- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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This is a later edition of your wake-up call because of the late post about Rashard Mendenhall remaining the Steelers' starting running back when healthy. Injuries seem to be a trend in the division today. The Ravens had five starters sidelined for practice. The Browns are hoping rookie running back Trent Richardson will heal up during the bye. The Steelers have been pleasantly surprised by the play of safety Will Allen, who has filled in for the injured Troy Polamalu. And the Bengals are dealing with some hurt feelings in their four-game losing streak. Here's the wake-up call ...
RAVENS: Five starters, including three Pro Bowl players, didn't practice Wednesday: safety Ed Reed (shoulder and knee), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (shoulder), guard Marshal Yanda (ankle), defensive end Pernell McPhee (thigh) and guard Bobbie Williams (ankle). Yanda, who missed five plays last Sunday to have his knee examined before returning, isn't concerned about the injury. "Yep, it's fine," Yanda told The Baltimore Sun. "I'll be good to go. I just got rolled up a little bit. It was just the knee." Yanda proved his toughness last season in Cleveland, where he had calf surgery on the same night he was injured. He didn't miss a game and started the next game.
STEELERS: When Polamalu aggravated his calf injury, the Steelers replaced him with Ryan Mundy. When Mundy struggled, Pittsburgh turned to Allen, who has provided a boost to the secondary. With Allen starting, the Steelers are 3-1 and have held Andy Dalton, Robert Griffin III and Eli Manning to under 178 yards passing in each game. “I am getting more comfortable, and I’m starting to understand what guys need and what is expected of me,” Allen told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I’m having a lot of fun running around hitting guys. Coach (Dick) LeBeau has involved us (defensive backs) in the run game a lot. We pride ourselves on making tackles.”
BENGALS: Offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth is tired of the blame game in Cincinnati and wants less finger-pointing. “It seems like every week we are saying that this person needs to do this and that person needs to do this,” Whitworth told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “What needs to happen is we need to win a football game. I’ve heard Marvin (Lewis), I’ve heard Jay (Gruden), I’ve heard all these people trying to point to people needing to do things. We just need win a football game and stop worrying about who needs to do something and start worrying about the team going out winning a game.” It doesn't sound like Whitworth, one of the top leaders on the team, was happy with Lewis singling out quarterback Dalton and linebacker Rey Maualuga last week.
BROWNS: Richardson is looking to use the bye week to heal up. Richardson missed nearly all of training camp after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and has played the past three games with a rib injury. "I haven't been at 100 percent yet, so I'm waiting for that moment," Richardson told The Plain Dealer. "Whenever my ribs do heal, it's going to make a big difference having this bye week. When they heal 100 percent . . . it's going to be a whole other Trent." There should be an unofficial rule in the NFL that you have to at least get voted into multiple Pro Bowls before you start referring to yourself in the third person. If this happens again, Jamison is not going to be happy.