Pittsburgh Steelers: 6 Players with the Most to Prove Against the Ravens
It would be too obvious to talk about everything that Charlie Batch could do better, and we can only hope he improves with another week of practice going into this game.
The rest of the team needs to really pick up the slack for Batch this week and here are six players in particular who I feel really need to step up their play.
There were a lot of mixed feelings from Steelers fans about the signing of Plaxico Burress and the receiver did nothing against the Browns in his first game.
Now this was Burress’ first game action of the season and you can’t really judge him fully on that, so hopefully he is able to actually help the team against the Ravens.
When the Steelers begin to get all their injured players back, Burress could be in line to be released if he doesn’t show some improvement.
After last week against the Browns, I could’ve put the entire backfield on this slide but Jonathan Dwyer really has the most to prove this week and the rest of the season.
Dwyer has quietly led the Steelers in rushing in seven of their first 11 games so far this season, including the team's Week 11 loss to these same Ravens.
These last five weeks of the season are Dwyer’s opportunity to prove he has what it takes to be the Steelers starting running back for the future.
I'm staying in the backfield here with Rashard Medenhall, who only had four carries against the Browns and he fumbled two of them, losing one.
Mendenhall returned faster than most of us thought he would from his knee injury this season. Other than his 68-yard outburst versus the Eagles in Week 5, he hasn't shown much capability.
Even though Mendenhall has been demoted to third string for this game, I still think he will get a chance to carry the ball a few times.
It may be unfair to judge him on those few carries, however, if he fumbles or Jonathan Dwyer really looks good as the starter. He could continue to lose playing time and be closer to wearing a different uniform next year.
Whoever Is on the Offensive Line
Every season the Steelers seem to go through offensive linemen like water and 2012 has been no different with injuries to Marcus Gilbert, David DeCastro, Willie Colon and Mike Adams.
In regards to this game in particular, Gilbert has been put on I.R., Adams has been ruled out, and Colon and DeCastro are up in the air.
There has been a lot of debate on whether DeCastro would end up starting at RG and Ramon Foster would shift to RT ahead of rookie Kelvin Beachum, or Maurkice Pouncey moving to LG and Doug Legursky to C.
Whoever is actually starting on the offensive line better do a better job this week than against the Browns because the team needs to take advantage of the Ravens 26th ranked run defense to have any chance to win.
I have been pretty critical on Jason Worilds the last two years and he has been pretty solid in his opportunities this season.
Although I don’t really put a lot of stock in the fact that Worilds leads the team in sacks, with five, I have been impressed with his play against the run.
With LaMarr Woodley out against the Ravens this week, this would be a great opportunity for Worilds to make some plays and help the Steelers come away with a victory.
Troy Polamalu is expected to come back this week against the Ravens after being out since the first half of the win versus the Eagles in Week 5.
Troy has been a great player his entire career for the Steelers when healthy; however, his health has always been the question.
With Ben Roethlisberger out again this week, the Steelers need the defense, and Troy, to shut down the Ravens offense and more importantly Troy needs to at least come out of the game intact for the rest of the season.