One of the biggest treats in all of training camp is watching the Steelers run their goal line drill. The ball is placed at the three, and it's full-speed, blood-and-guts football on both sides of the ball. On the first 14 full-contact goal line plays this summer, new offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt called 14 straight running plays. "That was a message to our entire team," Whisenhunt says. "Three years ago, when we won 13 games, [the running game] was our identity, and that's going to be our identity this year."
In 2001 Pittsburgh went 13--3 and rushed 580 times (54% of its snaps). Last year the Steelers went 6--10 and abandoned the run early and often, running 446 times (44%). After an impressive preseason, former Eagles workhorse Duce Staley will start in this Sunday's opener at home against the Raiders, with vet Jerome Bettis settling into a six-to-10-carry-a-game mode. "Forget tricking people anymore," Bettis said. "You know what we're going to be about this year."
DREW HALLOWELL/WIREIMAGE.COM (STALEY)
Pittsburgh wants Staley to lead a rushing attack reminiscent of 2001.