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Pittsburgh Steelers

Stadium: Heinz Field | Coach: Mike Tomlin
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense5th119.5 (10th)286.9 (5th)
Defense13th102.2 (10th)241.6 (16th)

Steelers report: Strategy and personnel

The Sports Xchange
 
Strategy and personnel · Notes, quotes · Inside slant
 

: The Steelers are poised to sign WR Tyler Grisham from their practice squad if they deem Hines Ward not able to play Thursday night. Tuesday, they re-signed RB Isaac Redman to their practice squad and released G Jonathan Palmer.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--TE Heath Miller has caught just two passes in the past two games, by far his lowest two-game production of the season, and also dropped two during that span.

--DE Travis Kirschke should return to start on the left side after missing four of the past five games with a calf injury.

--RB Willie Parker has rushed for 100 yards six times during the Steelers' 12-game winning streak vs. the Browns and could see more time Thursday because of an ankle injury to Rashard Mendenhall.

--QB Ben Roethlisberger has a career-high four 300-yard passing games this season, trying a team record.

--WR Santonio Holmes needs 13 yards to have his first 1,000-yard season. His 987 yards leads the team and ranks seventh in the NFL.

GAME PLAN
The weather is supposed to be cold and maybe sloppy in Cleveland. The Steelers hope to run the ball and re-establish a power running game with the I-formation, using more of tight end David Johnson as their blocking back. Defensively, they will prepare to stop the Browns' deep passing game, which has emerged a little lately under Brady Quinn. The Steelers have allowed too much passing yards in the fourth quarter and they figure the Browns will come out slinging.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Browns KR Joshua Cribbs vs. Steelers kickoff coverage team. Cribbs returned one 98 yards for a TD on Oct. 18, one of four this season against Pittsburgh.

Browns LT Joe Thomas vs. Steelers ROLB James Harrison. Thomas blanked Harrison, who has 10 sacks, in their first meeting.

Browns rookie WR Mohamed Massaquoi vs. Steelers CBs. Massaquoi, the team's leading receiver, led Browns with 5 catches for 83 yards last time against the Steelers, who may use two rookies at corner Thursday.

INJURY IMPACT
SS Troy Polamalu (knee) will miss his fourth straight game. Tyrone Carter will start for him but Ryan Mundy also may play a lot, especially on passing downs. ... WR Hines Ward (hamstring) likely will not play. Mike Wallace will start and Limas Sweed will play more. ... Charlie Batch (broken left wrist) practiced this week and could be the No. 3 QB. ... RB Rashard Mendenhall has a sprained ankle that may limit him, but Mike Tomlin said he will play.

Copyright (C) 2009 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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