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Steelers Steelers Report: 10/16/03

Thursday, October 16, 2003

By Ed Bouchette, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

NEWS & NOTES

The worst defense in the red zone, and the fourth-worst offense in the red zone spent a lot of time yesterday practicing ... in the red zone. "We as a staff wanted to do a better job of putting our players in positions where they can make plays, and we have to execute better down there," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "We have to be more efficient." Once opponents have cracked the Steelers' 20, they have scored touchdowns 81.3 percent of the time (13 of 16). The Steelers have scored touchdowns only 31.8 percent of the time they've crossed the 20 (7 of 22). "We looked at it as a staff the last couple of days," Cowher said. "The big part of the emphasis today was working in the red zone on both sides of the ball, some special situations as well."

Cowher talked to his players yesterday about expectations -- those gone by and those approaching. "This is not where anybody expected us to be. It's not where we intended to be, but this is where we are," Cowher said. "At the same time, after six weeks we're one game behind in the loss column to Cleveland, two behind Baltimore. Our destiny's still in our hands. ... The biggest thing is we can't go out and dwell on the last six weeks. We open up a 10-game season about 10 days from today and that's how we're going to approach it."

Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw and the rest of the Fox NFL Sunday crew will bring their studio on the road to an AFC city for the first time when they broadcast from Heinz Field before the Oct. 26 game between the Steelers and St. Louis Rams. The occasion will mark the Steelers' 1,000th regular-season game. Joining Bradshaw will be the regular cast of Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson and James Brown.

Kimo von Oelhoffen leads the Steelers with four sacks, which ties his career high. The rest of the defense, though, has not been getting to the quarterback nearly as often as it did last season, when the Steelers led the AFC with 50 sacks. They have 11 sacks, putting them on pace for 29.

WR Hines Ward (foot) and S Mike Logan (groin) will not practice this week for precautionary reasons. Cowher said he expects they will practice Monday, when the team returns from three days off.

QB Tommy Maddox has been sacked 20 times in six games in which he threw 211 passes. Last season, he was sacked 26 times in 12 games in which he threw 377 passes.

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