View Full Version : Ward, McFadden out, Polamalu questionable

10-06-2007, 04:09 AM
Ward, McFadden out, Polamalu questionable
Saturday, October 06, 2007
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers will be without at least one Pro Bowl player -- and perhaps as many as three -- when they play the Seattle Seahawks tomorrow at Heinz Field in a rematch of Super Bowl XL.

Coach Mike Tomlin said four-time Pro Bowl receiver Hines Ward will miss his second consecutive game with a sprained knee. He will be joined on the sidelines by No. 3 cornerback Bryant McFadden, who sustained a high-ankle sprain in this past Sunday's loss in Arizona.

Tomlin said he will list safety Troy Polamalu (torn rib cartilage) and nose tackle Casey Hampton (hamstring) -- a pair of Pro Bowl performers -- as questionable, even though neither player practiced this week and are not expected to play.

"They have a 50-50 chance of playing," Tomlin said. "We need to be smart about it, though. It's only Week 4 and we don't want these [injuries] to be an ongoing problem."

Ward will be replaced at flanker by Nate Washington, who had two catches for 18 yards against the Cardinals. But Washington also failed to make two diving catches that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said could have changed the complexion of the game.

"Nate played good; he could have played great," Arians said. "If he makes those two catches, he would have had a big SportsCenter day."

McFadden, the top backup at cornerback, will be replaced in the nickel package by rookie William Gay, a fifth-round draft choice.

Anthony Smith, a third-round pick in 2006, will start at strong safety if Polamalu does not play.

Crank it up

Tomlin brought another new dimension to practice yesterday -- playing fake crowd noise to prepare for a home game.

Former coach Bill Cowher always used crowd noise to prepare for away games, something Tomlin did not use in practice for games at Cleveland and Arizona.

But Tomlin used it yesterday whenever the Steelers defense was on the field because he said that's when the crowd noise at Heinz Field will be the loudest.

Tomlin said he wanted his defensive players to practice calling signal changes in the noise because the Seahawks like to use a lot of motion and change offensive formations at the line of scrimmage.

"You have to be able to communicate on defense," Tomlin said.

Tomlin said the Tampa Bay Buccaneers always used crowd noise to prepare for home games when he was their secondary coach.

Branching out

Wide receiver Deion Branch wasn't with the Seahawks when they faced the Steelers in Super Bowl XL. But that doesn't mean the Steelers aren't familiar with his abilities.

In three games against the Steelers, all when he was with the New England Patriots, Branch had 14 catches for 277 and two touchdowns, including a 60-yarder in the 2004 AFC Championship Game.

He also ran two reverses for 37 yards in that game, one for 23 yards and a touchdown. Branch, the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX, had seven catches for a career-high 130 yards in last week's 23-3 victory against San Francisco.

"He's their Hines Ward," cornerback Ike Taylor said. "He does everything. That's why he was a Super Bowl MVP."

10-06-2007, 05:41 AM
Myself.. I think that this game this week will
be a very Hard Hitting Physical Game. The Birds think that they
got cheated in the Super Bowl XL and they think that it is time for
revenge. Well, if the Birds win this one I can honestly say that with a Super Bowl XL ring I will give this one to'em. But I dont see
the Birds coming in here and beating our Steelers myself.
Steelers 27
Birds 17

Cape Cod Steel Head
10-06-2007, 06:34 AM
Hampton not playing would be huge. Especially if Troy's out. We need to pressure Hasselhack into making mistakes and getting the short field which we've done all year thus far. Who's Casey's backup?

10-06-2007, 09:24 AM
I think big snack's backup is chris hoke. He's a good backup though, I'm just concerned about having two pro-bowl caliber guys (one that anchors the secondary, and the other that anchors the DL) out at the same time. Indvidually, I wouldn't be as concerned, but having both of these guys out collectively is a problem IMO. Let's hope these guys can step up.

10-06-2007, 09:43 AM
No Hampton, no Polamalu, no Ward--I just got really, really nervous.

Galax Steeler
10-07-2007, 06:39 AM
I think I saw where hampton is going to play.

10-07-2007, 09:44 AM
Ya pretty sure Hampton, and Troy will play so thats great news.

10-07-2007, 10:48 AM
SIT THEM ALL FOR THE BYE............................................... ......................
AND i Think thats Exactly what Management is Gonna Do

The Duke
10-07-2007, 11:27 AM
bad news, troy and casey won't play

at least anthony will start :smile:, though he obviously can't replace troy

10-07-2007, 11:37 AM
No Casey, No Troy. Our Defense took a big hit.

I don't feel good about this game AT ALL. I expect Seattle to attack the secondary and stack the box to stop Willie like Arizona did.

The Steelers have to win ths game with or without Casey, Troy, and Hines. This game just became a 'statement' game. I hope the O-Line got it's crap in check.

I have dwindling confidence in Nate, and Wilson gives me no hope whatsoever.

Atlanta Dan
10-07-2007, 11:48 AM
Tomlin is in the position of attempting to steal a game with those starters out -

Ben wants to be the leader - now is his opportunity