December 2007 - Pittsburgh Steelers Wiretap
Steelers' Batch Likely To Start
Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who did limited work in practice for the third consecutive day, is listed as questionable with a sprained right ankle for Sunday's regular-season finale at Baltimore. Backup Charlie Batch practiced with the first team all week and is expected to make his first start of the season. Roethlisberger also was limited in practice the week prior to the Jacksonville game because of a shoulder injury, but he took reps with the first team on the Friday before the game. Roethlisberger made the start. This week was different for Roethlisberger, who has been more of an observer and was limited in the final practice.
Roethlisberger Likely To Sit Finale Vs. Baltimore
Slowed by a sprained ankle and still nursed sore right shoulder, starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed a second straight day of practice on Thursday, and Pittsburgh Steelers' officials are likely to take a cautionary approach and sit the four-year veteran for Sunday's season finale at Baltimore. Roethlisberger, who on Thursday was named as the AFC offensive player of the week for his performance in a Dec. 20 victory at St. Louis, has started all 15 games this season and 30 straight games over two years. He is one of only 12 quarterbacks in the league who have started every game for their respective teams. If Roethlisberger does not play, 10-year veteran Charlie Batch would get his first start of the year. Batch has not started a game since the 2006 season opener when Roethlisberger was recovering from an appendectomy. Batch has played sparingly in 2007 and completed just one of five passes for 14 yards.
Steelers Place Parker On IR
In an expected move, the Steelers on Monday placed running back Willie Parker on injured reserve with a broken right leg. The NFL's leading rusher, Parker suffered the injury on the Steelers' second play from scrimmage in last Thursday's victory over the Rams. X-rays confirmed that Parker fractured his right fibula.
Tomlin: Steelers Won't Alter Game Plan
There will be no repeat of 1976, no drastic offensive changes, no panic among the coaches after the season-ending injury to running back Willie Parker. Instead, the Steelers say they will merely plug Najeh Davenport into their offense and ask him to do the same thing Parker had done for the first 14 weeks of the National Football League season. Whether he can do it as effectively and productively as Parker, the league's leading rusher, is another issue. "When you lose a guy like Willie, it's more about how deep can you go in the playoffs," Davenport said. "He's our guy. He's our bread-winner. Not having him means everyone else is going to have to pick up their level and play another notch."
Steelers Down Rams; Parker Fractures Leg
Ben Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes Thursday as the Steelers beat the Rams 41-24 to inch closer to a postseason berth. The Steelers improved to 10-5 and will clinch the AFC North division title if the Browns lose to the Bengals on Sunday. They will book a wildcard berth if the Titans lose to the Jets. Jacksonville also have a chance to clinch an AFC berth, taking on Oakland on Sunday. However, the Steelers also suffered another blow on as running back Willie Parker - the NFL's leading rusher with 1,316 yards - broke his right leg in the first quarter. The injury will keep him out for the remainder of the season.
Willie Parker Leaves After Injuring Ankle, Won't Return
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Willie Parker, the NFL's leading rusher, injured his right ankle in the first quarter Thursday night against the St. Louis Rams. The Steelers said he would not return to the game. Parker, who entered the game with 1,317 yards and consecutive 100-yard games, had one carry for a 1-yard loss before leaving the game. It was not clear how Parker was injured.
Steelers Send Anthony 'Guarantee' Smith To Bench
With their secondary suddenly susceptible to the long ball, the Pittsburgh Steelers have demoted starting free safety Anthony Smith, the second-year veteran who guaranteed a victory over the New England Patriots two weeks ago. Eight-year veteran Tyrone Carter will move into the starting lineup for Thursday night's game at St. Louis, where the Steelers hope to end a two-game losing streak and secure at least an AFC wild card playoff berth. Carter, 31, has started four games this season at strong safety when Troy Polamalu was injured. With Polamalu having recovered from a sprained knee and returning to the starting lineup for last week's loss to Jacksonville, Carter is available to move to free safety, where he has played at times in the past. "Football is football," Carter said. "As long as I'm out there, the job is still the same, whether I'm playing free safety or strong safety."
Roethlisberger Questionable Against Jaguars
Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned to practice Friday after missing two days with soreness in his right shoulder, but the fourth-year veteran was officially listed as questionable on the club's injury report for Sunday's home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It is expected that Roethlisberger, who has started all 13 games for the Steelers, will start. But that determination likely won't be made until Sunday, when the Steelers see how his shoulder has responded to rest and treatment. Ten-year veteran Charlie Batch, who has played sparingly in 2007 and thrown only five passes, would start if Roethlisberger cannot play. Batch, 33, has not started since the 2006 season opener. It is not believed that Roethlisberger has any structural damage to his shoulder, but that he is suffering from general soreness and discomfort. He is likely to be less than 100 percent physically if he does play.
Roethlisberger Misses Another Practice
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed practice again Thursday because of a sore right shoulder, with Charlie Batch running the starting offense in his place. On Tuesday, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Roethlisberger's problem wasn't a major one and "I don't want to make more out of it than what it is." The Steelers haven't updated Roethlisberger's condition since then. Tomlin said Roethlisberger's status would be updated Friday. It is common for Steelers players who have relatively minor injuries to miss a day or two of practice and then take part in the final practice of the week Friday and play on Sunday.
Steelers' Polamalu On Track To Start
Troy Polamalu talks to his uncle, Kennedy Pola, every week during the season. "He checks on me to see if I am healthy," Polamalu said. The answer Polamalu gives this week could be both good and bad for Pola. Polamalu, who has missed the Steelers' last three games with a sprained knee, practiced Wednesday and is on track to play Sunday when Jacksonville visits Heinz Field.
Patriots Remain Perfect
Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes, shattering Steelers' safety Anthony Smith's guarantee of a victory, as New England crushed Pittsburgh 34-13 on Sunday.
Steelers' Safety Guarantees Win Over Pats
"We're going to win," safety Anthony Smith said after Wednesday's practice. "Yeah, I can guarantee a win."