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Moats likes progress, but work still needed
August 21, 2017 08:45 PM | Teresa Varley
Easy to fix: Early in the season last year communication was an issue for the Steelers' defense. It's something they worked on, and eventually got it figured out.

That issue arose again on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, something Arthur Moats said will be easy to correct.

"I feel like we have done some good things, at the same time there is room for improvement," said Moats. "I feel like from a communication standpoint we can continue to get better. We had some issues that we thought we put to bed last year. They rose back up.

"It's one of those things if you don't put emphasis on it, it can become an issue. During OTAs, training camp, you don't have those issues occur. Until you have a team like the Falcons with the tempo in there on offense, you realize why we have it in place. We hadn't emphasized it. Now that we have seen it in a stadium, we know we can put emphasis on the communications, hand signals so if we see it again we are taken care of."

Mike Mitchell agreed with Moats' assessment, but isn't concerned at this point of the preseason.

"There is a little bit of that sense of false security you get in practice," said Mitchell. "Yes, Ben (Roethlisberger) is trying to attack us. But if we don't have a guy on the field, he waits for us to get the 11th guy in the field. But in game, its full speed, attack, attack, attack. Communication needs to get better, but we played better and it's only the second preseason game. Communication is always going to be critical, especially playing in Pittsburgh on this defense."

Staying positive: JuJu Smith-Schuster has been sidelined with a knee injury, missing Sunday's game against the Falcons. It's been a rough preseason for him, having hurt his ankle early on in training camp as well.

"This probably has been the hardest camp I have been a part of," said Smith-Schuster. "If you go through camp injury free, God bless you. At the same time, it's full pads every day. We go hard every day. It's the most injuries I have had back-to-back. I stay positive, keep pushing.

"It's hard at times. I wish I could be out there with my boys. This past week I wish I was able to go out there and play. But we have to do what is best for the future."

Making a splash: Jordan Dangerfield has heard Coach Mike Tomlin preach about splash plays, and he took it to heart against the Falcons when he came up with two interceptions in the Steelers preseason win.

"It felt great," said Dangerfield. "Just being able to catch my first career interception and another one after that, it felt incredible. Those plays are very important. That is one thing I wanted to show this year, that I can play man coverage, that I can make a play on the ball. I hope that shows them a little something."

Dangerfield hasn't had the easiest road in the NFL, from being released, to not being on a roster his rookie season, to practice squad, to active roster. He knows that every play counts, and he made his count against the Falcons.

"The journey I have been on, I don't take anything for granted," said Dangerfield. "I just come out here and compete every day and work hard. I am thankful for my opportunity."

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