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Tag:Troy Polamalu
Posted on: November 29, 2010 3:48 am
Edited on: November 29, 2010 4:20 am
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Posted on: November 27, 2010 11:43 am
 

Week 12 injury news and analysis, part I

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Jaguars at Giants

Two of Jacksonville’s most important offensive players, WR Mike Sims-Walker and RB Maurice Jones-Drew, are questionable because of an ankle and an abdomen, respectively. Sims-Walker didn’t play last week because of his high ankle sprain, so it’s a bit surprising that he practiced at all this week (high ankle sprains tend to keep players out at least three to four weeks). Sims-Walker was limited Thursday and Friday, which tells us one of two things – either he’s an unbelievably fast healer or coach Jack Del Rio is using a bit of gamesmanship to keep New York guessing.

Jones-Drew has been on fire recently – he’s accumulated 368 yards and three touchdowns in his past three games (he’s also added 123 receiving yards) – and he’s more likely to play than not. If not, look for Rashad Jennings to get more opportunities.

Though he’s been awfully entertaining on his Twitter account since he was admitted to the hospital with back pain (he was released from the hospital Saturday morning), New York G Shawn Andrews is doubtful (Will Beatty will take his place). CB Will Blackmon is questionable with a chest injury.

Steelers at Bills


Once again, LB Shawne Merriman (who still hasn’t played a game since signing with Buffalo) is out with an Achilles tendon injury. RB C.J. Spiller is questionable, but considering Fred Jackson (249 yards, three touchdowns) has been so good the past two games, Spiller’s absence shouldn’t have a huge impact on the offense (special teams might be a different story, though). The team doesn’t want to play Spiller until he’s 100 percent healthy, which he almost surely is not.

Pittsburgh only has four players on the injury report – WR Antonio Brown and DE Aaron Smith are out, TE Matt Spaeth (concussion) is doubtful and S Troy Polamalu (ankle) is questionable. Polamalu most likely will play. He played last week despite the injury, and the Steelers plan was to rest him early in the week and let him play Sunday (he was limited Wednesday and Thursday but had full participation in practice Friday).

Titans at Texans

If you formed a flag football team just out of the players that are listed as probable on Houston’s injury report, you’d have a pretty good chance to win an intramural title. Those players include QB Matt Schaub, WR Andre Johnson, LB Brian Cushing and DE Mario Williams. Unfortunately for your beer-league dream team, all will be playing NFL football Sunday.

For Tennessee, Randy Moss still isn’t listed on the injury report, which confuses me. If he’s active and playing, how come nobody is throwing him the ball? If he was hurt, then it would make sense. Speaking of players who don’t throw the ball to Moss, backup QB Kerry Collins – who will be the starter once again at some point – is questionable. But rookie Rusty Smith still is slated to the start at QB.

Also for the Titans, DT Jason Jones is questionable with a knee injury. DT Tony Brown (knee) also is questionable, but he’s more likely to play.

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Posted on: November 19, 2010 10:49 am
Edited on: November 19, 2010 10:58 am
 

Week 11 Key Matchup: Raiders-Steelers on ground

Posted by Andy Benoit

If you’re a fan of smashmouth football, you’re salivating at this Sunday’s showdown between the second-ranked Raiders run offense and the first-ranked Steelers run defense. Oakland’s suddenly effective ground game has been one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this season. Darren McFadden, once a raw, oft-injured first-round bust has blossomed into a bona fide feature back. McFadden leads the league with 108.1 yards per game on the ground, and he’s amongst the league leaders in yards after contact. Bruising backup Michael Bush is also chipping in 46.3 yards per game. D. McFadden (US Presswire)Pittsburgh D (US Presswire)

McFadden’s success on the ground has come primarily on tosses and off-tackle runs (i.e. outside). The Raiders have utilized more six-man lines this season, and the athleticism of rookie left tackle Jared Veldheer has allowed for more movement-based concepts to be incorporated into the run-blocking scheme.

This is particularly noteworthy for Sunday because, as important as nose tackle Casey Hampton and strong safety Troy Polamalu are, the key to Pittsburgh’s run defense has always been the defensive ends. (This is one of the best kept secrets in football, by the way.)

While most 3-4 defenses prefer space-eating anchors at end, the Steelers have always relied on undersized but athletic chaos creators. Instead of commanding double teams on the edge through sheer power, the Steelers aim to command doubles through lateral movement. Essentially, if an end can be disruptive going east and west, he’s going to force the offensive tackle AND either the guard or tight end to engage.

