Tomlin: Keisel, Hampton and Starks candidates for surgery

Monday, January 09, 2012
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said today at his season-ending news conference that nose tackle Casey Hampton and offensive tackle Max Starks have ACL injuries and defensive lineman Brett Keisel has a severe groin injury. All three are being evaluated today by team doctors and are potential candidates for surgery.

Tomlin also said surgery is a possibility for Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, who did not play in the final game of the season for the second year in a row because of a high ankle sprain.

Tomlin also provided some more insight into the defensive concept on the final play of the game -- an 80-yard pass from Tim Tebow to Demaryius Thomas for the game-winning touchdown on the first play of the overtime period.

Tomlin said it was an inverted zone coverage where the safeties were close to the line of scrimmage for run support. He declined to say what safety Ryan Mundy's responsibilities were on the play.

Tomlin said it is not out of the ordinary for the Steelers to employ such a defense in that situation. He said they have done it many times when facing run-oriented quarterbacks.

Tomlin also said that he would "probably" attack the Denver offense in the same way if he had to do it over again. He explained that defending Tebow and the potential of his running limits what a defense can do in a planned scheme.

Tomlin was asked if he expected offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator D!ck LeBeau back next season.

He acknowledged the possibility for change, but said "we're going to work to maintain continuity as we always do."

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