Rapid Reports - Shaping the Season Edition

So there are actually some useful rapid reports, right when we are at the pivotal part of the 2010 season.  These next 3 games will determine what kind of team we have.  Its the toughest stretch of the season, completing the 3 game road trip and following it up with the patriots.  Win these 3 and it'll go a long way to securing a bye week in the playoffs.  There are also a couple of injuries so our depth will be tested in the next couple of weeks too.  Can the team thrive in the face of adversity?  Its swim or sink time and the current is getting strong.


 Coach Mike Tomlin on the upcoming game with the Saints: "This is a big week on the South Side. Getting a challenge with the world champion New Orleans Saints, at their place, in prime time. We're really excited about the opportunity."

Lets hope the Saints are still hitting the snooze button on their Super Bowl Hangover.  For that team, it has to hit them pretty hard, they meant so much to that city, the came from obscurity - even though being a decent team for a while- they have never really won anything in their franchise history.  Its a little hard not to be satisfied after a Super Bowl win. 

The Steelers lead the NFL in scoring defense with a 13.7 point per game average. They are fourth in total defense. 

The only stat that matters, our offense needs to only score 20 points a game to win.  Any more than that, then you're putting too much pressure on the offense and you'll lose some games.  The defense has to keep that PPGA as close to 10 as possible for the team to win a lot of games this year.

If LB LaMarr Woodley can't go, Larry Foote would start on the inside and Lawrence Timmons would move from the inside to the outside. 

This is interesting considering that Worlids created a lot of pressure last game with his outside rush.  Timmons is still a better all around player than Worlids and Worlids might not be ready to start just yet.  I'd still bet we see some downs where Timmons go back inside and Worlids goes outside.  Its good that he is getting on the field though.  Even if Woodley is healthy, him and harrison needs some rest so we can maintain consistent pressure throughout the game.  Hopefully Woodley gets better, Micheal Bean might be right about him already reaching his peak.

 RG Trai Essex is ready to go after missing the last four games with an ankle injury. Essex will battle with Doug Legursky for the starting spot.

The more bodies we get on the line the better, IMO both of those guys are just keeping the spot warm for Mike Pouncey next year.

DE Brett Keisel (hamstring) and LB LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) will be limited this week in practice and may not play this week

Blame it on the heat.  3 times we've went to the south, each of those times its been hot and the opponent made us wear our all black jerseys thinking there might help them win the game.  1. Teams don't feel that they are good enough to beat the steelers straight up 2. it hasn't worked so far.  But this miami game it was very visible and could have contributed to the rash of injuries we saw last sunday.  Get better guys.

RT Flozell Adams (ankle) is doing well and, while limited early, should be ready to play against New Orleans. 

As John said, Adams the best FA pickup this year, should be back.  Hopefully we get more production out of the running game and give the defense a breather.  The saints can score so fast they are gonna need it.  

 The Steelers will bring either DL Steve McLendon or DE/LB Thaddeus Gibson up from the practice squad to replace Aaron Smith. Look for CBs Anthony Madison or Keenan Lewis to be cut to make room. 

I don't care who they bring up and I don't care who they cut, just no more injuries please....

The Steelers pass defense is ranked 24th in the NFL and will face the Saints, who have the fifth ranked passing attack. With the loss of DE Aaron Smith and the possible losses of LB LaMarr Woodley and DE Brett Keisel, it could be a scary Halloween for the defense.

That is the concern, not only do we ranked 24th in the NFL in pass defense, but arguably the best passer we've faced has been Joe Flacco (you can put Matt Ryan there too).  What will happen when we face one of the top 3 QBs in the league?  We'll find out Sunday Night.  But here is some comfort food (stat) for you, the browns ranks 26th in pass defense and 21st in scoring defense and look what they were able to do.  Even though I contend that the Saints did it to themselves moreso, I heard some commentary from one of the talking heads on ESPN and they were talking about the Saint's WRs not being able to create space.  If that is the case then that is good news for us.

 RB Rashard Mendenhall ran tentative because of a bruised shoulder. If he continues to be bothered by it look for Mewelde Moore to get more playing time

This is the first that I heard of this injury.  This isn't good, but hopefully Moore can show more of what he can did last week than the previous ones before that.  This is a team that we should be able to run on and we will need to run on.  To keep their offense off the field and our defense rested.  I don't want to see a shootout Sunday night.

 Some good news on the injury front: RT Flozell Adams (ankle) and LB LaMarr Woodley(hamstring) were full participants in practice and should be ready to go against the Saints.

Good news, we need Adams to help with the running game.  LaMarr(sp?)  needs to bring the wood on brees.  That means we keep our best players in their natural position.  We'll need Timmons speed on the inside against the passing game. 

Despite missing two days of practice, DE Brett Keisel (hamstring) is confident he'll play Sunday. "I feel good," he said. "I feel like the healing process is coming along, Hopefully, I'll be out there."

More good news on the injury front.  Although I'm not concerned about the running game, we just need as many guys as possible in case of another injury.  Ziggy Hood will have to do his best to keep linemen off our backers so they can get to the QB.

RG Trai Essex (ankle) on being back on the practice field after missing four games: "I don't want to jinx myself. Let's just say I'm better than where I was last week."

At this point, this might not matter.  Legursky is playing well at RG, could be better than Essex.  They may try Essex one more time but if they don't feel like he is better than Legursky then Essex will have had his last chance to start for the Steelers.  I don't expect him back next year, especially if we draft another guard.




LB LaMarr Woodley (hamstring), RT Flozell Adams (ankle), and RG Trai Essex (ankle) all practiced for the second-straight day and appear ready to go against the Saints. They are all listed as "probable" on the official injury report

DE Brett Keisel missed practice Friday and will probably miss his second-straight game. He is listed as doubtful. If he can't go, DE Nick Eason will start in his place

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