The Pittsburgh Steelers have a crucial matchup ahead of them this week against the rival Cleveland Browns, and we’ll see just how rough of an AFC North battle this one will be. It looks like the Steelers will have to beat the Browns without their top pass rusher, as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac reports that LaMarr Woodley is not at practice today and is “not expected” to play this week.
Woodley tried to play through a calf injury last week against the Detroit Lions in another big game, and he was optimistic regarding this status despite never practicing that week. He thought he would play, but he was unsurprisingly placed on the inactive list. Even though Woodley is an established veteran who can play without practicing, it’s still rare for players to be active without practicing during the week due to an injury.
It looks like Woodley will find himself on the inactive list for the second straight game this season, which is bad news for the Steelers. The Steelers pass rush has been a disappointment this season due to Jarvis Jones’s inability to make an impact as a rookie, and Woodley has been the Steelers only good edge rusher this season. He’s certainly made a sizeable impact with five sacks, so his absence would be excellent news for the Browns offense, specifically veteran QB Jason Campbell. There’s still hope that Woodley can play, but nobody should be counting on him suiting up. The Steelers were able to pick up an impressive 37-27 victory over the Lions without him, so this team should be able to dispose of the Browns.