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Insider Only Thursday Notebook: Timmons misses third straight practice

TIMMONS STILL QUESTIONABLE
Even though he expects to play in Denver, inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons missed his third straight day of practice this week. Timmons suffered a sprained in the win against the Vikings.
But because the Steelers don’t play until Monday, they have an extra day of practice this week. So if Timmons can practice Friday, his chances of playing against the Broncos improve.
If Timmons can’t go, Keyaron Fox will start.
ROETHLISBERGER PRAISES BRONCOS’ DEFENSE.
Josh McDaniels, the offensive-minded first-year head coach, and quarterback Kyle Orton have been getting plenty of credit the Broncos’ impressive 6-1 start. But according to Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, the Denver defense is holding up its end of the deal.
“They’re the No. 1 defense in the world, that’s what we’ve heard Coach (Mike) Tomlin say 1,000 times this week already,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s going to be an awesome challenge for our offense.”
Last year when the Broncos went 8-8, their defense ranked 29th in the league.
But so far this year, they’re No. 1 overall, third against the run, eighth against the pass and second in scoring defense at 13.7 points per game.
PLAYING IN DENVER NOT AN ISSUE FOR HOLMES

Ryan Clark isn’t the only Steelers who carries the sickle cell trait. So does wide receiver Santonio Holmes.
But unlike Clark, who’s gotten ill after playing in Denver twice in his career, Holmes didn’t have any problems during or after his first game at Invesco Field at Mile High two years ago.
“I just had a lot of trouble breathing when I was up there last time,” Holmes said. “Every time I was taking a break out from the game, I had an oxygen mask and an inhaler right by my side. It was real tough for me to breathe.”
Why would Clark have problems in Denver and not Holmes?
“It’s more than the sickle-cell trait. There are a lot of people who play football in Denver with the sickle-cell trait,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “Ryan is a unique case where it’s the sickle-cell trait and a combination of something else, which I am not educated to speak on. But it is sickle-cell trait in combination with some other pre-existing medical issue that creates it.
“Santonio is not at any unique risk,” Tomlin added.
Holmes agreed.
Playing in Denver, he said, “Isn’t even an issue.”
NO ANTHONY MADISON SIGHTINGS
Special teams coach Bob Ligashesky wouldn’t bite when asked if the Steelers have any interest in signing Anthony Madison, a cornerback who played three years in Pittsburgh primarily because he was did an outstanding job covering kicks.
“We coach the players who are here,” is all Ligashesky said.
Madison’s name surfaced this week after he was cut by the Cleveland Browns. Madison played for the Steelers from 2006-2008 but was cut in early September.
The Steelers have allowed touchdowns on kickoff returns in each of their last two games.

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Mike Bires

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