View Full Version : Steelers Notebook: Polamalu plays what-if game

09-21-2006, 11:04 PM
Steelers Notebook: Polamalu plays what-if game
Friday, September 22, 2006

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If Troy Polamalu had a healthy right shoulder, perhaps the Steelers would be unbeaten and not 1-1 heading into the playoff rematch Sunday with the Cincinnati Bengals.

If nothing else, if Polamalu had more range of motion in his arm, perhaps the Steelers would not have endured their first shutout in almost three years in Jacksonville.

Polamalu nearly intercepted a quick Byron Leftwich pass in the left flat Monday night when the Jaguars, leading, 3-0, had the ball at their 13-yard line. But Polamalu, a two-time Pro Bowl safety, dropped the ball, and the Jaguars went down the field and added another field goal.

"I reached out there with my right arm," Polamalu said. "If I would have had three or four more inches, which I probably could have if [I were] healthy ... who knows if I would have even caught the ball anyway. It's time to move on."

Polamalu injured his right shoulder in the season opener against the Miami Dolphins and is listed as questionable on the injury report. He has practiced each of the past two days, however, and will play against the Bengals.

Coach Bill Cowher said Polamalu is not at risk of doing further damage to his shoulder by playing in games and should benefit from the open date after the game against the Bengals.

"The biggest thing is, I've always tried to differentiate between a guy playing hurt and a guy playing injured," Cowher said. "Someone who's injured, if [there is] risk of further damage, then we certainly weigh that. We would not subject a player to doing something that could have long-term effects.

"What Troy is dealing with right now is something that's going to get better with time. But he's having to play with some pain."

Polamalu tried to downplay the significance of the injury, but acknowledged it made it difficult to tackle Jaguars running back Fred Taylor, who had 92 yards on 22 carries against the Steelers.

"When you're injured, with any injury, definitely you're restricted in some way. There's a lot of people playing with pain and injuries on this team that I'm sure you guys don't even know about. And, if it were up to me, you guys wouldn't even know about this injury. But, unfortunately, it's that obvious.

"It's tough to let my arm hang, in general. If walking is tough, tackling Fred Taylor or any running back for that matter is always going to be tough. I'm just one of 11 guys on this defense. It doesn't matter. It's one arm of 22."

Foot injury hampers Holmes

Rookie wide receiver Santonio Holmes did not practice for the second day in a row because of inflammation on the arch of his foot and will not play against the Bengals if he doesn't practice today.

Cowher said Holmes does not have a stress fracture, but he is unable to cut and push off when he runs. If Holmes doesn't play, Cowher said No. 3 draft pick Willie Reid will be active for the first time this season and likely will return kickoffs and punts along with Ricardo Colclough.

"I can run straight ahead, but to cut side to side, that's the biggest thing," Holmes said.

Holmes, the team's No. 1 pick from Ohio State, said he doesn't know when he was injured against the Jaguars, though he remembers his foot getting stepped on in the game. He said his foot didn't start bothering him until Wednesday when he reported back to practice.

"I didn't come to the training room on Tuesday," Holmes said. "I didn't have any problems."

Mutual admiration society

Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer doesn't have a vote, but, if he did, he said Polamalu would be the NFL's defensive player of the year.

"In my eyes, he's the best defensive player in the game," said Palmer.

"He's more than just the best safety. He's the best defensive football player. He consistently makes plays. He leads that defense by example. He's a lot of fun to watch and not a lot of fun to play against."

Told what Palmer said, Polamalu replied, "He's probably the best offensive player in the league."

Polamalu and Palmer were housemates when they played together at Southern California, and they periodically talk by phone, even in the offseason. When a Pittsburgh reporter visited Palmer last month, he jokingly said, "Tell Troy to return my call."

"I called him to check on him a couple times this summer," Polamalu said. "I'm a hermit. The only person I talk to is my wife."

Bengals' injury update

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said offensive left tackle Levi Jones (ankle/probable), who did not play in the victory against the Cleveland Browns, should play against the Steelers. Wide receiver Chris Henry (groin/probable) and cornerback Deltha O'Neal (knee/probable) returned to practice yesterday.


