Keisel could return

| Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008

Brett Keisel will try to practice this week, and there is a chance that the Steelers' defensive end could play Sunday against the Ravens in Baltimore. Keisel, who starts at right defensive end, has missed the past two games with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. "He is probably close enough to warrant some consideration to participate," coach Mike Tomlin said. Starting left tackle Marvel Smith , who has been out since early October with a bad back, will not play in Sunday's 4:15 p.m. game.

• The Steelers will monitor fullback Carey Davis , who is nursing a strained hamstring, this week. Davis sustained the only injury of note for the Steelers in their 20-13 win over the Cowboys on Sunday. "We're sitting pretty good from an injury standpoint," Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly news conference.

• Tomlin will wait until later in the week to decide who starts at the cornerback spot opposite Ike Taylor . Bryant McFadden , who hadn't played since mid-October with a broken forearm, returned to action against the Cowboys but didn't start. Second-year cornerback William Gay made his fourth consecutive start Sunday and could be in the starting lineup against the Ravens. "I think William Gay is continuing to play well, so those are good problems to have," Tomlin said. "We feel comfortable with either one of those guys or both of those guys on the field at the same time for us." Of McFadden's play against the Cowboys, Tomlin said, "He knocked the rust off relatively quickly. He was decisive, and it looked like he moved around fluidly."

• The Steelers are 26th in the NFL in total offense, and Tomlin said one reason why the unit has struggled is because opposing defenses generally play their best game against the black and gold. The reason: the Steelers' defense. Tomlin said opposing teams don't want to get upstaged by the unit that is No. 1 in the NFL in rushing defense, passing defense and total defense. "Let's face it," Tomlin said. "When people play us, their defenses come in prepared to play." Tomlin said he is pleased with the resiliency the Steelers' offense has shown. After producing just three points through the first three quarters in Sunday's win over the Cowboys, the offense put up 10 points in the fourth quarter. "Regardless of how the game has unfolded or what troubles we've had, we've moved the ball down the field in those moments that you've got to do it if you're going to be good," Tomlin said. "We did it (last) Sunday. We did it against San Diego. I find comfort in that. Now do we need to get better and play more consistent• Absolutely."

• The Steelers will use a silent snap count at times against the Ravens on Sunday to counter expected crowd noise, Tomlin said.

• The Steelers will play a rare 1 p.m. game Dec. 21 against the Tennessee Titans. Even with the flex scheduling the NFL uses in the latter part of the season to accommodate TV, the Steelers-Titans game could not be moved. The Steelers' 1 p.m. game against the Browns on Dec. 28 is subject to change. The Steelers have played just two 1 p.m. games this season.


1 -- Victory Ben Roethlisberger needs to become the first quarterback in NFL history to win 50 games in his first five seasons.

28 -- Sacks the Ravens have recorded this season.

45 -- Sacks the Steelers have recorded this season.

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