Big Ben better be careful. Antonio Smith might steal his Super Bowl ring while he's not looking...

Final Reports: Steelers vs Texans

The Steelers will need another hot start from Big Ben to have a chance this Sunday. Courtesy espn.com

The Steelers are coming off a shaky win in Indy.  The offensive line is banged up and many in Steelers Nation are starting to question who’s to blame for a poor running game over three weeks.  The Texans are looking to shake off a loss during a shootout with the Saints.  With Arian Foster returning to the lineup this week, the Texans are poised to have a big day on offense.  Can the Steelers continue to stop the pass and be able to contain Foster?  The final reports are in from practice this week.

Injury Report

The Steelers are reeling this week with injuries to the offensive line.  Doug Legursky (shoulder) and Jonathan Scott (ankle) are both out on Sunday.  Does it really matter?  The line played so poorly against the Colts that fill-ins should not make much of a negative impact.  Marcus Gilbert should make the move over to LT and Trai Essex should move up to start at RT.  Gilbert never made it onto the injury report list this week, so his apparent shoulder injury against the Colts was minor.  Bryant McFadden (hamstring) is still out even though he has never showed up on the injury report.  William Gay is slated to start again as the #2 corner.  Brett Keisel (ankle) is still out with his PCL sprain.  Ziggy Hood will still fill that role.

There are other Steelers who are listed on the report as either probable or questionable.  Most of those are second string and/or special teams.  Mike Wallace’s ribs were doing better by weeks end and is expected to play.

There are fifteen players on the Texans injury report.  Arian Foster (hamstring) is listed as probable and is expected to start this Sunday after a nagging hamstring injury.  CB Sherrick McManis(hamstring) and DB Kareem Jackson (knee) DNP on Friday and are questionable and doubtful respectfully.  Back up RB Derrick Ward is the only one listed as OUT for this Sunday.

Coach’s Thoughts

Mike Tomlin in his presser conceded that the offensive line is in a bit of trouble.  However, he and the FO refuse to bring in someone who would start in place of an injured player.  If they were to bring in someone it would be for practice purposes only.  Tomlin said that the ‘team is still in development.’ *** I usually don’t interject here in these reports, but let me just say – what the hell does that mean?  You are working with a group of players that just went to the Super Bowl nine months ago.  Who or what is in development?  Anyways… Tomlin continued his ‘guess what I do late at night while in bed’ when he gave his run down of just about every player on the Texans.  He called Andre Johnson the greatest player on the planet.  Because Troy was able to disrupt many plays last week, Tomlin and LeBeau plan on letting him run around and do his thing (about friggin’ time).

Gary Kubiak weighed in his players and their preparedness for the week.  He waved off any concerns about Andre Johnson and his apparent ankle injury.  He spoke of T Rashar Butler’s progress and growth for the season.  He hopes that it will continue with the forward momentum that it already has.  The team wants the pass rush to improve – and well they should have their shots this Sunday against a banged up and motley crew’d Steelers offensive line.  There are hopes that Karl Paymah (who just came in this week) will fill in nicely for injured CB Kareem Jackson. Kub’s been pretty quiet as far as his thoughts are about the Steelers.  He’s preparing his football team to execute – he believes in his system and if they can execute properly that have a great shot at winning football games.

Other News

DE Antonio Smith did some trash talking this week

Me personally, I’ve got to say it: I just don’t like them.  They took my Super Bowl from me. They’ve got my rings in their back pocket. I ain’t ever going to forget that.

Really?  Your rings?  They may have taken the rings away from you when Ben Roethlisberger threw that beautiful pass to Santonio Holmes as time ran out in the 4th quarter in Super Bowl 43.  But, they weren’t your rings.  Far from it.  If you deserved those rings, I would think you and your greatness would have stopped the Steelers from driving over 70 yards for the final score…. but that’s just me.

LT Duane Brown  of the Texans was featured in an article in a Houston newspaper.  His assignment will be against James Harrison on Sunday.  His first time he lined up against Harrison, Brown was abused – he gave up 2 sacks, one which led to a fumble.  Brown has improved since his rookie year in 2008 and looks to redeem himself when he lines up against Harrison again.

The confidence is running high in Houston for the Texans to beat the Steelers this Sunday, even though they came off a ‘should have won’ kind of loss against the Saints.  The Steelers’ flaws are obvious and many think the team will be able to exploit those weaknesses for a win against a Steelers team that appears to be searching for some type of identity.

A key matchup this week will be Ike Taylor vs Andre Johnson.  Taylor has been locking down opposing teams’ top receivers.  Johnson is fast and is considered one of the best in the game right now (I’m sure Mike Wallace would beg to differ).  Aside from his coverage blunder late in the game against the Colts last week, he has shown now signs to make me or most people think that Johnson will have a big day against our top corner.

I think this game against the Texans will be a true test to see what kind of team they really are.  They are multifaceted and have strong talent within the running and passing game on offense.  The Texans will score points – the Steelers just won’t be able to stop both areas all the time.  The big question will be can the Steelers offense hold it together to scrap together enough points?  The Steelers will probably start out well early like they did against the Colts.  But expect the Texans to surge back and possibly take this one away from the Steelers late in the 4th.  I hope that Suisham’s leg is ready for some boots because I think he will be the X factor in the game.  Steelers come away with another steal with a win over the Texans -> 26-21.

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