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Old 09-09-2010, 07:33 AM   #1
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Default Polamalu expects challenges from Mularkey-led offense

Polamalu expects challenges from Mularkey-led offense
Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mark Kaboly is the McKeesport Daily News sports editor and can be reached at 412-664-9161 or via via e-mail.
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Franchise cornerback Dunta Robinson, who signed a lucrative free-agent contract with Atlanta during the offseason, didn't play in one preseason game for the Falcons with a nagging hamstring injury he suffered early in training camp. But coach Mike Smith said the former first-round pick of the Houston Texans will be in the lineup Sunday when the Falcons open against the Steelers. "We anticipate him to be 100 percent," Smith said. "He has been practicing with us, and we just made the decision to pull him out of the last two preseason games. He has been practicing the last 14 days without any limitations." Well, there has been one limitation Robinson's conditioning. Robinson told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that his conditioning has been a problem, and the only thing that will get him into game shape is playing a game. The Steelers just may test Robinson. "He hasn't played, so obviously, we want to go at him and see if he has been running like we've been running," receiver Mike Wallace. "We are going to go after him and see if he is ready to run."

Troy Polamalu was only a rookie in 2003, but he remembers the name Mike Mularkey. He was the Steelers offensive coordinator for 2001-03 and gave the defense, including Polamalu, fits during practice. Mularkey has been running Atlanta's offense the past three years. "Coach Mularkey was a good offensive coordinator here, and he is going to give us a lot of different challenges as well," Polamalu said. "He is going to give us a lot of looks and a lot of different shifts to try to confuse us."

With quarterback Dennis Dixon making only his second career start, there will be even more of an emphasis on the Steelers' running game and Rashard Mendenhall. "It is important in any game in the NFL to run the ball and give your defense a break and move the chains and control the game," Mendenhall said. "It is important in any game let alone because Dennis Dixon is starting." Of the 11 players who started on offense last season, only five holdovers will take the field Sunday, and 40 percent of the offensive line will be missing.
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