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Friday, September 13, 2013

Allen still not back at practice

Cortez Allen missed another day of practice Friday with a sprained ankle, but still has another day of practice ahead in which he could return.

If Allen is able to practice on Friday, he'll start against Cincinnti. If not, William Gay will get the start, with rookie Shamarko Thomas playing the nickel.

Against the Bengals, it might not matter who the No. 2 corner is. Andy Dalton completed 26 passes last week against the Bears, with 19 to A.J. Green and tight ends Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham.

Add in a couple of catches by the running backs, and you had just five completions to the other receivers on the roster not named Green. Those catches went for 26 yards, an average of 5.2 yards per reception.

@ As bad as the Steelers were last week running the ball - and they were terrible - the Bengals weren't much better.

Benjarvus Green-Ellis had 14 carries for 25 yards. Giovanni Bernard added four carries for 22 yards but apparently still isn't up to snuff on his blitz pickups.

@ The question for the Steelers right now is can Fernando Velasco be a starter this week at center. If he's able to handle the job, Pittsburgh can go back to its plan of using Kelvin Beachum at tight end.

The Steelers used Beachum at tight end on three of their first eight plays, including the first play from scrimmage. And they had planned on continuing to use that approximate mix until Maurkice Pouncey went down.

Velasco is splitting time with Beachum now with the first unit. The bet here is that he starts so that the Steelers can use Beachum as an extra blocker at tight end.

@ Shaun Suisham was back at practice today. The Steelers haven't made a move yet with Shayne Graham, signed as insurance in case Suisham's hamstring held him back.

@ Steve McLendon was back today as well. He's been dealing with a hamstring issue.

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