Denver ready if Pittsburgh tries any trick plays

By FRANK SCHWAB THE GAZETTE Updated: January 17, 2006 at 12:00 am • Published: January 17, 2006
ENGLEWOOD - If the Pittsburgh Steelers pull a few surprises Sunday, the Denver Broncos said they will be ready. The Steelers run a basic, run-oriented offense but will sprinkle in trick plays.
Pittsburgh receiver Antwaan Randle El played quarterback through his college career at Indiana and receiver Hines Ward played some quarterback in college at Georgia. Against Cincinnati in the first round of the playoffs the Steelers snapped the ball to Randle El, who ran to his right and threw a lateral across the field to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger threw to wide-open receiver Cedrick Wilson for a 43-yard touchdown. “You figure when you have shifty guys like Hines Ward, and Randle El and those guys, they’ll do a lot of reverses, double passes, throwbacks and screens,” Broncos tackle Gerard Warren said. “We got to prepare for them.” The Steelers also will occasionally use running back Jerome Bettis on option passes. Bettis has three touchdown passes in his career and threw an incomplete pass against Cincinnati two weeks ago. “You hear about how physically tough football team they are and they’re going to pound you, and they are, but they’re also going to come up with a lot of gadgets,” Broncos safety John Lynch said. “You can expect two or three a game.” Williams dealing Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams, who missed Denver’s final three regular-season games with a groin injury, admitted he struggled at times during Saturday’s playoff game against New England. “I didn’t feel as bad as when I hurt it, but I’m not where I want to be right now, to be honest,” Williams said. Williams intends to keep playing. “It’s not going to get 100 percent,” Williams said. “I’m not even supposed to be playing right now. If I feel like I can go out there and run and compete, I’m going to go out there and play.” Friendly matchup Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he is good friends with Steelers coach Bill Cowher dating back to when Shanahan interviewed for Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator job in 1992, Cowher’s first season as coach. “I just have a lot of admiration for what he’s done and how he handles himself,” Shanahan said about Cowher. “He’s a man’s man, and I just like the way his football teams play.”
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