Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin said today that three starters who did not play against the Detroit Lions could return for Sunday’s game in Cleveland against the Browns.
Defensive end Brett Keisel (plantar fasciitis), outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (calf) and guard Ramon Foster (high ankle sprain) “have a legitimate opportunity to play” against the Browns (4-6), Tomlin said. The Browns are tied with the Steelers and Baltimore Ravens for second place in the AFC North, two games behind the Cincinnati Bengals..
Also, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who injured his right foot in the second quarter and did not return against the Lions, will be limited in practice, but Tomlin said he is “encouraged” he can play against the Browns.
Tomlin talks about no-huddle offense, player moves
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin used his news conference to revisit the victory over Detroit and his team's use of the no-huddle offense. The PG's Ed Bouchette puts it all in context. (Video by Andrew Rush; 11/19/2013)
“We’ll see how his body responds,” Tomlin said. “He’s feeling much better than he did on Sunday.”
Tomlin said rookie safety Shamarko Thomas (ankle) and backup inside linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring) are the only players who are doubtful for the Browns.
In Woodley’s absence, Jason Worilds started at left outside linebacker – the position he played in college – and had one of his best games. Worilds had seven tackles, a sack and four quarterback hurries.
Tomlin lauded Worilds, rookie outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, defensive end Ziggy Hood and guard Guy Whimper for their performance stepping in for those injured players against the Lions.
Tight end Matt Spaeth (foot) is eligible to come off the short-term injured reserve list this week and will be evaliuated before the team decides what to do with him, Tomlin said. The Steelers have 21 days to decide if Spaeth can be added to the 53-man roster or placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.
“We’ll see what he looks like,” Tomlin said.
The Steelers need to improve their run game and worked out former Pitt running back Ray Graham this morning.
The Steelers have rushed for over just 100 yards in three games this season and are coming off a game in which they managed just 40 yards on 27 carries, the second lowest output of the season. Their per-carry average of 1.8 yards against the Lions tied their season low.
The Steelers haven’t had a 100-yard rusher in 18 consecutive games, the second longest streak in the league behind the Jacksonville Jaguars (23).
Gerry Dulac: email@example.com; twitter: @gerrydulac