The Pittsburgh Steelers defense had enough problems last week in Denver, and now they are adding injury to insult.
Troy Polamalu and James Harrison did not practice today for the third consecutive day. This makes their injury status questionable for Sunday.
Polamalu has been fighting a strained calf he suffered in the 31-19 loss to the Broncos in primetime to open the season. Early in the week Coach Tomlin said that Polamalu would be fine and maybe he will be. However, not practicing on Friday will always raise eyebrows especially if you’re New York quarterback Mark Sanchez.
The Jets are coming to town after a big 48-28 win at home against the Bills. Sanchez was 19-for-27 for 266 yards and three touchdowns. Any quarterback would prefer to play the Steelers when Polamalu isn’t trying to confuse you – or rip your limbs off.
The return of Ryan Clark will help the cause if Polamalu can’t go. He was forced to sit out last week due to his sickle cell trait. Ryan Mundy will slide over if needed for Pittsburgh.
Another blow came Friday as James Harrison sat out again. His knee clean-up surgery was over 30 days ago and he has yet to be back to his standards according to the Steelers staff.
Harrison had vowed last week that he would play in Denver only to be in street clothes for kickoff. His pass rush was missed severely as Pittsburgh was able to get to Peyton Manning just twice, recording one sack. Chris Carter or Jason Worilds will step in if Harrison can’t go again this week.
The defense was expecting a big week at home with the return of Clark and Harrison. Adding a great pass rusher and a great communicator in the secondary increases the likelihood of turnovers.
Not to mention Tim Tebow will be tagging along with Mark Sanchez. The Buffalo game didn’t show much of what the Jets will plan to do with Tebow as Sanchez was efficient.
Tebow ran the ball out of the shotgun formation five times for 11 yards against the Bills.