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Steelers Takeaways: Kwon Wears Green Dot, Rookies on Upswing



Steelers Ed Thompson
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Kwon Alexander on Sept. 18, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — Linebacker Kwon Alexander is new to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he’s not new to being an NFL linebacker and he’s also not new to his new role with the club.

Alexander confirmed that he’s going to be one of the players wearing the team’s green dot helmet as the defensive play caller going forward on Friday. Cole Holcomb has worn it in the early part of the season. The two may rotate going forward.
But it’s nothing new for Alexander, who has called plays at multiple stops earlier in his career.

“It’s been smooth,” Alexander said. “I’ve had the dot before. I played Mike linebacker my first four years. … It ain’t nothing different. I just get the call and then go out there and do the work.


Several of the Steelers rookies are now looking at their third week of significant playing time, with cornerback Joey Porter Jr., nose tackle Keeanu Benton, tight end Darnell Washington and outside linebacker Nick Herbig seeing roles so far.

You can count on them getting more as time goes on.

“Coach Tomlin does a great job of spoon-feeding the young guys,” veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson said. “When it’s there time to show, they’ll have had a little taste of it. This league can chew you up and spit you out very quickly. A young that seems to have success early, who knows where his career may go?”

With their first NFL game, first division game and first game in prime time out of the way the rookies are looking less wide-eyed by the day.

“We’re getting there,” Benton said. “I’m definitely more comfortable, just finding that routine.”

RELATED: Steelers’ Joey Porter Jr. Could See Bigger Role Soon


The one first remaining is that the Steelers are on the road for the first time this season at Vegas this week, and that means that it’ll be their first time in a hostile environment.

Or will it?

Reports out of Las Vegas suggest that there could be large numbers of Steelers fans in the crowd. Peterson will be playing in his first Steelers road game, but he’s familiar with the notion. He remembers vividly Steelers fans taking over the stadium in Arizona when he played with the Cardinals.

“I’m really looking forward to my first regular-season away game as a Pittsburgh Steeler,” Peterson said. “I’ll never forget it. It was 2011 … and there wasn’t many Arizona Cardinals fans in there. I can only imagine what it’s going to be like going over to Vegas.”


When you’re on the practice squad and don’t get a chance to suit up for real on a day-to-day basis, it’s sometimes hard to get the competitive juices flowing.
For Steelers rookie outside linebacker David Perales, he’s channeled his energy into his scout team work. When the linemen that he works with all week don’t give up a sack, he sees that as a win for him.

Perales has taken on the image of some tough customers so far this season, donning a red 97 practice pinny as Nick Bosa in Week 1 and an orange 95 as Myles Garrett in Week 2. This week, it’s No. 98, as Perales is dressing as Las Vegas Raiders star Maxx Crosby in practice.

He’s on a two-game winning streak, as the Steelers offensive line has held both Bosa and Garrett without a sack in back-to-back weeks.


Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t been sacked through two games this season. The Steelers are looking to be the first, with all-everything outside linebacker T.J. Watt leading the charge. But he sees a tough test in that regard.

“It’s them being able to run the ball and being in manageable downs and not having to drop back and pass as much,” Watt said. “They use max protection. He’s getting the ball out quickly.”