Ped­er­son sees Steel­ers game as gut check

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Bob Grotz bgrotz@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @BobGrotz on Twit­ter

Doug Ped­er­son knows his 2-0 Ea­gles will face their tough­est test this Sun­day when the Steel­ers come to Lin­coln Fi­nan­cial Field.

PHILADEL­PHIA >> Two un­beat­ens with su­per-sized quar­ter­backs play­ing for the Key­stone State cham­pi­onship.

The ex­cite­ment is real, and it’s grow­ing for Doug Ped­er­son as he preps the Ea­gles to play the Steel­ers Sun­day at Lin­coln Fi­nan­cial Field.

“This will be a good test for us,” Ped­er­son said. “This will be a great op­por­tu­nity for our play­ers to go against a fine foot­ball team. The Steel­ers have great tra­di­tion, great his­tory. They are a good foot­ball team. Coach Mike Tom­lin does a great job of get­ting those guys ready to play.”

The Steel­ers have outscored Wash­ing­ton and the Ben­gals, 62-32. With Le’Veon Bell sus­pended, run­ning back DeAn­gelo Wil­liams leads the league with 237 rush­ing yards and two touch­downs. Ben Roeth­lis­berger has thrown six TDs and three in­ter­cep­tions. He’s been sacked twice. An­to­nio Brown has 12 re­cep­tions for 165 yards and two TDs.

The Ea­gles outscored the Browns and the Bears, 58-24. Car­son Wentz has three TDs and no in­ter­cep­tions. Run­ning back Ryan Mathews is tied for the NFL lead with three TDs.

“It’s still early in the sea­son,” Ped­er­son said. “Does it make or break your sea­son? No, it doesn’t. But at the same time, it’s a good bench­mark for us in our suc­cess of the year.”

••• Steel­ers head coach Mike Tom­lin had a lit­tle fun on a con­fer­ence call when asked by a Philly-based reporter how he de­vel­ops the cul­ture.

“You fig­ure it out bro. I’m not go­ing to peel back the cur­tain,” Tom­lin said. “There are cer­tain core be­liefs we be­lieve in around here that is the ba­sis of our cul­ture build­ing. It’s how we go about our busi­ness. It’s our busi­ness model if you will. It’s like ask­ing KFC what’s in the herbs and spices.”

••• Zach Ertz, Leodis McKelvin, My­chal Ken­dricks and Isaac Seu­malo didn’t prac­tice Wed­nes­day.

Ertz (ribs) and McKelvin (ham­string) sat out last week and are week-to-week, ac­cord­ing to head coach Doug Ped­er­son. Ken­dricks strained a quad and suf­fered a bro­ken nose in the Mon­day night win over the Bears.

Seu­malo, the rookie third-round pick, still hasn’t got­ten the strength back in the pec­toral mus­cle he hurt, Ped­er­son said. He’s not been ac­tive for the Ea­gles (2-0), who en­ter­tain the Steel­ers Sun­day at 4:25 p.m.

“We want to just kind of give him this week and just sort of mon­i­tor that and give him all the treat­ment he can,” Ped­er­son said. “Get him through the bye and we’ll see where he’s at after that.”

Seu­malo, how­ever, re­mains in the mix to start at left guard with Allen Bar­bre mov­ing to right tackle if and when Lane John­son be­gins serv­ing a 10-game sus­pen­sion for PEDs. ••• NOTES >> In ad­di­tion to Doug Ped­er­son and Car­son Wentz, two other pair­ings of first-year head coach and rookie quar­ter­back have started 2-0 in the Su­per Bowl era. They would be John Har­baugh and Joe Flacco in 2008 in Bal­ti­more and Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez in 2009 with the Jets . ... The Ea­gles signed corner­back JaCorey Shep­herd to the prac­tice squad. … They also re­leased guard Dar­rell Greene from the prac­tice squad. … Listed on the in­jury re­port yet fully prac­tic­ing with the Ea­gles were de­fen­sive end Vinny Curry (knee), safety Mal­colm Jenk­ins (foot) and safeties Chris Mara­gos (el­bow) and Jaylen Watkins (knee).

NAM Y. HUH — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ea­gles run­ning back Ryan Mathews, seen here against the Chicago Bears Mon­day night, is tied for the NFL lead in rush­ing touch­downs with three.

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