Steelers notebook: Woodley, Harrison ready for Cowboys

Ralph N. Paulk
| Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, 7:38 p.m.

Linebackers LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison are among nine Steelers who are probable for Sunday's game against Dallas at Cowboys Stadium. Both practiced Friday and looked fit to play. Woodley, who has missed the past two games with an injured ankle, said he practiced with more confidence than earlier this week. Harrison practiced for the first time this week after sitting because of illness. “I've mainly been out there trying to trust myself and getting a feel for it,” Woodley said. “My real test will definitely come in the game, but I'll definitely be out there.” Woodley said he has resisted being frustrated by injuries. “When you have a hamstring injury and freak accident with somebody and someone else lands on your ankle, you can't do anything about it,” said Woodley, injured in a 20-14 loss at Cleveland. “You hear people say you got to get healthy, you got to come back or you're hurt too much. Or where has LaMarr Woodley been? You can never let that get to you. My production isn't low because I'm not out there playing good. It's based on injuries.”

• Receivers Antonio Brown (illness), Plaxico Burress (not injury related) and Emmanuel Sanders (shoulder) are probable, along with cornerback Keenan Lewis (hip), strong safety Troy Polamalu (not injury related), linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (illness) and long snapper Greg Warren. Brown, Sylvester and Warren did not practice, while Burress had limited practice time.

• Cornerback Cortez Allen, who last week replaced injured starter Ike Taylor (ankle), is listed as doubtful, but he is unlikely to play because he didn't practice this week. The Steelers worked several combinations to resolve their secondary problems. Cornerback Curtis Brown likely will get the start opposite Lewis ahead of rookie Josh Victorian, who replaced a struggling Brown against San Diego. Rookie Robert Golden practiced in the nickel, a position Allen manned before being thrust into the starting lineup. Also, Taylor, tackle Mike Adams (knee) and guard Willie Colon (knee) are out.

• Brown remembers his first trip to Cowboys Stadium: The Steelers lost to Green Bay in the Super Bowl. “I'll take it as a learning experience,” he said. “I try to reflect on everything that has happened to me and see what I can learn from it and what I can take from it. I remember that experience, not getting it done, being a rookie in this league and taking it for granted being at the Super Bowl.”

• The Cowboys haven't done much without their passing game, which has been up and down all season. Now they face the top-ranked pass defense in the Steelers.

“We've been throwing the ball at different times with a lot of success this year, and at other times we need to do some little things better,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “We know we're in for a great challenge.”

“We've got to get pressure,” Steelers defensive lineman Brett Keisel said. “When we've shut down good quarterbacks, it's when we've had constant pressure. Their offensive line is very good. The key is getting on the edge and being smart.”

Said LaMarr Woodley: “(Romo) does a good job of keeping the pocket alive like Ben (Roethlisberger). He's not an easy guy to take down because always fighting to make a big play.”

• Running back Jonathan Dwyer hopes the Steelers can avoid the field-position disadvantage they faced against San Diego. It kept them from relying on the running game, particularly with the Chargers crowding the box. “It's more motivation,” said Dwyer, who had 32 yards on eight carries. “We didn't play well in Cleveland, but we played better (at Baltimore). We're trying to get back in that rhythm.”

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