PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – In his weekly meeting with the media, Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin provided an injury update as several key players are set to return and discussed what the backup running back role will look like after the team cut LeGarrette Blount.

On the running back situation, Tomlin said rookie Dri Archer will be taking on a bigger role.

“I’m not reluctant at all,” Tomlin said when asked about whether or not he’ll be cautious in how much he uses his backup running backs. “Just because Dri has a limited number of carries in his career and Josh (Harris) has none doesn’t mean they can’t be significant contributors to our efforts not only this week, but moving forward.”

Injuries

Tomlin said the team will see several key players get back onto the field this week.

  • “Troy (Polamalu) practiced yesterday, he’s coming off a knee sprain.  We’re going to let his practice participation and the result of that participation kind of be our guide in regards to his availabilty, but we’re not anticipating any major issues in terms of his availability.”
  • “Ike Taylor practiced, but Ike Taylor has been practicing coming off his forearm fracture.  He’s excited to be back out there to be in the midst of things.  Again, with no negative reactions to participation we anticipate having Ike in some form or fashion.”
  • “Ryan Shazier is coming off of an ankle injury, he practiced yesterday.  We’ll watch him closely throughout the course of the week and let that participation and the result of that participation be our guide for him.”
  • “Steve McClendon, we’ll continue to watch him from a shoulder stand point.  He can be listed as questionable.”
  • “Jarvis Jones, we started the clock in terms of his practice participation.  In terms of his practice participation, he’ll have three weeks before we got to make a decision on whether or not to activate him.  It could come soon, it could come at the end of the three weeks.”
  • “Cortez (Allen) broke his thumb at practice, maybe last Saturday prior to the Tennessee game.  We casted it, he played with it on Monday night, after the Monday night game he had it fixed surgically, had a pin or two inserted in it.  Has been fitted with a cast to appropriately  accommodate that pin…We’ll be watching him this week.”

 

Previewing The Saints

“When you’re talking about these guys, obviously you talk about Drew Brees,” Tomlin said as he began his preview of this weeks matchup.

Brees comes into the game with  3,491 passing yards and 22 touchdowns and Tomlin acknowledged the threat he and his top target Jimmy Graham have become.

“Starting with the tight end in Graham, he’s one of those unique guys,” Tomlin said.  “He’s a big guy, he’s very athletic, he utilizes his body well, he can really run.  He’s got over 60 catches — he’s one of those guys that’s a matchup problem.”

Tomlin went on to discuss how his team will deal with the mismatches Graham creates.

“It’s probably going to be a combination of people in terms of having coverage responsibility in terms of trying to minimize his impact on the game.”

“It’s no secret that we’ve had issues at times with tight ends of similar skill sets this year. We respect this guy, but we also respect what we’ve put on tape this year and we realize that we got to be better in this game and work to minimize his impact on it if we want it to be a successful outing for us.”

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