This uncommon approach naturally breaks down a blocking scheme. When a 3-4 end simply holds ground, he’s reacting to an offense. By getting movement on the outside, the Steeler ends force offenses to react to THEM. Thus, the three Steeler defensive linemen dictate the terms of engagement against the five offensive linemen. Three on five? If that battle simply results in a draw, the Steelers win, as the numbers mismatch frees up the linebackers and safeties to play in downhill attack mode.

Of course, getting movement as a 3-4 end is not easy to do – if it were, every team would follow Pittsburgh’s blueprint. The Steelers have been fortunate to have two perfect veteran ends for their scheme: Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith (it’s not just lip service when Steelers coaches and players claim Smith is the defense’s most valuable player).

Problem is, Keisel and Smith are both out Sunday (Keisel is not yet ready to return from a bad hamstring; Smith is doubtful for the remainder of the season with a torn triceps). Recent first-round pick Ziggy Hood has shown flashes, but he’s an inconsistent starter at this point. And, by most accounts, journeyman Nick Eason was been ho-hum filling in at the other end position.

As effective as McFadden and Bush have been, a full-strength Steelers D-line would have little problem stifling Oakland’s rushing attack. But a depleted Steelers D-line levels the playing field. This is what makes Sunday’s matchup so intriguing.

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Posted on: November 13, 2010 1:47 pm
 

Helmet to helmet hits could be result of offenses

J. Harrison has been fined heavily for illegal helmet-to-helmet hits (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Big congratulations must go to the Steelers this week. They weren’t fined once – not even one time! – for illegal hits. Considering James Harrison is still employed by the organization, that’s a pretty good accomplishment.

On a more serious note, S Troy Polamalu thinks he knows why the illegal helmet-to-helmet hits became such a big problem. He agrees with his defensive coordinator, Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau, that the coaching staff can continue to tweak the players’ techniques so there’s less of a chance of dangerous hits, but ultimately, Polamalu thinks they’re going to be nearly impossible to get rid of completely.

In part, it’s because many offenses are so wide open that defenders have to cover more area than ever before. That means there’s more momentum when a defender actually makes contact with an offensive player.

"The game has evolved in a sense that, of course, people are bigger and faster now, but it's also evolved in a sense that it's not eight guys in the box every down and two guys in the backfield," Polamalu told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "When you start spreading teams out and you start getting space and distance – and you've got to get that burst to make that hit – that's why you're seeing a lot more hits than normal. It's because of the way offenses are playing."

The notion isn’t so ridiculous. LeBeau, after all, agrees.

Another good point from Polamalu here: "Back in the day, it was easier to make open-field tackles in the box. You could see what was coming, for the most part. But when you're running all these fast crossing routes and you're spreading people out, those hits you're seeing are pretty much from spread offenses: big shots down the field, crossing routes. … It's never a safety coming downhill (and) hitting a running back in the mouth."

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Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:17 am
 

Hot Routes 10.26.10: Math means Morris is right



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

- You have to love Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris’ … um … stubbornness in the face of the stats that tell the world that the claims he’s making are completely wrong. From today’s Tampa Tribune: “Even after it was pointed out that the Bucs rank 23rd in the league in total offense and 22nd in the league in total defense (including 31st in the league against the run), Morris refused to alter his claim. ‘Stats are for losers, so you keep looking at stats and we'll keep looking at wins … I mean, you are what your record says you are in this league, and right now we're tied for the fewest losses (in the National Football Conference), so that makes us the best team.’ His logic is flawless.

- Hooray for Patriots SS Brandon Meriweather! He didn’t get in trouble this week with the NFL. That thrills Bill Belichick to no end.

- Chiefs coach Todd Haley has a weird sense of the schedule and where his teams stands in the AFC West. But whatever, because whatever he’s doing is working.

- How many times will Cardinals RB Tim Hightower have to fumble before Ken Whisenhunt replaces him in the starting lineup with Beanie Wells? Apparently, four is a pretty good number. Sounds like Whisenhunt could insert Wells into Hightower’s role.

- Eagles QB Michael Vick is predicting he’ll be 100 percent by the time Philadelphia plays Indianapolis on Nov. 7.

- Speaking of 100 percent, that’s where Jets CB Darrelle Revis says he is right now after fighting through hamstring problems. If you click the link, be prepared for plenty of analogies regarding Revis Island.

