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Mike Tomlin needs to continue to protect injured Steelers from themselves

Mike Tomlin had his weekly press conference on Tuesday and of course the subject of injuries is always at or near the top of the list. This week, a hot topic was the status of James Harrison and Troy Polamalu for this Sunday’s game in Oakland.

According to Tomlin, they will be listed as day to day, basically the same status he took with them last week: “We are going to work day to day and look how their body responds to work,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “We’ll start with informal workouts and work up to practice at some point and see where it all leads us. They are potential assets to us, but as you know we focus on the guys that are healthy and preparing. We intend to do that this week with the guys that are going to play, potentially in their place in Chris Carter and Ryan Mundy who have done a solid job for us to this point.”

Also added to the injury list were running back Jonathan Dwyer (turf toe), tackle Marcus Gilbert (right groin strain) and tight end Heath Miller (rib cartilage separation) who all could be limited in practice in the early part of the week.

There is good news in that linebacker Stevenson Sylvester will return to practice this week. – Steelers.com

We’re only heading into the 3rd week of play so far in 2012,,so there is no reason right now to bring back Polamalu, Harrison, or Mendenhall. I would be somewhat surprised if they do to say the least.

Tomlin is a master manipulator of the media, really the Steelers in general have always been that way but it’s been increased significantly in the last several years. It’s as much about keeping other teams guessing as it is just being cautious. After all, if there’s the hint of Deebo playing, the other team will have to prepare for him in terms of their protection. The same goes for Polamalu, we all know how he can change the game at any given time. Peyton Manning knew it all too well and made sure that Polamalu’s presence was accounted for on every play.

As we said, the season is just underway so putting any of those players on the field, risking a setback would make no sense. The only argument I can somewhat run with would be that you want to see how they respond in limited action, but in an unpredictable game situation do you really want to take that chance? I certainly don’t.

As much as you never want to assume anything in the NFL, if the Steelers can’t beat the Raiders, 0-2, then there are bigger issues than not having Polamalu and Harrison on the field. Oakland’s defense gave up 4 rushing Touchdowns last week on the road against Miami, to 3 different players. Carson Palmer did have a big day yardage wise, 24/48 373 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int. but the offense for Oakland runs with Darren McFadden who struggled against the Dolphins.

As a coach you have to sometimes protect players from themselves. This is a case where letting any of these 3 play is flirting with disaster because the toughest part of the schedule certainly comes after the bye week.

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