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News » THE OFFENSE THE DEFENSE SPECIAL TEAMS MEET THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS PITTSBURGH'S PROJECTED STARTERS FOR SUNDAY ??? BY DAVE GOLDBE


THE OFFENSE THE DEFENSE SPECIAL TEAMS MEET THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS PITTSBURGH'S PROJECTED STARTERS FOR SUNDAY ??? BY DAVE GOLDBE


THE OFFENSE THE DEFENSE SPECIAL TEAMS MEET THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS PITTSBURGH'S PROJECTED STARTERS FOR SUNDAY ??? BY DAVE GOLDBE
The road to Tampa: The Steelers' path to Super Bowl XLIII


Willie

Parker

Running back

5-10, 209

5th season

College:

North Carolina

Aaron

Smith

Defensive end

6-5, 298

10th season

Northern

Colorado

Heath

Miller

Tight end

6-5, 256

4th season

College:

Virginia

Ike

Taylor

Cornerback

6-2, 191

6th season

Louisiana-Lafayette

Mewelde

Moore

Running back/

Punt returner

5-11, 209

5th season

Tulane

Brett

Keisel

Defensive end

6-5, 285

7th season

College:

Brigham Young

Max

Starks

Left tackle

6-8, 337

5th season

College:

Florida

Bryant

McFadden

Cornerback

6-0, 190

4th season

College:

Florida State

Carey

Davis

Fullback

5-10, 225

2nd season

College:

Illinois

Casey

Hampton

Nose tackle

6-1, 325

8th season

College:

Texas

Willie

Colon

Right tackle

6-3, 315

3rd season

College:

Hofstra

Deshea

Townsend

Cornerback

5-10, 190

11th season

College:

Alabama

Hines

Ward

Wide receiver

6-0, 205

11th season

College:

Georgia

LaMarr

Woodley

Outside

linbacker

6-2, 265

2nd season

Michigan

Chris

Kemoeatu

Left guard

6-3, 344

4th season

College:

Utah

Troy

Polamalu

Safety

5-10, 207

6th season

College:

Southern Calif.

Santonio

Holmes

Wide receiver

5-11, 189

3rd season

College:

Ohio State

James

Farrior

Inside

linebacker

6-2, 234

12th season

Virginia

Darnell

Stapleton

Right guard

6-3, 285

2nd season

College:

Rutgers

Ryan

Clark

Safety

5-11, 205

7th season

College:

Louisiana St.

Nate

Washington

Wide receiver

6-1, 185

4th season

College:

Tiffin

Larry

Foote

Inside

linebacker

6-1, 239

7th season

Michigan

Justin

Hartwig

Center

6-4, 312

7th season

College:

Kansas

William

Gay

Safety

5-10, 190

2nd season

College:

Louisville

Ben Roethlisberger * Quarterback * No. 7 * 6-5, 241 * 5th season * College: Miami (Ohio)

Seeking to win his second Super Bowl title in five seasons. ... Chosen 11th overall in the 2004 draft by the Steelers after Eli Manning (No. 1) and Philip Rivers (No. 4). He and Manning, who won last year with Giants, already have titles. ... Completed 281 of 469 passes this year with 17 TDs and 15 INTs for passer rating of 80.1, second worst of his career. ... First rookie to have 13-1 record as a starter after taking over for injured Tommy Maddox in second game of 2004 season. ... Youngest QB to win a Super Bowl when he led Steelers to win vs. Seattle in 2006.

James Harrison * Outside linebacker * No. 92 * 6-0, 242 * 5th season * College: Kent State

The NFL's Defensive Player of the Year after registering 16 sacks and keying run defense. ... A late bloomer who was thought to be too short and a step too slow, he was an undrafted free agent. He signed in 2002, played only one game that year, and was cut three times before being brought back at start of 2004 because of injury to Clark Haggans, now with Arizona. ... Remained a part-timer until replacing the departed Joey Porter at the start of 2007. ... Even before becoming a starter, signed a four-year deal.

Bothered by knee and shoulder injuries, rushed for just 791 yards and a 3.8 average after more than 1,200 yards in each of the past three seasons. ... Undrafted coming out of college, got into eight games and rushed for 132 yards as a rookie. ... Voted to Pro Bowl in 2006 and 2007.

Fourth-round pick of Minnesota in 2004, signed with the Steelers this year as return man and third-down back. ... Became primary running back with Parker's injury and finished with 588 yards rushing, five TDs and 4.2 average. ... Tied for fourth on team with 40 receptions.

Signed by the Steelers in 2006 after time with Indianapolis in 2004 and floating on and off rosters and practice squads in Atlanta, Miami and Tampa Bay. ... Primarily a blocker. ... Had a 20-yard third-down reception in AFC title game that helped set up field goal.

MVP of 2006 Super Bowl, when he had five catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. ... Steelers' career leader with 800 receptions, 9,780 yards, and 72 TD catches. ... Had 81 catches for 1,043 yards, his fifth 1,000-yard season. ... Third-round draft pick in 1998. ... Four-time Pro Bowler.

First-round pick in 2006, 25th overall, considered Steelers' most dangerous deep threat. ... Had 65-yard touchdown catch for first score in AFC championship game against Baltimore. ... Had career-high 55 catches for 821 yards and five TDs this season. ... Averaged 18.1 yards per catch in 2007.

Undrafted free agent, played in only one game as rookie in 2005. ... Made his first catch in AFC championship game against Denver that season. ... Has 104 receptions for 1,705 yards and 16.4 average in career. ... Had 40 catches for 635 yards and three TDs this season.

First-round pick in 2005, 30th overall. ... Had 48 catches, a career high, for 514 yards and three TDs, added six more for 99 yards and a TD in playoffs. ... Has 168 receptions for 1,932 yards and 21 TDs in four-year career. ... Has started all but one of 62 games he has played.

