Still, Sunday's 24-20 victory over the Dallas Cowboys was an expensive one.
"Everybody's going through (injuries) in the NFL right now," said
linebacker Larry Foote, who has started six games in place of
injured Kendrell Bell. "It's part of the game."
But with the Steelers off to a 5-1 start, they'd just as soon spend
the next two weeks preparing for the New England Patriots and
Philadelphia Eagles - their next two opponents after their bye
week - instead of trying to figure out how to juggle the roster to
cover up for the loss of their best corner and Pro Bowl nose
At nose tackle, four-year veteran Chris Hoke will see more
playing time, rotating with end Kimo von Oelhoffen, who spent
the entire 2000 season at that position. Neither is the player
Hampton is against the run, though they may offer more as pass
rushers. Hampton's injury will also mean more playing time for
veteran defensive ends Travis Kirshke and Brett Keisel.
Hoke did not appear in a game during his first three seasons,
dressing for just two contests in 2002. But he had an excellent
preseason, leading the team in sacks.
"I have to step up," Hoke said. "That's what I have to do. That's
what I'm going to do. . You don't replace a guy like Casey, but
you have to try."
"Hokey can play. He's not Casey. Casey's an All-Pro," said
Foote. "But Hokey can play. Y'all are going to find out in a couple
of weeks. Y'all are going to be surprised, but we're not."
The Steelers have more options at cornerback. Pittsburgh added
rookie Ricardo Colclough, drafted in the second round, and
veteran free agent Willie Williams during the offseason. Williams
was a full-time starter for both the Steelers and Seattle from
1995 through 2002 before losing his starting job with the
Seahawks last season.
Colclough likely will get the first opportunity to start, with
second-year player Ike Taylor also seeing added playing time in
"I'm ready," said Colclough. "You don't want to see guys hurt, but
we have to be ready to step up and take their place. That's what
we're here to do. I've been getting a lot of playing time already in
the nickel and dime and that's really helped me."
Colclough joins a secondary that already has two first-year
starters in safeties Chris Hope and Troy Polamalu.
One thing that may help the Steelers would be the return of Bell,
who had surgery two weeks ago to repair a hernia. Cowher said
at that point the 2001 NFL defensive rookie of the year might be
ready to return to action following the team's bye week.
Hoke, Colclough need to step up
Steel City Insider Top Stories
Steelers Notebook: Do. Your. Job.Script for Landry, and when Gronk was 'more funner', plus updates on Shazier, Green, Gilbert.
Steel City InsiderYesterday at 6:28 PM
Notebook: TE Green A MysteryPlus, news on M. Gilbert, Dupree, Shazier, Ben; also, Tom Brady comments favorably on city of Pittsburgh.
Steel City InsiderWednesday at 5:43 PM
Jones Shows Off Command Of Steelers OffenseAfter calming team in morning, Landry Jones flawless at practice.
Steel City InsiderWednesday at 2:54 PM
All-22 Review: Steelers-DolphinsJon Ledyard breaks down tape of the Steelers' loss in Miami.
Steel City InsiderWednesday at 3:14 AM