Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Wake-up call: Keisel questionable 'at best'
By Jamison Hensley
Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel is dealing with a knee injury and is considered questionable "at best" for Sunday night's game at Indianapolis, coach Mike Tomlin said.
Keisel sustained a grade-one PCL strain to his right knee during the shutout of Seattle. "We will see where the week takes us," Tomlin said.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review estimated that a grade-one PCL strain can take a recovery time of four to six weeks. Ziggy Hood, a first-round pick in the 2009 draft, would likely replace Keisel.
Hensley's slant: Nothing to panic about because there's not been a drop-off when Hood comes into games. This is nothing new for Hood, who started 13 games last season (including playoffs) when Aaron Smith went down with an injury. The only difference this time is Hood will be switching from the left to right side.
- BENGALS: It's been mixed results with punt returner Brandon Tate, who has looked tentative at times but also has two returns for 15 yards or more, according to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I am trying to be careful for us to not press him," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "With him, you get a guy who has some talent and ability." Hensley's slant: Any production would be a welcome change from last season, when Cincinnati ranked 25th in the NFL in punt return average. Tate hasn't been a primary punt returner in the NFL before, so it could take time for him to get into a groove. He showed flashes of being a dangerous kickoff returner when he was in New England.
- BROWNS: Starting center Alex Mack told The Cleveland Plain Dealer that the team is much more positive under new coach Pat Shurmur than the former one, Eric Mangini. "To come to work and not be dreading it from what's going to happen and how you're going to get yelled at or what's going to show up on the screen and just knowing that like, 'Here, guys, we made mistakes, and let's get better,' and have a kind of lighter atmosphere is going to help guys stay upbeat," Mack said. Hensley's slant: My guess is Mangini did a lot of yelling after watching the Browns' performances in 2009 and 2010. Players, though, prefer to have their errors addressed in smaller groups, where their position coach can give more details on how to correct the mistake.
- RAVENS: Head coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens didn't go into a two-minute offense in Tennessee when they trailed by 13 points (23-10) with 12 minutes remaining because the team wanted to be patient and make the right calls. "The bottom line is to get down the field and score," Harbaugh said, via The Baltimore Sun, "so we don’t want to rush in there and be off the field and be punting again either." Hensley's slant: When it comes to rallying from large deficits, the Ravens also need to find someone willing to step up. Last season, Joe Flacco could throw to Derrick Mason, Todd Heap and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. This season, younger players like Torrey Smith and Ed Dickson have to come through in pressure situations, especially with Lee Evans being banged-up.