
Is Vince Wilfork as big of a guy as there is in the league?
"He's huge. Watching film today I said, 'How do you block him one one one?' It seems like it's impossible for someone to lock their arms out and take care of him by themselves. He's looked really good on tape and we'll see what our gameplan is coming in trying to deal with him. With him and [Albert] Haynesworth in there at the same time it's almost impossible. I don't ever shy away, though, we'll hit it in there when it's necessary but it's going to be a good competition for us and I can't wait to go out there and play."
On whether the game holds extra meaning
"Like coach Tomlin said, 'It's a five-star matchup because they're in it.' Used to be it's a five start matchup because we're in it. So far this year, we really don't have the respect from a lot of people we've had in the past. So these next upcoming weeks we go out and punch out these wins and hopefully we'll get the respect we deserve."
Troy Polamalu on Tom Brady
"Aside from his great accuracy, he's able to get really comfortable with defenses so he calls out blitzes, puts the linemen in the right directions, and he's able to sit back and get comfortable even with five man pressures. And a lot of times with six and seven man pressures. We'll see how we fare. Some teams have had some success against him by putting him on his back, but a lot of teams have been burned by blitzing as well. It's going to be a tough challenge for us."
Brett Keisel on Brady's quick release
"Hopefully we can deflect a few passes, we saw when Buffalo did that a little bit [they] forced a couple interceptions and one of them went for a touchdown."
On the game's importance
"It's a good chance to see where we're at as far as around the league. We feel good, got a lot of confidence right now. It's still a long road ahead of us."
On Pats RB Danny Woodhead
"Whithead, Whitehead? Woodhead, the little guy, he's a tough runner. You've got to be sure you know where he is at all times."
On Brady's performance against them last year
"He did a good job of reading our defense and getting it off where it needed to be. I think for us if we do a good job with disguising and not showing him what we're running in our defense it'll make it more difficult for him."
Ryan Mundy on fellow Woodland Hills HS grad Rob Gronkowski
"I know he was excited last year coming back to Pittsburgh, he did a little trash talking."