The Monday after the Steelers costly victory over the Miami Dolphins saw Steelers Nation held in bated breath, clutching their roseary beads in hope against hope that Aaron Smith’s injury would not be a severe as anticipated.
In all likelihood, Smith’s season, and perhaps his career is over.
Time allowing Steel Curtain Rising will have more to say on Smith.
But right now we’ll focus on another injury’s impact, that of the loss of LaMarr Woodley.
Woodley of course injured a hamstring. Such injuries are tricky, as hamstrings heal when they are ready, and not a moment sooner.
Nonetheless, someone is going to need to replace Woodley.
Second round pick Jason Worilds did an admirable job in relief of Woodley, (or so I am told, as DirectTV didn’t show the Steelers game in Buenos Aires, yep, I am still bitter about that.)
And were Smith healthy, the wise move would be to give the young some playing time.
But Smith is not healthy. He certainly will not play this week, and no one knows if Brett Kiesel will play either.
Best Foote Forward?
The Steelers will head to New Orleans to take on the defending Super Bowl Champions on National TV. The Saints just got embarrassed by the Browns, and now doubt are itching for a rebound.
The situation dictates that the Steelers get their four best linebackers on the field for the majority of the game. That means it is time for them to reap the dividend that they earned when they resigned Larry Foote.
When the Steelers drafted Lawrence Timmons in 2007, they had him projected as an outside linebacker, and he praticed at that position for much of the year. He of course switched to the inside in 2008.
But Timmons has, daresay, been their most explosive linebacker and the Steelers are going to need his disruptive presence to get into Drew Brees face.
Foote, of course, is starter capable, and the Steelers need to move him into Timmon’s slot, and have Timmons replace Woodley.
This will probably happen, and it is largely a no-brainer. There is one unanswered question however.
The Farrior Factor
This time one year ago the general wisdom in Steelers Nation was that James Farrior was beginning to falter. God knows Farrior could probably beat out most of the other starters in the league at his position, but one can only evade the ticks of Father Time’s clock for so long.
This undoubtedly factored into the Steelers decision to bring back Foote.
Farrior has played better so far this year, but how much of that is due to Timmons’ improved play?
I’ll leave it to a wiser fan to wax on the intricacies of the Mac and Buck inside linebacker positions, but the truth is that Farrior probably has played a little better and the Steelers have probably also benefited in the middle from Timmons’ surge.
At the end of the day, the Steelers are going to need to get their best 11 defensive players on the field, and that means that they need to move Timmons to the outside and slide in Larry Foote.