Happy Wednesday all. Sorry for my absence - been dealing with the same frustrating computer problems. Not good. I'm up and running though so let's get to some news and notes about the Pittsburgh Steelers as we loom closer to Sunday's important game with the lowly Kansas City Chiefs.
* First things first - the first action by Coach Tomlin to try to fix the team's special teams. Longtime reserve linebacker and special teams mainstay Arnold Harrison was released on Monday. Taking his place will be 2008 undrafted rookie linebacker Donovan Woods, who was brought up from the practice squad. Our own datruth4life was on this one following the Steelers defeat on Sunday. He mentioned that Woods willingness to go head hunting on special teams will hopefully rub off on Patrick Bailey - an undrafted free agent from last year as well that's not been nearly as good in year two as he was last season.
* The Kansas City Chiefs got a break out performance of sorts on Sunday from their second year speed merchant running back, Jamal Charles. The former Texas Longhorns star and collegiate sprint champion rushed for 100+ yards and 1 TD in KC's 16-10 victory over the Raiders. I thought that the Redskins would be better off without Clinton Portis for the time being; I think the same could be said of the Chiefs, who I think are now more explosive offensively with Charles than they were with Larry Johnson. Here's an article about Charles and how he will be a marked man by the Steelers defense on Sunday (scroll down to where it says BullsEye).
* Here's one more reason Jamal Charles will need to have a big game if the Chiefs hope to win at home against the defending champs: their top WR Dwayne Bowe has been suspended by the NFL for four games for testing positive for a performance enhancing substance. Arrowhead Pride, SBN's outstanding Chiefs blog, has the story.
* Safety Troy Polamlau is officially listed as questionable for Suday's game. Hmmm. I suppose that's great news - for a moment there I was convinced he was going to be out for quite some time, potentially even the whole year. I guess not. Whew. Polamalu has a mild PCL strain. The good news is that this is not related to the MCL injury he suffered earlier in the year. Thought he's listed as 'questionable', I sure hope he doesn't play this weekend and instead rests up for the following weekend when Pittsburgh travels to Baltimore. Frankly I don't think there's much of a chance he will play.
* I sure hope there aren't too many parallels between this season and the 2006 campaign, but remember the last time we played the Chiefs? We were in a much bigger hole than we are now, that's for sure. But the Steelers could stand to have a performance like the one they turned in that day three years ago.
* Football Outsiders has the Steelers ranked 31st in aggregate special teams play through 10 weeks. The worst of the four components? Obviously kick return coverage, where the Steelers rank dead last by quite a bit.
* And finally, Jim Wexell notes that the defense played pretty darn well in defeat on Sunday. In fact, as his article states to begin:
The last time the Steelers lost to a team that had fewer than 14 first downs, 218 total yards and didn’t score an offensive touchdown was in Oakland during the 2006 season