Steelers Likely Without 3 Starting Linebackers Sunday
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PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — While Steelers coach Mike Tomlin refused to rule out anyone aside from guard Doug Legursky for Sunday’s game against Baltimore at Heinz Field, several reports state linebacker Lamarr Woodley will not play.
What’s worse, he could be out for an extended period of time.
93-7 The Fan’s Steelers insider Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Woodley’s hamstring injury is “not good” and he’ll likely miss the Baltimore game along with the following week at Cincinnati. That would take him through the Nov. 20 bye week.
Woodley injured his hamstring on a pass rush in the third quarter of Pittsburgh’s 25-17 win against New England last Sunday.
That would leave the Steelers significantly shorthanded at linebacker, as they’re expected to be without both James Farrior and James Harrison for another week as well. Harrison has been cleared for practice this week, but doctors say he will not be available to play Sunday. Accordingly, Farrior has a calf injury that Bouchette says could keep him out for as much as a month’s time.
As long as all three injuries are in effect, the Steelers are likely left with rookie Chris Carter, Stevenson Sylvester, Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons as their starting linebackers. Tomlin said at his Tuesday press conference that any needs at linebacker would be handled “in-house,” meaning he doesn’t expect to sign a free agent for Sunday’s game to help with depth issues.
What may help the Steelers’ depth is the possible return of linebacker Jason Worilds. He’s dealt with a nagging quad injury all season and Tomlin said Worilds will return to practice this week.
If the Steelers are left without Worilds, Tomlin said the possibility of mixing up schemes between a 3-4 and 4-3 is a possibility.
“We might be capable of playing with four defensive linemen,” Tomlin said. “We are not going to leave anything out. What we do know is that our answers generally are in-house. So, if we are out of in-house linebackers, then some of those answers might have to be in the D-line.”