PITTSBURGH -- One of the reasons the Steelers are 2-0 to begin the 2016 season is their efficiency in the red zone on offense and defense. They lead the NFL in red-zone offense and red-zone defense. They have scored touchdowns on all five of their trips inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Conversely, they've only allowed one touchdowns when opposing offenses have penetrated their 20-yard line.
The Steelers were 13th red-zone offensive touchdown percentage and sixth in red-zone defensive touchdown percentage last season.
"I really think it's just how we compete in practice, good-on-good, and offense versus defense," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We don't shy away from competition. They embrace that competition and I think it sets the stage for performances in the areas of the field
--The Steelers might rank 31st in the league in passing defense, but Tomlin likes the direction of his young secondary that includes two rookies when they play six defensive backs.
"I've been pleased with what they've done thus far," Tomlin said. "They've largely kept the ball in front. They've particularly been stout when the field gets short and good on possession downs. Those are the things that define a secondary. But there are more plays out there for us. We have to continue to work to capitalize on opportunities. We've touched some balls that weren't caught over the first couple of weeks."
Tomlin was referencing several dropped interceptions in the Redskins and Bengals games.
MEDICAL WATCH: WR Markus Wheaton, who missed the first two games with a shoulder injury, was a full participant in practice Wednesday. Mike Tomlin said he expects Wheaton to play for the first time this season. ... FB Roosevelt Nix, who missed the first two games with a back injury, was a limited participant in practice. ... OL Cody Wallace, who missed the first two games with a knee injury, did not practice.