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Insider Only Thursday Morning Steelers Buzz: Bulaga/Woodley; McFadden to be targeted

BUZZ ON POUNCEY/SMITH
Aaron Smith is not going to play in Super Bowl XLV but the word from those in the know is that Maurkice Pouncey’s status for the game is going to go right down to the wire.
Pouncey is slowly progressing and there appears to be a growing sense that people shouldn’t be surprised if they see him active on Sunday.
Pouncey has been ruled out by multiple reports, including ESPN and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
PACKERS WILL LIKELY GO AFTER MCFADDEN EARLY
Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden has admitted this week that he won’t be near full health for the Super Bowl as he continues to recover from an abdominal strain.
Many believe the Packers game plan early on is going to center around attacking McFadden who had a nightmare game against the Packers last year in the NFC wildcard round while with the Arizona Cardinals. He was exposed mightily against the Packers scheme.
McFadden has been better this season than his numbers may indicate but statistics show he was the most burned cornerback in the NFL.
McFadden was targeted 116 times this season, giving up 77 completions for 870 yards and a total of 5 touchdown passes.
Due to McFadden’s health, it will be interesting to see how the Steelers use him. They tried to save him against the Jets, starting Will Gay and bringing McFadden in during sub-packages but what worked for Pittsburgh was moving McFadden to his normal spot instead of the slot.
McFadden though insists that he will start Sunday.

HARRISON/CLIFTON – WOODLEY/BULAGA
For all of the buzz about Clay Matthews being a major matchup problem for the Steelers, Pittsburgh has a significant edge with linebackers LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison coming from the outside up against the likes of tackles Bryan Bulaga and Chad Clifton.
This is going to be a matchup that Pittsburgh has to win and it will be a disappointment if the Steelers don’t expose Bulaga and even Clifton who is banged up.
Bulaga, the Packers rookie right tackle has given up 11 sacks in 12 starts this season. He’s very inconsistent and struggles with his foot work at times.
Woodley has 10 career playoff sacks in 6 games.
Clifton who will go head-to-head against James Harrison, has given up 8.5 sacks in 16 starts.
PLAYERS HOPING FOR ROETHLISBERGER OR HARRISON BEING SB XLV MVP
What’s been amazing to watch is how the Steelers have sounded off on commissioner Roger Goodell this week. I don’t want to use the word hate but that’s how a bulk of the players feel towards him.
The Peter King seems to have been a breaking point for some key players. Even with the retraction, Goodell coming out with the quotes has set several players off.
The dream scenario for the players is Goodell handing Ben Roethlisberger or James Harrison the MVP award.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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