The Pittsburgh Steelers have a 13-1 record when playing against rookie quarterbacks since Dick Lebeau returned to the team in 2004 as their defensive coordinator.

The victims: Eli Manning (2004), Charlie Frye and Kyle Orton (2005), John Beck (2007), Joe Flacco three times (2008), Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy twice (2010), Blaine Gabbert and Andy Dalton twice (2011).

The lone loss to a rookie QB came in a meaningless Week 17 game for Pittsburgh in 2007, as Troy Smith of the Baltimore Ravens defeated Charlie Batch and the Steelers 27-21. Smith was just OK that day, going 16 of 27 for 171 yards and 1 TD.

You could easily make the case that Pittsburgh has never lost a meaningful game to a rookie QB in the 2nd-Dick-Lebeau-era.

However, several members of the 2012 Pittsburgh 'D' admitted that things are different this week as they prepare for Washington Redskins rookie QB sensation Robert Griffin III.

"A regular other rookie a few years ago, I'd be sitting here on Wednesday with no problem," said Steelers LB Larry Foote. "I wouldn't be sweating, I'd just know our defense is going to kill him. But this guy presents a lot of challenges for us, and we've got to be ready. A lot of teams, I'm quite sure their record has been good against rookie [QBs]. This guy is different. He can cause some problems."

Steelers defensive linemen Brett Keisel and Casey Hampton agreed.

"He's very good, he's just as advertised," said Keisel. "Makes a lot of plays with his wheels but can also step into a good throw. One of those talented young kids that is exciting to watch play and hopefully we can get after him."

Hampton added, "He can play, man. You just look at his body of work over the first six, seven games of the year, he's exciting. It's definitely going to be a challenge for us. I respect him for what he's done. He's showing up, week in and week out. You try to keep him in the pocket and just to keep him contained as best as possible. He's a hell of an athlete, he's going to make a couple of plays here and there, but you've got to do your best to contain him. It's tough to keep a guy who's that fast from doing anything."

In terms of the style of offense that Washington has built around Griffin, it might be unique to anything Lebeau's defenses have faced in the past nine seasons under his watch.

"I mean, it's straight college," said Foote. "I've played against a couple teams that ran this stuff but not with an athlete like RGIII. And the scheme that [Mike] Shanahan has them boys playing, it's going to be a big challenge for us."

Hampton agreed that the Redskins offense was unique, but wouldn't go so far to call it a college offense. "It's a little different, it's a little option," said Hampton. "But it ain't that option like you think, he isn't really out there taking those hits like a real option QB is, you can't do that with that guy. He's doing just enough to keep you honest. You know what he can do if he keeps the ball in his hands. When he sticks in there he gives it to the back a little bit more than he keeps it. I think that's by design you don't want to get your quarterback, the 2nd pick, hit too many times."

Keisel praised the role of the Washington offensive line in the scheme as well.

"Obviously we have played against some 'Wildcat' and things like that but it's probably since my days against Air Force going against an offense like this," said Keisel, referring to his days with BYU in college. "The [Redskins'] offensive line doesn't just come at you, they get you on the edge. They're very quick, athletic guys so they're cutting a lot people off and creating creases. Everyone's going to have to play hard and smart. They do a lot of things on the edge, a lot of sideline to sideline runs. [Griffin] is very explosive. We're all going to have to play gap sound, smart, team football in order to be able to contain him."

Most of the NFL's 2012 rookie QB crop is holding their own around the league. Griffin, Andrew Luck of Indianapolis, Russell Wilson of Seattle, and Ryan Tannehill of Miami have a combined record of 14-13 through Week 7 of their rookie campaigns. Only Cleveland's Brandon Weeden at 1-6 has struggled to keep his team in contention.

"The amount of young rookie [QBs with success], I haven't seen that, " said Foote. "[As a guy who] grew up watching the game and early in my career, I think Ben [Roethlisberger] was like the only young rookie to come in this game and have success. We're in some uncharted waters with what some of these young kids are doing."

But as Foote noted, like with the second year struggles of Carolina's Cam Newton, things can change fast in the NFL.

"Cam is still a young guy, I mean he can turn this season around," said Foote. "[But] you've got to keep getting better, you can't slip. This game will humble you, I don't care who you are. You've got to always keep working, because it will catch you."

Dick Lebeau's defense will be the ones attempting the catching this Sunday at Heinz Field.

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