09-21-2006, 11:09 PM
Notebook: Holmes misses another practice

By The Tribune-Review
Friday, September 22, 2006

Wide receiver Santonio Holmes (foot) missed his second consecutive day of practice Thursday. Steelers coach Bill Cowher said, if Holmes doesn't practice today, he won't play against the Bengals on Sunday. Wide receiver Willie Reid would take Holmes' place on the 45-man roster.
"He certainly would be back there with Ricardo (Colclough) for kickoffs, and then, we'll see how it is with punts," Cowher said.

Reid has been inactive for the first two games. Holmes was the only Steelers player who didn't practice yesterday.

"I think I'll be all right to play," he said. "I'll probably be back practicing (today)."

• The Steelers' injury report didn't change yesterday. Holmes and strong safety Troy Polamalu (shoulder) are questionable, and linebacker Larry Foote (groin), cornerback Bryant McFadden (quad), wide receiver Hines Ward (hamstring) and wide receiver Nate Washington (finger) are probable. Polamalu, Foote and Ward are starters.

• The Steelers know Sunday's game is important, but if Ward has anything to say about it, they'll approach it as just another game.

"We were forcing the issue, rather than just letting the game come to us and just playing football," Ward said. "We watched the tape, we learned from it and we're going to get better. "Guys were trying to make plays, trying to do a little too much. Me, I was pressing so hard, trying to do a little extra. I ended up not being on the same page with the other guys."


1 - Former Cowher players coaching under Bengals coach Marvin Lewis (tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes).

4 - Years Lewis spent as an assistant under Cowher (1992-95).

Around the Steelers

= Cornerback Ike Taylor was summoned to the sideline and chewed out by Steelers coach Bill Cowher after allowing consecutive completions to Jacksonville's Todd Jones on Monday night -- one on a third down and another on the subsequent first down. Taylor understood what was taking place and why. "Coach was just coaching," Taylor said. "He's an emotional guy, and he's into the game just like we're into it. That's coach." Cowher said part of the problem was that Taylor was on the far sideline. "I just wanted to get to him, in case we got to third down again," Cowher said.

= Wide receiver Chad Johnson isn't on the Bengals' injury report, even though he complained about a limited range of motion after hurting a shoulder following a TD reception last week. Troy Polamalu, who's playing despite an injured shoulder, was asked if he shouldn't just go ahead and cover Johnson one-on-one, given the current state of the two. "The key to Chad is his legs," Polamalu said. "His legs are probably a lot faster than mine. "That's why Ike's with him, not me." Taylor has shadowed Johnson in recent Steelers-Bengals meetings.


2 Former Steelers assistants under Cowher working on Bengals coach Marvin Lewis' current staff in Cincinnati (offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, defensive line coach Jay Hayes).

3 Future NFL head coaches on Cowher's first Steelers staff in 1992 (Dom Capers, Dick LeBeau, Marvin Lewis).


Livinginthe past
09-21-2006, 11:29 PM
Does anybody know, or can take an educated guess as to what Polamalu's injury is?

To be honest, I can't see how a guy can be so obviously favoring one side, his right arm just hanging limply by his side, can be 'hurt' but not 'injured'.

All I know is, everytime he goes into hard contact, which is just about every play, he is trying to keep that arm away from the action.

To me this seems to be a calculated risk by Cowher - he is already short of guys with experience playing safety in the Steelers system.


09-21-2006, 11:41 PM
:tt02: :tt02: :tt02: http://media.putfile.com/Puhlahmahlu-the-video :tt02: :tt02: :tt02:

09-22-2006, 04:30 PM
Well Troy should think this way, What if Mike Logan is in there, maybe he makes that play.

09-22-2006, 06:33 PM
Well Troy should think this way, What if Mike Logan is in there, maybe he makes that play.

Yeah - I remember during the game thinking how huge that play was -- not just for us but for Leftwich too - because it was such a stupid throw - if Troy catches it -- he waltzes into the end zone and Leftwich really feels the heat -- everybody is already calling for Garrard anyway --- I don't care -- I think were right to live and die by Troy with or without two good arms because he's the best there is ....