Arguably no one in the Broncos’ locker room knows the Pittsburgh Steelers — as presently constructed — better than Ryan McBean.
After all, the 6-foot-5, 295-pound defensive lineman spent his first two seasons in the NFL (2007-08 and 2008-09) on Pittsburgh’s practice squad. So he got a first-hand look at the defending Super Bowl Champions last season.
Well-versed in Pittsburgh’s defensive scheme, McBean said he has been able to share a few notes about Dick LeBeau’s unit with his offensive counterparts. But he has plenty of confidence that the offense will be ready for the challenge at hand.
“I try to share my part, give my part,” McBean said. “But these guys, they come here to work. All they’ve got to do is just watch tape and it shows for itself.”
While the offense has been focused on game planning for Pittsburgh’s physical defensive unit, McBean and his defenisve teammates have been busy this week preparing for Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ hardnosed offensive attack.
From rushing Roethlisberger for two years — whether it be during training camp or in-season practice sessions — McBean knows the challenges Roethlisberger presents for a defensive front. His agility and strength make him one of the most difficult quarterbacks in the league to take down, according to McBean.
McBean said it is imperative that that the defensive unit keeps Roethlisberger in the pocket, as he is known for doing plenty of damage once he gets outside of the tight end box. Some say Roethlisberger is more susceptible to sacks because he is known for holding the ball for an extended period of time.
But McBean knows recording a sack on Roethlisberger is easier said than done.
“Roethlisberger, he shakes off a lot of guys, a lot of tackles,” he said. “When we get there, we’ve got to not just wrap him up. We’ve got to gang-wrap him up. We’ve got to bring him down because numerous times, guys think they have him and he just shakes them off and continues out of the pocket. We’ve just got to gang pack him and bring him down.”
While some players may try downplaying going up against their former team, McBean admitted than taking on the Steelers on Monday Night Football in Week 9 means something extra to him. He made his NFL debut in Pittsburgh’s 2007 regular season finale at Baltimore.
“Those are the guys, they drafted me,” McBean said. “They gave me an opportunity to be where I am today. It will be great for me to go back and see some of my old teammates and try to beat some of my old teammates.”
Three Broncos did not participate in Thursday’s practice session — Josh Barrett (hamstring), Ryan Harris (toe) and Ryan McBean (knee). David Bruton (groin) and Jack Williams (illness) were limited participants.
For the Steelers, DE Travis Kirschke (calf) and LB Lawrence Timmons (ankle) did not partcipate in Thursday’s practice session.
– Zach Eisendrath, DenverBroncos.com
Here are some pictures from the onset of Thursday afternoon’s practice session: