Veteran defensive end Brett Keisel was removed from yesterday’s game against the New York Jets due to an injury he sustained to his ribs. While the diagnosis is not yet known, head coach Mike Tomlin had this to say about Keisel’s status for this week and his injury overall:
He had ribs of some kind. We will take a look at it. He is probably going to be limited during the course of the week. He should perk up toward the end of next week. We’ll see though.
With “The Beard’s” status in doubt for practice this week and for this weekend’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, the Steelers’ coaching staff might have to put Ziggy Hood back into the starting lineup.
Hood, who was recently demoted to second-string last week, will have a golden opportunity to shine while Keisel is hindered by his ribs. I will say that it is a positive that Hood and Heyward will be on the field at the same time in pass-rushing situations, especially since both have improved when it has come to creating pocket-collapse during Pittsburgh’s last two games.
If Keisel is sidelined for an extended period of time, then Pittsburgh’s coaching staff will have to rely on their 2009 and 2011 first round picks to hold down the fort at the five-techniques during his absence. The time is now for both players to take “the next step” in their respective careers, especially since both have largely underwhelmed to this point.
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