Q&A with Steelers CB Bryant McFadden

PITTSBURGH -- After a one-year hiatus, cornerback Bryant McFadden is happy to be back in a Steelers uniform.

McFadden will try to bring stability back to Pittsburgh's secondary, which struggled holding leads last year. The Steelers face a stiff test right away against quarterback Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

The AFC North blog caught up with McFadden to get his thoughts on the Falcons and other topics.

Bryant, are you aware that your last meaningful game in a Steelers uniform was Super Bowl XLIII?

BM: Yeah, I thought about it a little bit. I can remember how happy we were, being able to reach that pinnacle with the type of season we went through and the adversity. We finally were able to get to that mark that a lot of people never get the chance to experience in their career. We were able to do that. Now being back, we're just trying to bring that back to the forefront again. But none of that matters. The only thing that matters right now is the Atlanta Falcons game.

How much responsibility rests on your defense with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suspended four games?

BM: We know as a group, when you play Pittsburgh Steelers defense there is always a level of expectation that you're expected to reach. With the tradition of the Steel Curtain and the numerous great defenses we've had the last few years, it's always a thought process to be able to carry that tradition. We know there might be games where it may be 6-9, or 10-9, things of that nature. We will have to step up and play the type of football we're accustomed to doing. It's nothing new to us.

What's your take on the Atlanta Falcons' offense from what you've seen on film?

BM: They're a good group of guys. They do a lot of different things as far as motioning and changing up formations. They make you switch your defense and they work together very, very well. Matt Ryan, with how he's throwing the ball, [receiver] Roddy White, it's going to be a big challenge. We're playing against one of the premiere tight ends [Tony Gonzalez] to ever suit up. Every week in the NFL is going to be a high competition level anyway. So with that being said, we just got to go out and execute and play our kind of football.

You were once a young player trying to learn Pittsburgh's defense. What's your advice for second-year cornerback Keenan Lewis, who's struggled and was frustrated this preseason?

BM: Just stay focused. Those guys you're covering, they get paid also. This is a league right now that is set for offenses to catch passes, so we're already behind the eight ball covering them with the rules and how things work. So just stay focused. Cornerbacks are in tough situations. You have to be mentally tough and definitely have to have a short memory.