Coach Allen Thursday

On Coye Francies and Rolando McClain: "Both [Rolando] and Coye were able to practice today. Both were limited, but both were able to practice.

On if they're able to practice if they haven't passed all concussion tests: "They've got to pass all the tests. We were able to get them out practicing, get them running around, get their heart rate up a bit. It's still part of the evaluation process. They haven't been totally cleared, but it's part of the evaluation process."

On challenges of Pittsburgh's offense: "I think they've got one of the top quarterbacks in the league, and any time you've got a top quarterback it makes it hard on your defense. [Ben] Roethlisberger's a good quarterback. I don't care what the stats say, I still think they're a good rushing football team. They've got the fastest group of wide receivers that we'll see probably this whole year. They're a tough challenge for us."

On keeping Roethlisberger in the pocket: "I think you try to do that. He's a good quarterback. He throws the ball well from in the pocket, he throws the ball well from out of the pocket. The thing you've got to try to do as much as possible is try to not let him hold onto the ball and let him extend the down whether he's inside or outside the pocket. We've got to have a good plan for that."

On Roethlisberger's ability to hold the ball longer: "I think that that's one of the qualities that he has different from a lot of quarterbacks. He's able to improvise and extend the down. He's also pretty good when he just drops back, sees the defense, and gets it out of his hands too. Whether he's moving around or whether he's throwing it on time, he's still a tough matchup for us."

On possibility of Steelers defense missing [Troy] Polamalu and [James] Harrison: "I think we've got to prepare for the scheme. I think we've got to understand where those guys are going to fit within the scheme. They've got very capable backups. They played well last week. It's going to be a challenge to face that defense regardless of whether those two guys play or not."

On if Carson Palmer's familiarity with the Steelers can help: "I think it helps a little bit. I think he's familiar with the scheme, and he's familiar with the players. That's obviously a help to us, but every year is a different year. They've got new little wrinkles that are different from what they've done in the past. Like I said before, it'll be a challenge."

On role of the sold out crowd at O.co Coliseum: "That will be nice. It's our job to keep the crowd in the game. We've got to come out and play with passion and energy the way we expect our guys to come out and play, and we've got to execute."

On general mentality of the team this week in practice: "I think any time in the National Football League you've got to have a sense of urgency. I think there's a sense of urgency that we've got to continue to improve. I've been pleased with the way practice has gone this week."

On punt returns: "We've got a plan for that, but we'll see as the game goes on how we play that out."

On defensive back situation: "We haven't made a final decision on that. We've practiced a lot of people at a lot of different positions."

On Richard Seymour's knee: "I don't think that's a factor. Like we've said before, when you've played that many years in the league you're going to have some soreness. You're going to have some rest time that you're going to need. I don't think that's really a factor."

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