Reporting Bob Pompeani
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Steelers return, after a week off, to the field again this weekend taking on the Eagles.
The bye week certainly helped the Steelers in the injury department.
The extra time will make it possible for three of their best players to be available this Sunday when the eagles come to Heinz Field – and they’ll need them to avoid a 1-3 start.
Despite building a 3-1 record, the Philadelphia offensive line has been porous for the most part.
Michael Vick has been knocked down an NFL leading 44 times, which is 18 more times than the next most hit quarterback.
The Steelers have not been good at hitting or getting to the quarterback so far this year, but getting James Harrison back should help.
“We have to try and get pressure on him,” Steelers linebacker James Harrison said. “It’s not necessarily sacks, but we have to try and get pressure on him and keep him contained, you know, because once you let him get out of there and start using his legs to make plays, it’s going to be a long road to hoe.”
And clearly the Eagles have won despite some early season turnover problems, as Michael Vick was intercepted six times and fumbled five times in his first three games.
He did not turn the ball over against the Giants last week and the Eagles soared to a win over the defending champs.
That’s another part of what the return of Harrison and Troy Polamalu bring – the threat of forcing turnovers, another missing part of the Steeler defense so far.
“He’s extremely talented as everybody knows,” Troy Palamalu said. “I mean, everything that you guys see and you talk about, you know, we feel all the more.”
Rashard Mendenhall is feeling good after practicing for three weeks, will finally get back into the lineup. After ACL surgery last year, he expects to contribute. No word on how much.
But, clearly, after most people thought their bye week was too early, it turned out to be beneficial for the health of some of their biggest weapons.