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Burning Questions

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8 questions for Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who wants to keep his big rookie season rolling in Pittsburgh

The 2nd-round LB is 2nd on the team with 67 tackles

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah wants to finish his rookie season with a bang, and Monday's game in Pittsburgh provides another big opportunity. caught up with Owusu-Koramoah in the days leading up to Monday's showdown with the Steelers. What's it been like over the past two weeks navigating this defense without so many key players?

Owusu-Koramoah: It's the same outlook. You don't necessarily look at one player or another player in a different way. If all 11 guys do their job, then that's what you're keying in on. My responsibility is to do my job and their responsibility is to do their job to equal all up into one team effort and one defensive effort. On that note, was it nice to see so many players back in the fold this week?

Owusu-Koramoah: Yeah, I didn't realize it'd been so many guys. When everybody came back, I was like, "Dang, that's a lot of people." It's been a joy to see everybody back out there and it's been fun at practice. What do you feel like you've improved the most on since your first game?

Owusu-Koramoah: Just patience, in terms of understanding everything doesn't have to be fast. Everything doesn't have to be delayed. Finding that balance on when to go and when not to go. It seems like there are these moments in games where your speed just takes over. Did you expect that part of your game to translate so well to the NFL?

Owusu-Koramoah: Not necessarily. I've always had trust in my ability to run and my ability to play linebacker. I didn't necessarily say in my head, "My speed is going to be a dominant force for me." It has been something that has allowed me to read a little bit in terms of the play development because I know my speed can catch up if I read too much. Earlier this season you were playing 20-30 snaps a game. Now you're in an every-down role. What's it been like to experience that expanded role?

Owusu-Koramoah: It's been a process. It's always a mindset of just trusting the process. There's always a development portion. As I'm taking on this role, I just have to continuously try to be consistent. That's what's been on my mind. I have to be persistent as well as many challenges arise, different schemes and offenses and quarterbacks we play. That's just my mindset to maintain doing my responsibility and doing my job. What kind of pride has the defense taken in how it's played during the second half of the season?

Owusu-Koramoah: It's a bunch of guys who love to get after it. We understand what it means to be a defense when we're all doing our job. We understand what it means to be a great defense. Under (defensive coordinator Joe Woods), we have the right guys, we have the right talent, we have the right effort and we have the right mindset. When everyone does their job and we put all the pieces together, we can be special. That's what all the guys think about is being the best. That's what we're keying on and focusing on as time goes on. We're not really relying on the past, but moving forward to the next game. It's likely Ben Roethlisberger's last game at Heinz Field. What would it mean to make it tough on him in his send-off?

Owusu-Koramoah: It's a great quarterback who will go down as a legend, but we're definitely looking forward to getting the job done. The atmosphere should be pretty crazy because of that. What do you like about playing in those kinds of hostile environments?

Owusu-Koramoah: You feel an edge. There's literally people on your back and going against you. I think we perform well under pressure and that's what we'll be looking forward to.

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