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Old 10-16-2009, 03:39 AM   #1
Galax Steeler
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Default LeBeau faces another test

Dick LeBeau looks like a guy who recovered his stolen BMW only to learn thieves switched the engine. Only one thing to do, motor on.

The injury gods returned Troy Polamalu to the Steelers this week and snatched Aaron Smith for the rest of the season.

"We're better with Aaron, we're better with Troy, but the cards are what they are," said LeBeau, the Steelers' defensive coordinator.

LeBeau, who shuffled the cards at safety and elsewhere to make up for Polamalu's absence the past five games, must turn to left defensive end to turn the trick now. He expects Jamal Lewis and the Cleveland Browns to run right after the new guys there.

"There's no question about that, but our guys over there will do a good job," LeBeau said. "Aaron is a guy, he just doesn't get blocked. But we have good depth in the defensive line, and I know those guys will step in there and do a good job. There's only one Aaron Smith, but I think we'll function very well with the guys we have."

First up will be Travis Kirschke, who "for us last year was his best year," LeBeau said, when he started six games at right end for Brett Keisel. Veteran Nick Eason and top rookie Ziggy Hood will rotate in with Kirschke.

"It's a challenge for us all," LeBeau said. "I think our guys will answer that challenge."

Polamalu looks forward to his first challenge since the MCL in his left knee was sprained in the first half of the opener. He will wear a brace that provides support but limits him to some extent. It's why players other than linemen and some quarterbacks do not wear knee braces until they have been injured.

"I honestly think it's probably impossible to hurt your knee in those braces," said Polamalu.

He said he likely would not have been injured had he worn a brace in the opener.

"If Tom Brady would have been wearing one, I doubt that would have happened to him as well," he said of the New England Patriots' quarterback whose 2008 season ended with a blow to his knee in the opener.

"I know at USC, all the quarterbacks wear one on their front leg. It's funny, in college you were always putting pads on for protection. In the NFL, you're taking everything off for speed, you know."

The issue is, if they do not like to wear knee braces because it limits their movement, how limited might Polamalu be wearing one Sunday and perhaps beyond?

"It does limit your movement a little bit," Polamalu said. "I don't see it as a problem, really. I think all movement is always limited but, at this point, I haven't moved at explosive speed at all."

Polamalu also acknowledged that waiting one more week before playing would help his knee heal. So, why not wait?

"I think another month would make a huge difference. The season is short. The season is long when you're healthy, but it's short when you're injured because you don't have as much rest time."

At least, the BMW looks good back in the driveway to LeBeau.

"That's a big plus for us because of the splash plays he can make. It's kind of like Aaron, there's only one Troy, and, when he's not on the field, we're not quite the same."

Ben makes the call

Ben Roethlisberger asked to call his own plays after he threw an interception in Detroit and turned that series into a quick touchdown.

Could there come a time when he becomes a modern-day Jim Kelly and calls them all?

"We've done it close to that a couple times," Roethlisberger said yesterday. "We have a full package out there."

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who calls the plays from the sideline and not from the coaches' box, has given his quarterback more freedom through the past few years to call his own plays with a huddle or not.

"We like to get to the no-huddle if we need a change of pace, or if I feel we need something like I did the other night after the interception," Roethlisberger said. "A lot of times, I just have confidence he's going to call a great game."

Crowd noise on the road does not affect those decisions, the quarterback said.

"We can do it anywhere. We get a little muddle-huddle. We kind of did that with guys coming to me and getting the play, and then we'll change it at the line."
Don't beg for the ball

Roethlisberger said he has heard no complaints from any teammates this season as he has spread passes around to nine receivers, and he issued some advice to anyone who might beg for more passes his way.

"It actually makes it worse. Don't complain to me."

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Old 10-17-2009, 02:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: LeBeau faces another test

Nice read and thanks for posting it Galax! It will be interesting to see how the knee brace does affect Troy tomorrow.
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Old 10-17-2009, 02:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: LeBeau faces another test

Nice article thanks for posting!
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