Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bad news

Everybody went to the Mike Tomlin press conference looking for an injury update on Ben Roethlisberger.

What they got instead was news that running back Willie Parker will miss Monday night's game agianst Baltimore - and possibly more - with a sprained knee.

Rookie Rashard Mendenhall will make his first career start in place of Parker, a tall task against the No. 1-rated Ravens defense.

Parker's injury could also keep him out of the following week's game at Jacksonville as well.

© As expected, Casey Hampton is also out. Chris Hoke will get the start at nose tackle, with Travis Kirschke backing him up. Trouble is, Kirschke took the majority of the snaps at defensive end last week in place of Brett Keisel, who was also out.

© The Steelers will likely bring Gary Russell back on the active roster later this week with Parker out.

18 comments:

Patrick said...

this game is going to be the definition of smash mouth. After last week I don't think there is a doubt that the Steelers are going to come out running and Baltimore certaintly isn't going to be pass happy. Add Mendenhall, a downhill runner, as the starter, these defenses and you got all the ingredients of a 14-10 game. If there is one positive of this, a physical dominance will restore a lot of confidence in this team, especially the O Line.

Dale what do you expect from the Steelers to try and throw off the Baltimore D? Everyone knows their style of D and what happened last week, they know we aren't going to try and make the same mistakes twice. Do you see any gadgets with Dixon, Max Starks lining up as a 3rd blocking TE in a big formation or any other kind of wrinkles? If Cowher were coaching I'd expect some kind of tricks, fake punts, gadgets or otherwise.

This one is going to be a battle.

Dale Lolley said...

They'll do some more three tight end stuff. I think the biggest thing they'll do is try to shut down the Baltimore running game and force Flacco to beat them.
It will be a field position game. They'll try to rattle the rookie.

Brian said...

Dale, I thought that the big selling point on Orpheus Roye was his ability to play both DT and DE in the 3-4. So why have Kirshke be the backup in there? Any chance of a second roster move (besides re-signing Gary Russell) to get Paxson on the 53 man roster?

adamg said...

Tomlin was asked about Paxson at the press conference. He said as of right now there aren't any plans to sign Paxson to the 53 man roster.

I was surprised, too, that Kirshke was named back up NT. I thought Eason was the most experienced DT/NT on the DL.

Anonymous said...

14-10? I'm thinking more like 6-3 (OT).

Dale Lolley said...

Kirschke has always been the No. 3 nose.

SC Steeler said...

Dale, do you see the Steelers working in more screens and short passes with Mendenhall? Based on Baltimore's recent history with pressuring Ben and last week's blitzkreig in Philly, I'm sure they're going to be attacking from everywhere.

I hate to see Willie get injured but I'm glad to see Mendenhall forced into playing time. I think the Steelers were dragging their feet too much and letting the preseason fumbles scare them into keeping Mendenhall on the bench. If the Steelers are going to make some noise late in the year, they're going to need both backs sharing carries.

Dale Lolley said...

They'll do a little more of that this week, I'm sure.

kelly said...

I can't see Kirschke being an adequate nose tackle. I think Roye is much better suited to that position. Let's hope we don't have to find out.

datruth4life said...

Dale,

With two of the most physical run offenses next on the Steelers schedule, would it be foolish for the team not to have NT Scott Paxson available to play? The team will be in its base 3-4 a lot during the next two weeks and the team's use of 6 DL to keep everyone fresh has been pretty good thus far.

I am interested to see what Mendenhall can do because it has been clear that he wasn't going to get much run if Parker was healthy. I think the Steelers were fortunate that no one picked up Gary Russell. He's a grinder that could help this offense, especially on short-yardage and goal line situations. And let's be honest, Willie Parker has never ran that well against the Ravens anyhow. I'm interested to see what a bigger back can do.

As far as the OL goes, how long do you think before they get Starks into the starting lineup? You have to try anything to keep Ben from getting pummeled. He just didn't have a chance against the Eagles. I was at the game in Baltimore a few years back where the Ravens teed off on him and Bart Scott had the hit of the year on Big Ben. No repeats please.

Dale, I think this team will have to make 2 roster moves this week to have G. Russell & Scott Paxson activated. I think Dallas Baker could be one cut. Who do you think the other will be? The injured Donovan Woods?

Anonymous said...

Fellas With all this talk about D line injuries, I got news for you...D ISN'T OUR PROBLEM. Hoke did just fine last week, actually played pretty well. Our O is the big deal. Shard will need to hold on to the rock if he is going to be the guy. And we all know, the O lIne just needs to play as a unit. Steelers win 17-10.

Dale Lolley said...

They'd have to come to an injury settlement with Woods to cut him. I'm not sure what the rules are on that, but they may not be able to re-sign him. And they like him.
They may try to do something on the weekend with somebody. Bruce Davis and Tony Hills are taking up space, they could pull a handshake deal with one of those two that they cut them on Sunday and re-sign them on Tuesday.
As for the d-line problems, they weren't apparent against Philly because the Eagles don't run the ball. Baltimore will try to run it 40 times Monday night with a very big offensive line. Jacksonville will do the same.
These are the two most physical teams they will face and only having five healthy linemen is a problem.

Anonymous said...

will Santonio ever catch a touchdown? I thought he was going to be our playmaker this year!

datruth4life said...

Dale,

So do you think they'll add both Gary Russell and Scott Paxson to the roster this week? I agree with you that it is a BIG problem to go into either of those 2 games with only 5 healthy DL.

I don't think another team would claim Dallas Baker. I do feel somebody would pick up Hills or Bruce Davis.

Thoughts?

adamg said...

I think Hills might be the likeliest candidate to be cut and signed to the PS. At this point, with the 53 man rosters set, I doubt many teams are going to pick up Hills, who is obviously a project, and be required to add him to their 53 man roster.

They could also cut Sean McHugh and go with Max Starks as the third, or even second TE, if the game plan is to run, run, run.

kelly said...

I like the idea of Starks in the game as a TE... Actually I was wondering why he wasn't used in that capacity during the Eagles game. We obviously needed some blocking help.

Anonymous said...

If the coaching staff believed Starks was any good as a blocker wouldn't he already be on the o-line? Starks had all preseason to stake claim to at least the third TE spot. IIRC MCHugh was signed after preseason so somebody in the front office likes him.

Dale Lolley said...

They're not going to run, run, run against the Ravens. Not going to happen. They're going to continue to run their offense.