Amongst the stories coming out of Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin’s press conference is the chance quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could be ready to go against the Baltimore Ravens this week. While that may be a slight chance, it is a possibility, even if the team is preparing to go into battle with Charlie Batch at the helm.
One area on offense where there is some clarity is at running back, where Tomlin announced Jonathan Dwyer as the starter, with former starter Rashard Mendenhall being demoted to third string after his two-fumble effort against the Cleveland Browns. Many fans have been calling for Dwyer, who started two games earlier in 2012. The third-year back seems to have turned the corner this season and has become the most consistent ball carrier for the team with 98 carries for 429 yards (4.4 YPC). Isaac Redman will remain the primary back up to Dwyer.
Even the wide receiver corps had a touch of a shake-up this week, as the team prepares to hopefully welcome Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown back into the fold. For the first time this season, underachieving Mike Wallace may be on the outside looking into the starting line-up, now listed as sharing the starting spot with Emmanuel Sanders, who is coming into his own in the offense. Wallace has been a picture of inconsistency in 2012, with well-documented bouts of drops coupled with a perceived lack of effort. One thing is certain; he clearly is not living up to the elite receiver status he expected to be paid for.
The defense is not absent from changes for the week either, but, those changes are injury not performance based. At this point of the week, linebacker LaMarr Woodley is doubtful with his ankle injury. If he cannot go, Jason Worilds, who played maybe his best game for the Steelers against the Browns will get the start on the outside. The team is also optimistic that they may be able to have Troy Polamalu back into the fold after his absence due to a calf injury. While there are no guarantees, Tomlin expects Polamalu to be a full participant at practice on Wednesday, opening the door for his potential return.
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