Titans next opponent struck by the injury bug

I don’t normally pay much attention to injuries on the Titans’ upcoming opponent, but the Steelers have more than the usual amount, and at some critical positions.

Nine players, six of them starters, did not practice due to injury on Wednesday, according to the NFL injury report.  That and more follow, after the break.

CB Cortez Allen (ankle)
NT Casey Hampton (shoulder)
LB James Harrison (eye)
G Chris Kemoeatu (knee)
RB Rashard Mendenhall (hamstring)
RB Mewelde Moore (ankle)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (foot)
DE Aaron Smith (foot)
LB Jason Worilds (quadricep)
 
I fully expect Big Ben to play, though he should be pretty immobile.

All-Pro OLB James Harrison is expected to be out several weeks and his backup, Jason Worilds, is also injured.  Harrison’s absence will really handicap their pass rush.  ILB Lawrence Timmons will move outside with veteran Larry Foote replacing him inside.

DE Aaron Smith is also expected to be out.  I’ve always thought Smith was underrated, though most 3-4 DEs tend to be overlooked and underappreciated.

The o-line has been a mess and Kemoeatu’s injury hurts them more.  The Steelers had to go out and sign Max Starks, who reportedly weighed over 400 pounds earlier this year, because of woes at tackle.  There were problems with pass protection last week and Roethlisberger took a beating from the Texans.

Mendenhall seems likely to be one of those game-time decisions and backup Mewelde Moore is also injured.  Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Issac Redman may get the start at RB this week.

Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette has more detail on those injuries here.

Some think this may be a good time to catch the Stillers.  However, we thought the same thing a year ago when Big Ben was suspended and Pittsburgh won without him.

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