Started 11 games this season replacing injured Marvel Smith. ... Started 45 of 72 since being drafted in third round in 2004. ... Height makes him vulnerable against speed rushers. ... Six relatives have played in NFL, including his father, Ross Browner.

Fourth-round pick in 2006, became a starter for last two games of his rookie season. ... Has started all 32 games the past two seasons. ... Remarked during the playoffs that because of OL difficulties all season, he couldn't go grocery shopping without fans criticizing his play.

Replaced perennial Pro Bowler Alan Faneca, who left as a free agent after last season. ... Sixth-round draft choice in 2005, was inactive for 15 games. ... Started two games in 2006 and played in a third, but inactive for the rest. ... Brother Maake is a starting DT for Carolina.

Undrafted free agent in 2007. ... Dressed for just one game as rookie. ... Became starter at guard when Kendall Simmons was lost for the season. ... Had just one holding penalty and three false starts in 12 starts. ... Also plays center.

Signed as a free agent from Carolina in the offseason. ... Originally drafted by Tennessee in sixth round in 2002, has started 79 of 80 games since 2003 with the Titans, Panthers and Steelers. ... Won the starting job in training camp from Sean Mahan, last season's starter.

Has started 137 of 145 NFL games ... Considered one of the unsung stars in the NFL because he plays in a 3-4, where defensive linemen are used primarily to keep blockers off LBs. ... Has 42 career sacks, including eight in 2001 and 2004, high totals for a 3-4 DE. ... Fourth-round draft pick in 1999.

A starter for the past three seasons, although he missed six games this year with a knee injury. ... Primarily a run-stopper, has 11? sacks in his career. ... Seventh-round draft pick in 2002, missed all of 2003 with a shoulder injury.

First-round pick, 19th overall, in 2001. ... Generally weighs in at more than his listed 325 and was kept out of drills during training camp because he was overweight. ... Whatever he weighs, he is often impossible to move and a major reason Steelers were No. 1 in overall defense and against the run.

A second-round pick in 2007, he was a situational pass rusher as a rookie and became a starter this season. ... Registered 11? sacks as a bookend to Harrison. ... A hybrid defensive end/linebacker at Michigan, which dropped him from the first round but made him appealing to a 3-4 defense.

The veteran hand in the linebacking corps. ... A first-round pick of the Jets in 1997, joined Steelers as a free agent in 2002, and blossomed. ... Voted to the Pro Bowl this season for the second time. ... Led the Steelers in tackles with 133.

A fourth-round pick in 2002. ... Has started every game for the past five seasons and has 80 consecutive starts, unusual for as physical a position as linebacker. ... Led the team in tackles in 2005.

A starter for most of the past four seasons. ... Considered team's best man-to-man cover cornerback, although he had just one interception this season. ... May spend a lot of time on Larry Fitzgerald. ... Played only two years of college Football. ... A fourth-round draft pick in 2003.

A starter two years ago, he regained his job this season. ... Missed six games with a broken arm. Had two interceptions in eight starts. ... Had a 50-yard interception return for TD in 2007, when he was the nickel back. ... Second-round pick in 2005.

Spent his entire career with the Steelers. ... Now the nickel back, he was a starter from 2003-2007 and has 20 career regular-season interceptions. ... Had INT last week off Joe Flacco in AFC title game win against Baltimore.

An All-Pro and one of the best safeties in the game, Polamalu is a devastating tackler as well as a ballhawk with 17 career interceptions, seven this year. ... Had a 40-yard INT return for the clinching TD against Baltimore. ... The 16th overall pick in 2000 draft. ... Has 72 consecutive starts.

Began career as undrafted free agent with Giants in 2002 and moved on to Washington, where he started for two seasons. ... Allowed to move to Steelers because Redskins preferred bigger names. ... Solid and steady and allows Polamalu to gamble on making big plays.

Plays in dime situations. Started four games this season. ... Selected as the second of two fifth-round picks by the Steelers in 2007. ... Played in every game as a rookie, including AFC wild card game.

Has made more than 80 percent of his field-goal attempts, a very good number in Pittsburgh, where unpredictable field surface and swirling winds make kicking hard. ... Is 6 of 11 from more than 50 yards in his career although he rarely tries those kicks at home because of the conditions.

Native of Kamloops, B.C., has punted for Vikings, Saints and Cardinals before joining Steelers this season. Averaged 36.4 yards per punt this season. ... Berger was released on Nov. 5 because of hamstring problems then resigned two weeks later to replace Paul Ernster.

Averaged 23.2 yards as kickoff return man, with a long of 43. ... Also serves as third-string RB, notably in short-yardage situations. ... Originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2007 draft.

Jeff

Reed

Kicker

5-11, 225

7th season

College:

North Carolina

Mitch

Berger

Punter

6-4, 228

13th season

College:

Colorado

Gary

Russell

Kick returner

5-11, 223

2nd season

College:

Minnesota

AFC championship

Jan. 18 vs. Baltimore Ravens

W, 23-14

Ravens070714

Steelers673723

Troy Polamalu's 40-yard INT return for a TD with 4:24 remaining allowed the Steelers to beat the Ravens for the third time this season and ended an 0-2 jinx in conference championship games at Heinz Field.

AFC divisional playoff

Jan. 11 vs. San Diego Chargers

W, 35-24

Chargers7301424

Steelers7771435

After falling in a 7-0 hole, the Steelers stormed back with the help of a 67-yard punt return for a TD by Santonio Holmes to advance to their fourth AFC title game since 2001. Willie Parker rushed for 146 yards and two scores.

Santonio Holmes

after AFC title game



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 30, 2009

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