View Full Version : Steelers' bench coming up big

11-12-2009, 09:36 PM
Steelers' bench coming up big
Posted Nov. 12, 2009 @ 11:36 a.m.
By Mike Wilkening

The Steelers' impressive depth has been apparent all season, and even more so recently because of several injuries on defense.

In Pittsburgh's Week Nine win at Denver, the Steelers were down three starters on defense but still limited the Broncos to just three points on offense and only 59 yards (one yard rushing) in the second half. What's more, all of the reserves pressed into service played well. At left defensive end, veteran Nick Eason and rookie Ziggy Hood proved capable replacements for Travis Kirschke, out with a calf injury and himself replacing Aaron Smith, who is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Eason started and had a tackle, while Hood hit QB Kyle Orton on the pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by FS Tyrone Carter, who earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for picking off a pair of passes vs. the Broncos.

Carter was filling in for Ryan Clark, who sat out the Broncos game after becoming seriously ill the last time he played in Denver because he has sickle-cell trait. The club's third safety, Carter started four games at strong safety earlier in the season when SS Troy Polamalu was out with a knee injury, and with six years of experience in Dick LeBeau's defense, he is one of their most valuable reserves.

"He plays well every time we put him in there," LeBeau said of Carter earlier this season. "We know what he's going to do: he's going to hit and he's going to be in the right place."

Another reserve, RILB Keyaron Fox, has impressed when he has had a chance to play in place of Lawrence Timmons, who has missed a pair of games with injury this season. Fox notched seven tackles at Denver.

On offense, the Steelers continue to get impressive production from rookie WR Mike Wallace, who doesn't start but gets plenty of playing time and has made quite an impression with his speed, sure hands and feel for the game. He has filled the role once played by Nate Washington with aplomb. And the Steelers' greatest success story of all this season has been the ascension of second-year RB Rashard Mendenhall, who was slated to be a reserve but took over the starting job when Willie Parker missed time with turf toe.

11-13-2009, 03:10 PM
It truly is nice to have talented depth on the team!