Although nose tackle Steve McLendon (ankle) was ruled out earlier this week, the Steelers’ front-three on defense could be receiving a boost from a depth perspective for tomorrow’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.
According to Teresa Varley of Steelers.com, veteran defensive end Brett Keisel is listed as “probable” and could eventually play. Keisel’s return would be huge since it would help to free up Ziggy Hood for some reps and playing time at nose tackle with McLendon injured. Plus, having “The Beard” in the lineup is never a negative thing for rotational purposes at the defensive end positions either.
Unfortunately for the Steelers and their front-seven, outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley is probably going to miss his third straight game. For some reason, the calf injury Woodley sustained three weeks ago during Pittsburgh’s win against the Buffalo Bills is still hobbling him and he is listed as “doubtful.”
At this point, I honestly hope that Pittsburgh’s coaching staff relegates “Mr. Stay Puft” to a backup role until he is either 100 percent healthy or Jason Worilds starts to struggle. In no way, shape, or form however do Worilds or rookie Jarvis Jones deserve to lose playing time to the constantly nicked-up veteran who has been an injury-prone ghost since he inked his mega-deal ($61.5 million) two summers ago.
As far as Pittsburgh’s probables are concerned, rookie safety Shamarko Thomas is set to play in his first game in three weeks. How much time Thomas will receive on the defensive side of the ball is still a question mark, particularly when one considers how well Will Allen has played in his place during the last two weeks.
Thomas’ return should help Pittsburgh’s special teams units though, especially since Curtis Brown is now sidelined for the rest of the year with an ACL injury.
The Steelers’ full status report according to Varley is listed below:
NT Steve McLendon (ankle)
OLB LaMarr Woodley (calf)
OT Marcus Gilbert (ankle), DE Brett Keisel (foot), TE Heath Miller (non injury related), SS Troy Polamalu (non injury related), ILB Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring), SS Shamarko Thomas (ankle)
Like “NPC” on Facebook: Nice Pick, Cowher