Earlier this week, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said that he expected to have James Harrison, Rashard Mendenhall and Troy Polamalu in the lineup when the Steelers face the Eagles on Sunday.
Everything appears to be on track as far as making that expectation a reality. All three players are listed as probable on Friday’s injury report, which makes it quite likely that all three will be in uniform this weekend. If so, it will mark the 2012 debuts for both Harrison and Mendenhall and Polamalu’s first game since Week One.
Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Harrison will start at outside linebacker, but that he will split time with Chris Carter over the course of the game. Dulac also reports that LaMarr Woodley will be spelled by Jason Worilds with designs on keeping both Woodley and Harrison fresh for chasing after Michael Vick in the fourth quarter. Polamalu will also see plenty of time, although he’s not one for using the absences as an excuse for the Steelers’ 1-2 start.
“There’s always room for excuses,” Polamalu said, via Ralph Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We know the two defeats we have, it’s come down to one-on-one matchups. There were breakdowns here and there. It’s not that I would have made a play that Ryan Mundy couldn’t, and I’m sure James would say the same about Chris Carter.”
Mendenhall’s exact role remains to be seen, although it’s a good bet that he’ll be eased back into a lineup that currently has the league’s second-worst rushing attack.