“I might be able to get out there this Sunday,” he said. “I ran today a little bit and they made a brace for me. I just have to test my lateral movement. That’s the biggest thing, my lateral movement. The straight-ahead is good; the strength is there. It’s not half as bad as we thought it was going to be.”
If Farrior can’t play, the Steelers’ starting buck inside linebacker will be Clint Kriewaldt, who replaced the man teammates call “Potsy” early in the second half Sunday at Green Bay after Farrior was struck in the knee by Kimo von Oelhoffen.
Kriewaldt logged 28 snaps on defense and made three tackles. He also had three solo special-teams tackles at Lambeau Field, which was near where the Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate grew up.
“I don’t want to say I’d been struggling, but I hadn’t been making a whole lot of tackles the prior weeks,” said Kriewaldt. “T go there in front of my family and friends and start out like that, I was pretty jacked up.”
His special-teams play highlighted Kriewaldt’s first half and his play at the buck, the position reserved for the defensive play-caller, highlighted the second half.
“That’s Buddy Lee right there,” outside linebacker Joey Porter said of Kriewaldt. “He’s going to go out there and be where he’s supposed to be at and get the job done his own way.”
“He always used to wear a flannel shirt with the blue jeans, so it kind of just stuck,” Porter said.
“Well, you know these guys,” Kriewaldt said. “‘White Boy’ used to be my nickname. Now it’s ‘Buddy Lee.’”
If Farrior can’t play Sunday, he’s certain he’ll be back for the Baltimore game the following week.
“I feel good about next week, definitely,” he said. “This week is up in the air. We’ll see how it goes.”
Troy Polamalu is on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated, but he wasn’t aware of, nor worried about, the legendary jinx that goes with it.
“I don’t think it matters to anybody who doesn’t read those things,” he said.
Polamalu is more concerned about the team’s poor conversion rate on third down. The Steelers allow third-down conversions 44 percent of the time to rank 31st in the 32-team league.
“What sucks is that’s where we have the most fun on defense, where we can really move around and disguise,” Polamalu said. “I think maybe the reason why we haven’t been successful is because we haven’t been doing that. The times that we have been moving around and disguising and showing different looks are the times we’ve been successful.”
Does Troy have a valid point?
“Troy usually has some pretty valid points,” LeBeau said. “We have to execute a little better on third downs. There are some periods in the game, the last two games, in the last quarter, when our third-down defense has been excellent. But before getting into that situation, it hasn’t been very good and that’s why the numbers are off. It’s something we certainly want to improve on.
“Given that the other numbers are pretty strong, when one part of your game is not where you want it to be, it’s definitely a focal point for us.”
X’s AND O’s
Steelers who missed at least a portion of Wednesday’s practice, along with QB Ben Roethlisberger (out/knee) and S Mike Logan (out/hamstring), were FB Dan Kreider (calf/probable), RB Willie Parker (ankle/questionable), LB Joey Porter (questionable/knee), LB James Farrior (doubtful/knee) and RB Jerome Bettis (questionable/quadricep). … Missing practice for the Browns were G Cosey Coleman (doubtful/knee), RB William Green (doubtful/ankle) and CB Daylon McCutcheon (questionable/ankle). … The Philadelphia Eagles signed LB Dedrick Roper off the Steelers’ practice squad. The Steelers also released WR Chris Samp from the practice squad. The two vacancies were filled by QB Rod Rutherford and LB Richard Seigler.