Steelers Notebook: Farrior, Foote practice, ease LB crisis
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Steelers inside linebacker Larry Foote was upgraded to probable for the game tomorrow against the New Orleans Saints.
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Bill Cowher was so concerned about the health situation at inside linebacker he said outside linebackers Joey Porter and Chad Brown were getting some inside work in practice, just in case.
Now, though, the situation doesn't appear so dire.
James Farrior (groin/questionable) returned to practice yesterday and said he expects to play tomorrow against the New Orleans Saints at Heinz Field. He will join his fellow inside partner, Larry Foote, who practiced for the third day in a row despite injuring his ribs against the Denver Broncos.
"It felt all right," Farrior said after practice. "I gave it a good test and I still got two more days [to heal]."
Foote, upgraded to probable Thursday, said he "feels good" and will not be limited against the Saints, who have won three of their past four games. Plus, he said it's no time to nurse an injury after a 2-6 start.
"We got to go out and do it, stop talking about it," Foote said. "Everybody knows our backs are to the wall and we got to win in the worst way. We can either go up or we can go down, and I think we'll go up. We won 15 in a row [in 2004], eight in a row [in 2005]. We got to get back on that track."
Fine for Farrior
Farrior was fined $5,000 by the NFL for kicking Broncos center Tom Nalen in the game Sunday. Farrior was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness on the play. Also, Broncos cornerback Domonique Foxworth was fined $7,500 by the NFL for a defenseless hit on Steelers receiver Nate Washington.
Two players out
Center Jeff Hartings (knee/doubtful), who has not practiced in two weeks, will not play. Special-teams co-captain Clint Kriewaldt (back/doubtful) also did not practice this week and is not expected to play.
The Steelers have turned the ball over more than any other team (24), or one more time than they did last season. But, even though they are second in the NFL with 12 interceptions, they have just one fumble recovery. Their minus-11 differential is the worst in the league.
Cowher said that "you don't always control" takeaways, but safety Troy Polamalu said the defense has had plenty of chances to create more takeaways.
"But we didn't," he said. "When we do get those opportunities, we have to make those plays. That's what teams like Chicago and Baltimore are doing."
Keeping an eye on Bush
Reggie Bush, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, has been a more productive pass receiver than running back for the Saints.
He has gained 207 yards and is averaging just 2.6 yards per carry after being held to minus-5 yards on 11 rushes last week against Tampa Bay.
But he leads the team and NFL rookies with 46 catches and has also returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown.
"They get him the ball on screens, checkdowns," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "It affects the linebackers mostly. They're always accounting for him when he's splitting out on his screen passes. It's mostly their job to keep him contained and our job to get after Drew [Brees]."
Brees had his best game of the season when the Buccaneers shut down the Saints' running game, throwing for 314 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
First Published November 11, 2006 12:00 am