The Steelers’ victory against the Eagles came at a price on Sunday. Just when we all thought that our beloved Steelers and defense could get a couple weeks in at full strength and really assess how good (or bad) the defense really is, it suffered more injuries. Troy Polamalu re-injured his calf muscle and LaMarr Woodley suffered a right hamstring injury. Polamalu has already been ruled out this Thursday against the Titans.
Given the short week and opponent, the Steelers should really consider sitting Woodley through the week. Anything can happen on any given Sunday, and that’s why they play the game. But, the Titans despite their 1-4 record are one of the worst teams in football right now. The Titans are ranked no better than 25th in points, rushing yards, and overall yards. They rank 16th in passing yards under Jake Locker. Chris Johnson. He still plays for the Titans right? Does he ever show up?
The Steelers have a tendency to play down to their competition. With the season unfolding the way it has the last few weeks, I would imagine that the team is still under a bit of desperation mode in trying to play catchup with the rest of the AFC North. The Bengals fell to the Dolphins and are now 3-2. Baltimore barely beat Kanas City and are sitting at the top of the division at 4-1. The season is not yet at the halfway point, so there’s a lot of football yet to be played. With that said, I think the Steelers need to be aggressive in making sure key players full heal up. Perhaps that’s why Polamalu reinjured his calf – was it too soon?
The return of Harrison is huge. For the first time all season, the defense seemed to get consistent pressure on the opposing QB. Now if Woodley sits, will that chemistry go away? What if he’s not at 100% anyways – will they still be effective at causing pressure? There’s no sense in rushing Woodley’s return. The Steelers defense, in its current state of semi-disarray should be able to handle the poorly performing Titans. If not, then we have a whole heap of trouble waiting on the other side of Thursday night. The competition won’t get any easier this season and quite frankly we will rarely ever experience the defense at full strength.
So, rest Woodley while the opportunity presents itself. He’s been the most consistent and productive defenseman for the Steelers thus far. It would be a shame to lose him for longer because of a rush to get him back on the field. The Steelers need the lineman and linebackers to be at their best if they want to put any pressure on the QB’s and become less dependent on the secondary this season.
The bigger problem ladies and gents is with back upRyan Mundy. This guy is reckless and will put games in jeopardy if he continues in that way. He should get another heft fine from the league for his hit on Sunday and will probably be put on notice that suspensions are on the horizon. He gets burned out there far too often and is not very good at run stopping – which is why he doesn’t really blitz the way Polamalu does. Expect to see Will Allen getting more reps this week, and we may even see him a lot more on Thursday.