Steelers notebook: Woodley practices but unsure where he'll play
By Alan Robinson
Published: Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, 7:36 p.m.
Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, out for three games with a calf injury, was a full practice participant Thursday.
He said he is practicing on the left side, his normal position, and there is no indication yet that he might swap sides and move to the right side because of Jason Worilds' recent strong production on the left side.
“I think our guys can play on either side. We kind of practice that way. … We try to plan for the unexpected,” defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said.
• Rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton has played only seven snaps in two games after being on the field for 49 against Detroit. He missed five games with a broken finger, but his rookie season production — six catches for 64 yards — isn't close to what the Steelers expected. “He had some setbacks,” offensive coordinator Todd Haley said. “The guys that played were playing at a high level. … But he's continued to work and get better.”
• Only three Steelers players have been on the field for every offensive or defensive snap: Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu and Lawrence Timmons. It's a welcome change for Roethlisberger and Polamalu, both of whom missed appreciable time with injuries last season. Staying in the lineup is enabling Roethlisberger to average 261.8 yards passing, up from 236.7 yards per game last season.
• The Dolphins are paying $60 million to Mike Wallace (56 catches, 13.3 average), but he isn't their leading receiver. Brian Hartline leads them with 62 catches. “They got two No. 1 receivers,” cornerback William Gay said. “That's how you've got to look at it. Both guys get paid to be the No. 1 receiver.”
• LeBeau on the Steelers' defense giving up 13 catches of 25 yards or longer in the past five games: “I would say that they're not really throwing it deeper any more than they ever have. It just appears to me that they're catching it a little more often than they did.”
• Offensive lineman Cody Wallace has spent time with four NFL teams, but he hasn't started a game — until now. Despite a wait that began in 2008, he didn't put in a large ticket request for family members. “Just two. My wife and my son,” he said. “That's all that's here with me.”
• After allowing only one sack in three games with the same offensive line configuration, the Steelers will use their 26th line combination in four seasons Sunday. Mike Adams is expected to start at left tackle for the first time since allowing 3 1⁄2 sacks against Minnesota, and Cody Wallace will make his first start in his five NFL seasons. If David DeCastro (foot) can't start at right guard, Guy Whimper will go. “It's kind of a challenge every week just putting together the best five we can on the field,” Wallace said.
• After being held to 24 yards receiving or fewer in three of his first four games with the Dolphins, Mike Wallace has 12 catches, 209 yards and two touchdowns in the past two games. LeBeau said, “They're going to throw the ball deep to him some. They do every week. Some weeks he gets there, and some weeks they don't complete them. We've got to make it one of the weeks they don't get us deep.” The Steelers already have allowed 22 completions of 25 yards or more, the third most of LeBeau's tenure.
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