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10-31-2008, 06:55 AM
Polamalu impressed with Redskins

By John Harris
Friday, October 31, 2008

Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu said the Washington Redskins "win football games the way we're supposed to win."

The Redskins, Polamalu said Thursday, "run the ball and play great defense."

Polamalu said Washington quarterback Jason Campbell, who doesn't have an interception in 230 passes this season, is playing mistake-free football because he doesn't force plays.

"They're playing smart football," Polamalu said. "They're running the football, and he's making smart throws. They're not putting pressure on him to win."

Polamalu praised Washington's Clinton Portis, the NFL's leading rusher, calling him the best back in football.

"He is the most complete running back in the game," said Polamalu of Portis, who has rushed for 944 yards and seven touchdowns this season. "He's the best blocking third-down back."

Portis' combination of running and blocking, said Polamalu, "is what separates him."

Asked about third-year safety Anthony Smith, who said Wednesday he was frustrated by his lack of playing time, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau replied: "When a player produces, he gets on the field." LeBeau added that the Steelers remain high on Smith, a third-round pick in 2006 who started 10 games at free safety last season.

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said running back Willie Parker, who missed the past four games due to a knee injury, won't be rushed back into the lineup.

"He's not ready to play 50 plays," Arians said.

Among the Steelers who didn't practice yesterday were nose tackle Casey Hampton (toe), defensive end Aaron Smith (personal reasons), left tackle Marvel Smith (back), linebackers LaMarr Woodley (calf) and Keyaron Fox (hamstring), safety Ryan Clark (shoulder) and cornerback Bryant McFadden (forearm).

"Casey's toe is still pretty sore, but he's getting better every day,'' LeBeau said.

As for Hampton and Aaron Smith playing against the Redskins, LeBeau said, "I think they'll both play. I have confidence in both of them."

Smith played against the Giants last Sunday despite not practicing all last week. He returned to practice Wednesday before missing yesterday's practice.

Wide receiver Hines Ward and cornerback Deshea Townsend, who were given Wednesday's practice off by coach Mike Tomlin, both returned yesterday. So did quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has been playing with a tender throwing shoulder since spraining his A/C joint in the second week of the season.

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.