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Old 10-21-2006, 07:48 AM   #1
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Default Simmons likely to return as starter against Falcons

Saturday, October 21, 2006

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Kendall Simmons is still enduring some of the minor nuisances of an ice burn on his right foot. Like, not being able to wear flip-flops in rainy weather.

But, with the skin healing better than expected, Simmons was able to practice with the first-team offense and is expected to return as the starter at right guard tomorrow against the Atlanta Falcons.

"I'm fine," Simmons said yesterday after practice. "I'm ready to get back into it."

Simmons did not play in the Steelers' 45-7 victory Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs after he got the equivalent of frostbite on his right heel when he left a cooling pack on his foot too long. He was replaced by Chris Kemoeatu, who made his first NFL start.

The Steelers kept Simmons, who is a diabetic, out of the game because they were fearful his open wound could become infected.

"It's a lot better than a few days ago," Simmons said, referring to the skin of his heel. "You should have seen it a few days ago. But there's nothing I feel when I take a step."

Simmons isn't the only injured starter on offense who expects to play against the Falcons.

Fullback Dan Kreider (ankle/probable), who was injured against the Chiefs, practiced for the first time this week and should play in the Georgia Dome.

Townsend limited; Porter out

Cornerback Deshea Townsend (hamstring/probable), who played in only third-down situations against the Chiefs, may play a similar role against the Falcons.

Bryant McFadden likely will start his second game in a row at right cornerback, and Townsend, who practiced all week, will play in the slot in nickel and dime defensive packages.

Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Porter (hamstring/doubtful) did not practice all week and will not play.

No comebacks

The Atlanta Falcons are built to run the ball with quarterback Michael Vick, sometimes to their detriment.

To be sure, the Falcons lead the NFL in rush offense and have gained more than 200 yards on the ground in four of their five games this season.

But, because of their dependence on the run, the Falcons are not a team that can throw the ball and come from behind once they are trailing. OK, they did it to the Steelers in 2002 when, trailing, 34-17, they scored 17 points in the final eight minutes to force an overtime tie.

That, though, was a rarity for the Falcons. Since 2002, the Falcons are 2-18-1 in games in which they trail at halftime.

When asked about the passing game, Falcons coach Jim Mora Jr. said, "You sound like my dad. It's coming along. It's not something that we had to depend on up to this point because we're running the ball so effectively."

A bad idea

Running back Najeh Davenport said several of the linebackers have challenged him to a race after he was caught from behind by Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen on a 48-yard run Sunday.

He indicated that wouldn't be a good idea for the linebackers.

"I told them, [Allen] caught me at a bad time," Davenport said. "I had already tapped into the tank."

Davenport said his best time in the 40-yard dash was 4.35 when he was a junior at Miami and weighed 242 pounds. Now, at 255 pounds, Davenport said he thinks he can run "a high 4.4."

"I don't think I can get back to 242 pounds," Davenport said.
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Old 10-21-2006, 08:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: Simmons likely to return as starter against Falcons

If Simmons plays, they'd need to keep Kemo activated. The ST's have not exactly been top notch this season and it seems like a bad idea to take away another player from the ST's in order to have Kemo dress.

If I recall correctly, the coaching staff wasn't exactly thrilled with Kendall's early play last season. He finally started picking up his game before our late run. He's coming up on the end of his contract and if they plan on having Kemo part of their future, I'd keep him in there for one more game and see what exactly this guy brings to the table.
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Old 10-21-2006, 01:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: Simmons likely to return as starter against Falcons

I think kemoeatu had a great game vs the chiefs. everybody underestimates the chiefs defense but the facts say that at that time they were a top ten defense and they do have a solid defenseive line and kemoeatu was able to handle the challenge. i agree with you that if the steelers love this guy as to keep him on the team for a couple years like this they gotta play him so that he can one day be the next great steeler lineman. im not sure about their speeds but simmons in my mind looks a little slower than kemoeatu. and its time for the steelers to play a new kemo cuz i miss seeing the other kimo out there. although the diesel has been playin well.
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