Troy Polamalu has the thing going on in his lower leg. According to Coach Mike, Troy is getting better and Friday will be the determining factor as to whether Troy participates in the Cleveland game.
If Troy is getting better over the two weeks that he’s out, what about making it five weeks? Sounds good to me. The Steelers can win in Cleveland, get the bye and rest Troy for five weeks because Ryan Mundy is making plays filling in for Troy.
No, Ryan is not Troy. But the Carolina game convinced me that resting Troy and cutting Ryan loose on the field for another go is, in my most humble estimation, the best way to proceed. If Troy is 100%, sure, that’s a no brainer. But if he’s anything less, Mundy can do the job.
According to Coach Mike, Ryan’s play after the Jets game was “above the line.” The final Carolina game stats on Ryan read eight tackles, one pass defensed.
Mike Tomlin doesn’t strike me as a man that is overly influenced by statistics, but more on what the end results of a man’s work that shows up on tape. Including the ones that don’t make the stat sheet. Ryan’s work statistically, and on plays that don’t warrant a stat both seemed above the line.
I watched from the sidelines when on an off-tackle run Mundy took on the 300-plus pound offensive guard Bernadeau of the Panthers, held his ground while setting the edge and turning the ball carrier back inside who was tackled for a short gain.
Or the time in the 4th quarter when locked up in man coverage with the TE Rosario on a play-action pass with a delayed release by Rosario, Mundy wasn’t fooled and got inside position and knocked the ball down in the end zone.
Or the whack he laid on Stewart when Ryan came up from the secondary and delivered a big hit. Of course that cost Ryan a play or two of “timeout” on the sidelines after he suffered a classic case of de-celeration trauma on that big hit.
Right now Ryan is more high voltage hits and testosterone than game brains, but game brains only come through reps and experience. It is the natural progression of young bucks becoming solid players. Ryan is right on schedule in that progression.
Whether Troy gets an extended holiday break or not, Mike Tomlin knows one thing. The young man Ryan Mundy can most definitely get it done.