While many have fretted over the potential absences of Ramon Foster and LaMarr Woodley for this Sunday’s game, the Steelers could be without another one of their starters according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
The loss of Brett Keisel would definitely be a blow to Pittsburgh’s front-seven on the defensive side of the ball. “The Beard” has started all nine of Pittsburgh’s games at the right defensive end position, and he has racked up 25 tackles, 2.0 sacks, and one fumble recovery during the team’s 3-6 start.
Even if Keisel does suit up for this weekend’s game, the fact that he is suffering from the nagging foot injury which Dulac alluded to will probably force the coaching staff to hand extended playing time to Ziggy Hood and Al Woods.
Hood, who lost his starting job to Cameron Heyward earlier this year will probably receive a bulk of the projected reps due to his experience. The former first round pick has yet to live up to his billing since he entered the league in 2009, and he will need to capitalize on all of the playing time he receives down the stretch in what is currently the final season of his rookie contract.
Thoughts on his replacements aside, Pittsburgh will probably still be at a disadvantage in the trenches with Keisel limited by his foot injury. The Steelers’ run defense is still ranked 28th (average yards per game allowed) and the pocket collapse from the entire defense has been inconsistent at best this year to boot (16.0 sacks, 28th).
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Although Keisel is listed.