ShareThis Page

Notebook: Polamalu expects more from himself

| Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010

Troy Polamalu has been his own harshest critic lately, but the strong safety will get a chance to redeem himself Monday night in Cincinnati.

Polamalu heaped blame on himself after the Steelers' 20-10 loss at New Orleans last Sunday. He took it a step further during the week, saying he has not been playing at the level expected of one of the elite safeties in football.

"I think there are times in games where there were a lot of opportunities to make plays, and I didn't make them," said Polamalu, who is tied for the team lead in interceptions with two and is fifth in tackles with 38. "It doesn't have anything to do with anything physical with me, and maybe I'm second-guessing myself a little too much. But, other than that, we're 5-2."

Free safety Ryan Clark isn't buying it. Not that he doubts Polamalu's sincerity, but Clark said the five-time Pro Bowler is "too hard on himself, as most competitors are."

"He's going to want to make every play and, for us to be a good defense, we need him to make a lot of plays," Clark said. "He can cover anybody in this league. He can tackle anybody in this league. Some days, you're not going to be at your best, and I think that was just the case for him (against the Saints). He feels like he let us down, but we have tremendous faith in Troy."

Bringing the 'Wood?

LaMarr Woodley has just 1.5 sacks in the Steelers' past four games -- all of that output came against Cleveland on Oct. 17 -- so the outside linebacker may be due to wreak some havoc in the coming weeks.

Since becoming a starter in 2008, Woodley has 33 sacks in 42 games, including the postseason. But the 6-foot-2, 265-pounder has been streaky: Woodley has twice endured stretches of four straight games without a sack.

But when he gets hot, opposing quarterbacks know to look out. Woodley had at least half a sack in the Steelers' final eight games last season and had two in four of those contests.

Could another flurry of sacks be in the forecast with Woodley having had two weeks to recover from a hamstring injury he suffered Oct. 24 in Miami?

"I'm close, man," he said of getting to opposing quarterbacks. "It's a long season, so there's a lot (of it) to go."

> Extra points

Defensive end Brett Keisel practiced again Saturday and will start tomorrow night after missing the past two games with a hamstring injury. ... Right tackle Flozell Adams, who sprained his ankle last week against the Saints, also will start after practicing all week. ... Daniel Sepulveda is fifth in the NFL with a net punting average of 40.5 yards. ... The Steelers are third in the NFL in kickoff returns with an average of 28.4 yards.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.