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Old 09-21-2006, 11:23 PM   #1
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Default Steelers Looking to Stop Carson Palmer

Steelers Looking to Stop Carson Palmer

By ALAN ROBINSON
AP Sports Writer

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Troy Polamalu may take on the challenge of defending what he calls the AFC's best quarterback with one good arm.

Polamalu, the Pittsburgh Steelers' All-Pro safety, has an injured left shoulder that effectively forced him to play at far less than 100 percent efficiency in a 9-0 loss to Jacksonville on Monday.

"There's a lot of things I could have done better, so that's how good it (the shoulder) is," he said.

Complicating matters, Polamalu has a short week to get well for Sunday's game against Cincinnati and his former Southern Cal roommate, Carson Palmer. To Polamalu, Palmer "probably is the best offensive player in the league."

"You've just got to fight your way through it, just like everyone else on the team," Polamalu said. "With any injury, you're restricted in some way. But there are a lot of people playing in pain and with injuries I'm sure people don't know about."

Polamalu may have missed making an interception against the Jaguars because of the injury that occurred in the Sept. 7 opener against Miami, but, he said, "It's time to move on."

That's the problem: The Steelers (1-1) are moving into perhaps the biggest home game of the season with a secondary that's not playing all that well and a running game that almost disappeared against the Jaguars, gaining 26 yards.

The Steelers, excellent on defense during their Super Bowl run last winter, have allowed 492 yards passing in two games - an excessive number for a team that was No. 4 overall in defense last season. Jacksonville's Byron Leftwich threw for 260 yards against them Monday even without leading a touchdown drive.

Polamalu knows the Steelers can't be so soft in coverage against Palmer, who threw three TD passes against them in a 38-31 Bengals victory in December that all but clinched the AFC North.

"It's obvious the key to their offense is Carson," Polamalu said. "Those guys (wide receivers) do a great job and they could play exactly as they do on any team, but definitely the heart and soul is Carson."

Palmer, of course, will be opposing the Steelers for the first time since his left knee was shredded by a tumbling Kimo von Oelhoffen on the Bengals' first pass play of their 31-17 playoff loss to the Steelers in Cincinnati in January.

Palmer promised then to return to play Pittsburgh this season and he has. What has been equally surprising about his fast comeback is how well he has played. He is 37-for-59 for 479 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Bengals' no-huddle offense also will test a defense that prefers to play cornerbacks Ike Taylor and Deshea Townsend well off the receivers and let them react to a receiver's route, rather than jamming at the line of scrimmage.

That scheme was effective last year in limiting star receiver Chad Johnson, who didn't have a touchdown catch or a 100-yard game in three games against Pittsburgh last season.

"That's our defense," Townsend said. "That's always what we do. If you've been in Pittsburgh watching our defense, the corners always play off most of the time. You can get up there and bump but, for the most part, we play off."

The running game the Steelers had Monday wasn't their usual running game. Willie Parker was limited to 20 yards on 11 carries after having 115 yards against Miami. That inability to run the ball forced the Steelers to lean on rusty quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for their offense.

Only there wasn't much of it as they were held to 167 yards.

"Everything is predicated off the run," wide receiver Hines Ward said.

Roethlisberger figures to be sharper now that he's finally played a game - he missed the Miami game with appendicitis.

To get him going, the Steelers also need more production from a running game that will be going against a defense missing two starting linebackers, David Pollack and Odell Thurman. Pollack is injured and out for the season and Thurman is serving a suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

However, the Bengals have added run-stopping lineman Sam Adams, partly with the intent of trying to control the Steelers' runners.

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Old 09-22-2006, 09:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Looking to Stop Carson Palmer

What exactly is his injury?
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Old 09-22-2006, 02:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers Looking to Stop Carson Palmer

you cant stop a qb, mostly when it is carson. this might sound dumb since im a steelers fan but carson and peyton are the best qbs in the league. ben is the next guy, but u cant stop a top qb. there is a diff between carson and a freshman in highschool. he is a pro and a great one that wont be stopped, best hope is to play good man coverage and stop rudi.
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