TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Steelers expect no defensive drop-off with Mundy

Steelers/NFL Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Mark Kaboly podcasts

  • Loading...

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012
 

Ryan Mundy started a routine this year in which he watches game film and visualizes himself playing in the situation that's he watching.

"You have to see yourself making plays," Mundy said. "You have to put yourself in that guy's shoes and ask yourself, 'What you would do in that situation?"

Those shoes Mundy will be filling Sunday when the Steelers travel to Denver for an AFC wild-card game will be those of Ryan Clark.

With Clark ruled out by Mike Tomlin earlier in the week because of an existing medical condition that could be aggravated by Denver's high altitude, Mundy will make the third start of his three-year career, and first as a free safety.

According to Clark, it couldn't come during a better situation.

Denver is first in the NFL in rushing; the Broncos average 164 yards per game. Since Tim Tebow took over at quarterback, Denver has averaged 38 runs per game and only 24 passes, making Mundy's run-stopping ability more valuable.

"They are going to try to run the ball, and those two guys (Mundy and Troy Polamalu) are the best two in-the-box run defenders," said Clark, who led the Steelers with 100 regular-season tackles. "Maybe in a way it turned out to be the perfect week for this to happen to us."

Mundy hasn't played with Polamalu much over his career, instead filling in for him on a number of occasions — including twice this year when Polamalu left games with concussion-like symptoms.

Mundy had five tackles against Jacksonville when Polamalu went out. He had nine stops along with his only career interception against Kansas City a few weeks later.

"We kind of groomed him," Polamalu said. "(Clark) has taught him everything he knows, as well as myself. Whenever I come out of the game or Ryan comes out of the game, he replaces us. I don't anticipate any drop-off in play."

There could be a different look to how Polamalu plays, but it won't be because Mundy is in the game in place of Clark.

Polamalu's freelance tendencies aren't expected to be a big part of the game plan; Denver likes to run the ball out of the spread option, where gap control is paramount.

"This is a week you need to be on all your keys and tendencies," Clark said. "A week that you have to do your assignment first."

However, if Polamalu wants to freelance at times, Mundy sees no complications.

"Troy is going to be Troy," Mundy said. "I have been watching Troy and Ryan play for four years now, so I picked up things on how they communicate and how they play. We are going to work on some things this week to see how we play together and communicate."

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Steelers

  1. Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
  2. Inside the Steelers: Ventrone suffers right ankle injury
  3. Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
  4. Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense
  5. Steelers notebook: Backup QB Gradkowski remains out with shoulder issue
  6. Steelers RB Bell ready despite being in limbo
  7. Steelers tackle Beachum braces for competition along offensive line
  8. Steelers’ Brown arrives in style, vows to be ‘the best in the world’
  9. Butler, Steelers defense take on new challenges
  10. Steelers notebook: Rookie CB Golson still dealing with left shoulder pain
  11. Report: Ex-Steelers RB Bettis says he sold crack, shot at people while growing up in Detroit