Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-GazetteSteelers Notebook: Woodley says he's ready to play
Calf injury won't keep linebacker from Washington game on Monday night
Saturday, November 01, 2008
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley said he doesn't know how he injured his calf against the New York Giants. But he does know it feels well enough to practice and play against the Washington Redskins.
Woodley, who is second on the team with 7.5 sacks, returned to practice yesterday for the first time this week and said he doesn't expect any problems about being ready to face the Redskins.
However, guard Chris Kemoeatu did not practice because of an ankle sprain and was replaced by Trai Essex. The Steelers are hoping Kemoeatu will return to practice today -- their final full workout before Monday's game.
Also, Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu did not attend practice because he was given the day off for non-injury reasons.
"I didn't get hit; I didn't fall on it. It just started hurting," Woodley said of his injury. "But the extra day [of practice] really helped because I could let it heal an extra day."
In addition to Woodley, defensive end Aaron Smith returned to practice after being excused for personal reasons.
Defending the defender
Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau jumped to the defense of free safety Anthony Smith, who has been bypassed for Tyrone Carter as a replacement for injured Ryan Clark.
Smith began last season rotating every third series with Clark and became the starter in Week 7 after Clark was diagnosed with an inflamed spleen. But, after allowing a number of deep passes, Smith was eventually replaced by Carter.
"His first year, he probably played the most because he and Ryan were rotating, as you recall, and he played very well," LeBeau said of the third-year safety. "We believe that's the kind of player he is. We all go through ups and downs. I think he's recovered very well.
"From day one in training camp, he's come in with a great attitude. He's worked hard, hasn't been in any trouble, he's been a joy to coach. Like all players, he has some better times and some tough times, and I think he's gone through his tough times and he's ready to be real productive again."
Taylor in Burress' shadow
The Steelers pulled out one of their old defensive tactics against the Giants, using cornerback Ike Taylor to follow wide receiver Plaxico Burress all over the field.
The only time Taylor didn't shadow Burress was when the former Steelers receiver lined in the slot.
"It was something the coaching staff wanted to do," Taylor said. "They give me the green light, I'm with it."
Taylor had one of his best games of the season against the Giants, holding Burress to three catches for 15 yards, registering six tackles and breaking up a pass.
Monday night, he gets to face another former teammate -- Redskins wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, who became the Steelers' starting split end in 2005 when Burress left in free agency.
"It's a whole different mix -- from a 6-4, 230-pound guy to a 5-10 shifty guy with double moves," Taylor said. "He'll give you everything you want."
Steelers jerseys are hot items
The Steelers have two players among the top 10 selling NFL jerseys, according to Reebok. Troy Polamalu's No. 43 jersey is No. 7 and Ben Roethlisberger's No. 7 jersey is 10th.
Brett Favre's New York Jets jersey is No. 1; his No. 4 Green Bay Packers jersey is fifth.
Ben's fund aids police
The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation at The Giving Back Fund has awarded a grant to the Greenbelt Police K-9 unit in Greenbelt, Md., near Washington, D.C. The department is seeking financial assistance for the purchase of a new canine after one of their current dogs, Cigo, was injured in the line of duty in September.
First published on November 1, 2008 at 12:00 am