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Pittsburgh Steelers

Stadium: Heinz Field | Coach: Mike Tomlin
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense19th86.4 (26th)251.1 (10th)
Defense13th115.6 (18th)221.6 (10th)

Steelers report: Strategy and personnel

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

The Steelers have signed a handful of futures players but made no other personnel moves as they prepare to play the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.

There have been reports that the Arizona Cardinals want to talk to linebackers coach Keith Butler about becoming their defensive coordinator, but that will have to wait until at least next week.

PLAYER NOTES

-- CB Bryant McFadden, who has left the past two games early with an abdominal strain, will practice for the first time this week on Friday, coach Mike Tomlin said Thursday.

-- S Will Allen, who left last Saturday's playoff game with a sprained knee, will practice for the first time this week on Friday, coach Mike Tomlin said Thursday.

-- SS Troy Polamalu, who has played the past two games through an Achilles-related injury, will practice for the first time this week on Friday, coach Mike Tomlin said. That has been a normal routine Polamalu has followed over the past two months.

-- WR Arnaz Battle, an important part of the special teams, has missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with an illness. Coach Mike Tomlin said he told Battle to stay home on Thursday so as not to spread his illness to teammates. He's expected on play on Sunday.

-- DE Aaron Smith, out since Oct. 24 after surgery to repair a torn triceps, has not practiced and will not play on Sunday.

-- QB Ben Roethlisberger has a 9-2 record in the postseason and is 2-1 in three previous AFC Championship Games.

-- WR Hines Ward can set the Steelers postseason record with a catch on Sunday. He and John Stallworth caught passes in 15 straight postseason games.

-- TE Heath Miller has experienced almost nothing but success in the postseason. Since he was drafted in 2005, the Steelers have won eight of nine postseason games.

-- DE Brett Keisel, added to the Pro Bowl roster for the first time last week, had one of three interception returns for touchdowns this season by the Steelers and the longest - 79 yards vs. Tampa.

-- CB Anthony Madison, who had an interception and a sack in the final regular-season game, moves up to nickel cornerback if Bryant McFadden cannot play.

GAME PLAN
The Steelers hope to run against the Jets, which they did reasonably well on Dec. 19 when they rushed for 146 yards. However, they are not bashful putting the ball in Ben Roethlisberger's hands and will do so on Sunday. On defense, they will most surely be on the lookout for the short passes and screens to LaDainian Tomlinson. Nobody's been able to run against them this season but the Jets did produce in that game 106 yards, more than anyone on the Steelers.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Jets CB Darrelle Revis vs. WR Mike Wallace. One of the league's best cover corners goes against one of the league's best deep men. The Steelers won't shy from throwing deep to Wallace because of Revis ... Jets WR Santonio Holmes vs. CB Ike Taylor. Holmes and Taylor went at each other for four years in Pittsburgh, mostly in training camp, and know each other's strengths - and weaknesses. Holmes had just 40 yards on six catches in first game ... LB LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Steelers LB James Farrior. Two old war horses will square off both on the run and in the air.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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