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Steelers Head Into Playoffs Banged Up, Off Everyone's Radar

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I've returned from traveling and am getting excited for this weekend's playoff games. Could just be two more short days before another long offseason begins. In all actuality, this will be a very interesting offseason for a number of different reasons that we'll discuss when that time arrives. Hopefully that day won't come until next month, but given the play of our team the second half of the season plus a suddenly dire injury situation on both sides of the ball, it may very well come this Saturday night at Heinz Field.

I was of course disappointed to hear about Max Starks and Marvel Smith but Trai Essex, who will start at Tackle, is supposedly superior in pass protection than as a run blocker anyway. Since I don't see us running the ball too much against Jacksonville, perhaps this isn't all that big a deal. Essex may not be the longterm solution The potential absence of Troy Polamalu however is downright scary. As bad as we were against Jacksonville against the run, it probably would have been even worse if P. wasn't in there making plays. He got pushed around his fair share that day as well, but he also made some fine tackles that at least gave us an opportunity (that we failed to convert) to stop the Jags on a number of 3rd and 4th downs.

Tomorrow, full posting resumes with a look at what the roster will look like on Sunday, what the Jags' injury situation is, plus a look at the other AFC matchup this weekend between San Diego and Tennessee.

Hope everyone had a Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. Best of luck to all in 2008.

Go Steelers!