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Insider Only The Latest Steelers Buzz: Kemoeatu, Polamalu out for Sunday’s game

Week 15 Mike Tomlin Press Conference
The Pittsburgh Steelers received some bad news last week when star safety Troy Polamaly had an MRI on Wednesday.
The Steelers were hopeful that Polamalu would be cleared to practice this week but there has not been enough healing on his injured PCL. Polamalu has been ruled out for this week and his status for the rest of the regular season is in doubt.
The injury is worse than initially thought as the Steelers were hopeful that Polamalu would only be sidelined for 1-2 weeks. “The healing process is a little slower than we anticipated, ” Tomlin said.
Polamalu told the media on Monday that he is hopeful to play in the Steelers season finale on Janaury 3rd.
“We are what we are, a 6-7 losing team, ” Mike Tomlin said today. If the Steelers are to turn around their season, they will have to do so without Troy Polamalu. The mindset that Troy Polamalu will automatically fix things won’t happen as Polamalu is still at least two weeks away from being cleared to play.
In other injury news Mike Tomlin will shutdown Chris Kemoeatu for this week. Kemoeatu has a right wrist and right knee injury. “This is a guy that’s playing one-sided, ” Tomlin said.
Guard Ramon Foster will make his second start of the season and Kemoeatu may be sidelined for at least two weeks.
Starting center Justin Hartwig had his knee drained on Monday. He will be limited for the early part of practices this week.
Potential changes this week
Mike Tomlin promised changes last week, however there were few personnel changes against Cleveland. This week Tomlin will explore changes and a few noted changes will center around Rashard Mendenhall and Santonio Holmes.

Rashard Mendenhall is 60 yards from 1,000 yards rushing and has established himself as a three down back. For the second straight week, Mendenhall will replace Mewelde Moore as the Steelers primary third down back. The reason for the change is that Moore has not been up to par in picking up the blitz.
“Rashard has done a nice job from a blitz standpoint, Tomlin said. ” Mewelde has not been consistent from a blitz standpoint.”
Tomlin also indicated today that Santonio Holmes will continue to get reps as a punt returner. “We will continue with him {Santonio Holmes} as a situational return man, ” Tomlin said.
Tomlin talked extensively today about the Steelers struggles on third down. He really pinpointed the 3rd down struggles as the main reason the offense is not producing like it should be.
Meanwhile, Tomlin has not been pleased with the Steelers running success in 3rd and short situations. “Fifty percent is not good enough, ” Tomlin said as Rashard Mendenhall is 6-for-12 in 3rd and 2 or less situations.
The Steelers are ranked 17th in the NFL in 3rd down conversion.
*The secondary will be another closely watch situation this week. Ryan Mundy will continue to get an extensive look at safety as Mundy is playing for a starting job next season.
Moving forward though, Ike Taylor and William Gay will remain the Steelers starting cornerbacks.
He {Joe Burnett} did OK, ” Tomlin said. He didn’t distinguish himself, so that’s why at this point we’re continuing with the rotation that we have with a lot of people.”
The rookie corner is expected to see about the same amount of playing time as last week (4 possessions) but according to Tomlin, Burnett will not push Gay or Taylor out of the starting lineup.
Whether Keenan Lewis gets in the lineup is up in the air. Lewis took first team reps last week but was in-active against Cleveland.
Tomlin was non-committal on whether Lewis will play this week. According to Tomlin, if a spot on special teams opens up, Lewis will get a look.
*Don’t expect any changes at linebacker. There continues to be a push from the media for Keyaron Fox to get more looks but the team doesn’t plan to replace Lawrence Timmons in the starting lineup or James Farrior.

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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