Steelers Notebook: Lewis ... Bring on the running game


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Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is not bothered by the declaration of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians that the Steelers will run the ball against the Ravens' defense when the teams meet tonight at Heinz Field.

Lewis said Willie Parker, who leads all NFL backs with five 100-yard games, was running well last year, too, but the Ravens held him to 50 yards on 23 carries in two lopsided victories.

Parker had 259 yards in the two games before the Nov. 27 meeting in Baltimore and 354 yards in the two games before the Christmas Eve game at Heinz Field.

"The bottom line is, we understand before we get to them, how well they're playing," Lewis said. "For our defense, we don't believe in 100-yard rushers. We don't believe in people running the ball and controlling the game on us. That is why we always know how we have to play Pittsburgh."

McFadden to play

Nickel back Bryant McFadden has practiced all week in substitution packages and expects to resume his usual role as the third cornerback against the Ravens.

McFadden has missed the past three games with a high ankle sprain and was replaced in those defenses by rookie cornerback William Gay.

"I feel a lot better," said McFadden, who had never had an ankle injury of any kind before this. "I have to show them I'm ready to come back. I'm hoping to do that with these practices."

Kreider healthy, too

Fullback Dan Kreider, who has a sprained ankle, has practiced all week and should play against the Ravens.

Kreider, not Carey Davis, started and was going to be "featured" against the Bengals last week, coach Mike Tomlin said. But he was injured on the first series and did not return.

"I don't know what that means, to be honest," Kreider said. "I've never been highlighted in my life. I try to stay under the radar as much as possible at fullback. We were just going more vertical with the running game to hit some holes inside."

It was the second game in a row Kreider has started at fullback, the position he held since the 2002 season. But he said he does not know if he is again considered the No. 1 fullback.

"I think whoever is healthy and ready to go, they're just going to put them out there," Kreider said. "I'm prepared to do whatever they ask. I'm not looking to see who's going to be in there or when. I just go as the game goes."



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