Washington out, Townsend in

Steelers head coach Bill Cowher made a move that many fans have been screaming for, benching cornerback Dewayne Washington in favor of Deshea Townsend for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals.

And, Cowher said, the changes may not end there, as rookie Ike Taylor may move up to replace Townsend in the nickel and dime defenses, with Washington getting buried completely in the dog house.

"That's a strong possibility," Cowher said of Taylor seeing his first playing time of the season in the nickel and dime defenses.

"I haven't made a determination on the rest of the packages."

Cowher replaced Washington with Townsend late in Sunday's loss at Seattle after Washington missed a tackle on a long catch and run by receiver Darrell Jackson.

But, Cowher noted, his decision to bench Washington was not based solely on that one play.

"I think he needs to sit back and look at it," Cowher said. "I think there's a lack of confidence right now and that has more to do with it than anything."

In other news, Cowher declared offensive tackle Marvel Smith out for Sunday's game, but said Smith is very close to returning.

"He's made great improvement and there's a strong possibility he'll participate in full contact practices next week," Cowher said of Smith. Tight end Jay Riemersma is questionable with a sprained knee, as is linebacker Clint Kriewaldt with a hamstring.

Cowher said both are expected to try to practice Wednesday. Plaxico Burress (shoulder), Chidi Iwuoma (groin), Lee Mays (back) and Taylor (finger) are probable.

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