When it comes to aggressive blitzing, the Pittsburgh Steelers may be the best in the NFL. The Steelers have the league's fourth-best overall defense and their plus-7 turnover ratio is No. 3 in the AFC.
"What they do is try to pressure you from all areas," said Coach Art Shell, whose team plays host to the Steelers on Sunday. "They like to bring people from everywhere. The only predictable thing about their defense is their unpredictability. They're not afraid to bring anybody at any time."
Kevin Greene leads the AFC with 10 sacks, and the Steelers lead the league with 40. They have allowed the opposition only 13 touchdowns all season, which also is a league low.
During the exhibition season, Pittsburgh handed the Raiders their only loss without showing much of their defensive blitz package.
"They really didn't blitz much against us in that game," Shell said. "They came a few times, but most of those came when we had our young guys in there."
"The only way you can beat their blitzes is to be prepared for them and to be ready for the people they like to bring."
Pro Bowl cornerback Rod Woodson is one player Pittsburgh likes to blitz from all over the field. Woodson is second on the team with 57 tackles, second with three interceptions, and first with 15 pass defenses, four blocked passes and three forced fumbles.
The Raiders' Terry McDaniel continues to have an outstanding season. McDaniel leads the AFC with seven interceptions and is on pace to set a single-season best with 46 tackles, 18 pass defenses and three fumble recoveries. McDaniel also has scored three touchdowns.
Not practicing Thursday were left tackle Gerald Perry because of flu and defensive tackle Nolan Harrison because of a hip injury he suffered in practice Wednesday. Both players are expected to play against Pittsburgh.
Cornerback Lionel Washington (leg) also did not practice and is listed as questionable, while center Don Mosebar, who also is listed as questionable, did practice.