- Speaking of Eagles players who are injured, coach Andy Reid said WR DeSean Jackson has passed his concussion test. He also could be ready for the Colts game.

- Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall can NOT believe Bears QB Jay Cutler still would throw his way if their teams met again. “If I had to play Jay Cutler every single week, man, I'd be in the Hall of Fame,” Hall said in his latest bit of trash talking. Turns out, Hall will be in the Hall of Fame. Well, his jersey from last Sunday (when he picked off four passes) will be, at least.

- If you want your hair to look exactly like Troy Polamalu’s locks, I have an easy solution for you. Hair and Shoulders shampoo is not included, though.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: October 1, 2010 8:50 pm
 

Report: Andre Johnson using PRP for therapy

Posted by Will Brinson

Andre Johnson surprised plenty of people when he was able to return from a high ankle sprain one week later, even he didn't play that well.

Stephanie Stradley at FanHouse may have the answer for Johnson's quick recovery -- according to her report, Johnson (and others on the Texans roster) are using Platelet-Rich-Therapy (PRP) to rehabilitate from injuries.

PRP first gained recognition when both Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu returned in time for Super Bowl XL using the medicinal technology, and when Tiger Woods received the treatment to return from knee surgery and play in four majors.

PRP is a process that takes the body's own substances to help heal itself -- to quote Stradley, "a doctor removes blood from the patient's body, spins the blood in a special centrifuge that concentrates platelets, and then re-injects the platelets into the injured area."

One potential downside, media-wise, to the process, is that Dr. Anthony Galea (who's best known for reportedly being tied to HGH usage ) is one of the leaders in the field .

But the upside is that, clearly, it allows players to rehabilitate faster and it's not against NFL rules. Longer term effects aren't exactly known yet, which could be a concern for someone like Johnson (who just got a shiny new contract) but considering the level of play from Ward and Polamalu since their treatment, perhaps that's not something to worry about.

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Posted on: September 17, 2010 10:44 am
Edited on: September 17, 2010 11:02 am
 

Podcast: Week 2 early game previews

Posted by Will Brinson

It's Friday, which means we're one good night's worth of sleep from getting about 48 straight hours of glorious football.

Saturday is fun, of course, but Sunday is where the real action happens -- Andy Benoit and I hopped on the old podcast machine this week to preview the games that will be played. This particular segment previews the early games on Sunday, and we discuss whether Marshawn Lynch to Green Bay makes sense (and whether Buffalo can beat Green Bay), what the mess is wrong with the Jets offense (and whether they can hang with the Pats), if Jimmy Clausen's time has come in Carolina, whether Chad Henne needs to just go ahead and retire and give his starting job over to Chad Pennington, and whether or not teams like Kansas City and Arizona can magically go to 2-0.

Click play below or make it easy on yourself and Subscribe via iTunes .

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow  @cbssportsnfl   on Twitter   and subscribe to our  RSS Feed .
Posted on: September 9, 2010 7:45 pm
 

NFL Predictions from the F&R Crew

Posted by Will Brinson

It's prediction time, kiddos! And really, nothing's more awesome than putting yourself in charge of compiling these, creating HTML, squeezing them in just before the start of the first game and then being totally wrong a few months from now. The nice part is, you can make your own predictions below. Seriously, you can, and we're interested. So comment away. Or don't -- this post will be here all season long so you come back and remember just how right we all were.

Award Josh Andy Will
SB  Champs Colts Colts Falcons
NFC Champs Packers Saints Falcons
AFC Champs Colts Colts Chargers
NFC South
Saints Saints Falcons
NFC North Vikings
Packers Packers
NFC East Cowboys Cowboys Eagles
NFC West 49ers 49ers 49ers
AFC South
Colts Colts Colts
AFC North Bengals Ravens Bengals
AFC East Jets Patriots Patriots
AFC West Chargers Chargers Chargers
MVP Peyton Manning Aaron Rodgers Philip Rivers
Coach Jim Caldwell Mike Tomlin Norv Turner
Offensive POY Chris Johnson Aaron Rodgers Aaron Rodgers
Defensive POY Darrelle Revis Troy Polamalu Patrick Willis
Offensive Rookie Ryan Mathews Jahvid Best Ryan Mathews
Defensive Rookie Ndamukong Suh Brandon Graham Sean Weatherspoon

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com