The Steelers hit primetime for the first time this season in Indianapolis against the Colts. The Steelers will be looking to start a winning streak while the Colts look to stop the bleeding. The final reports are in from practice this week.
The biggest injury to report from the Steelers is the grade-1 PCL sprain (knee) to DE Brett Keisel. Earlier in the week Tomlin said that Keisel is questionable at best. However, Keisel did not practice all week and is listed as ‘out’ for this Sunday. Looking at the history of an injury like this, players are usually out several weeks. Ziggy Hood will start at RDE, and we should expect to see some snaps with Heyward. Keisel is a blow to the line, but Hood stood in for Aaron Smith most of last season and faired very well.
Other notables for the Steelers: Maurkice Pouncey (hamstring) participated fully in practice yesterday and is listed as questionable, Jerricho Cotchery is finally off the injury report and should play his first regular season game as a Steeler. Chris Kemoeatu will also return from his knee injury/drainage.
There are fourteen players on the Colts injury report. Peyton Manning is obviously out with his neck injury. Games Statuses are unclear for most of these players on the Colts’ website. Here are the most notables: DB Melvin Bullitt (Shoulder) DNP all week, TE Dallas Clark (foot) LP and DNP on Friday, DT Eric Foster (hamstring) DNP on Wednesday but had full practices all week, DE Dwight Freeney (abdominal) DNP Wed & Thurs but had limited practice on Friday, DE Robert Mathis (chest) DNP on Wed but had full practices on Thurs & Fri and LB Gary Brackett (shoulder) DNP all week. Kerry Collins (shoulder) had full practices most of the week and is reported as a ‘go’ for Sunday night.
Mike Tomlin is his presser expressed that he doesn’t want to underscore the importance of an opportunity of getting a road win against a power AFC team. The Colts are starting to execute nicely and can move the football. Tomlin is not taking Kerry Collins lightly. Veteran players like Collins have a quick learning curve and Tomlin imagines Collins will be better this Sunday. Tomlin really tips his hat to Dallas Clark. Tomlin spoke about the Colts’ defensive front and said that Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney are very disruptive. Tomlin is not concerned too much with tape of the Colts because they always have huge potential. Tomlin hopes the o-line will execute better as he blames execution as to why they couldn’t break the goal line twice.
Jim Caldwell says that the team will keep forging ahead and working on the little things. He feels that a number of guys played very well the past two weeks but there is not enough consistency. He acknowledges the physicality with which the Steelers play. He (one of the few in the NFL it seems) recognizes that most of the Super Bowl team is back, and that makes them a huge threat every single week. In preparation he feels that his guys will need to match the Steelers’ intensity He is not worried about playing in primetime. He feels primetime is a great stage for our young guys but the team is more interested in the preparation of the ball game so they can perform well.
I don’t think there’s many (let alone any in the media) who feel the Colts will have any chance against the Steelers. Collins is being criticized for holding onto the ball too long with his slow release (sound familiar Lefty?) and that will pose as a huge problem for the offense with the Steelers 3-4 defense. Most feel that the only shot the Colts have of keeping the game close is to run the ball (nice try and good luck). It’s actually kind of sad to see a city so un-pumped for a game against the Steelers. Indy is getting a dose as to how teams like the Bengals and their fans must feel like week in and week out. Ouch.
William Gay is listed as the starting #2 corner for this Sunday, which mean Bryant McFadden is not. Hmmm…let me take another look at that injury report. McFadden is not on that report, so what could that mean? Well I can tell you what it doesn’t – It does not mean William Gay is good enough to start at #2 all on his own. More than likely it means that Tomlin is not happy with McFadden’s play over the course of two weeks. Sure, he may play some tight coverage. But, if he can’t bat the ball away or hit the intended receiver to jar the ball loose, playing tight doesn’t mean a damn thing. He’s been thrown to a lot this season and is getting picked on by guys like Flacco and Jackson – not good, my friend. Is this the end of McFadden as a Steeler? Doubt it. We’ll see him come back because Gay won’t do any better. How quickly have Brown and Allen been learning that defense???
The Steelers are set to win big tomorrow. Tomlin keeps looking over his shoulder at that week 1 loss and is hell bent on repeating something like that. I think Collins will do better than what most are predicting. I also think that it will be a typical Colts defense that gives up a ton of yards and points. The Steelers should have the game in hand by the middle of the third quarter and finish by replacing some starters late in the fourth. I hope that Chris Collins has some good jokes and can keep Al Michaels from boring us all to death by then – it’s going to be a long night with those two during this mini-blow out. Steelers over Colts 31-17.