Harrison's return a big boost to Steelers defense

Associated Press Modified: October 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm •  Published: October 3, 2012
Advertisement
;

"With Michael Vick, it's not about necessarily making the play as it is stopping him from making the play," safety Ryan Clark said. "Maybe sometimes you can't rush up the field or you can't go inside because you want to keep that pocket and keep him inside and make him a pocket passer."

Vick has been sacked 11 times through Philadelphia's first four games. Five of those came in the Eagles' lone loss, at Arizona.

"We want to get him moving a little bit inside the pocket and not outside the pocket, force him to make some bad decisions and give our secondary an opportunity to make some plays," Woodley said.

But in addition to ranking tied for 29th in the league in sacks, the Steelers have managed only one interception this season.

The lack of those kinds of "splash plays" — to use coach Mike Tomlin's vernacular — is, as much as anything, why the Steelers are 1-2 for the first time under Tomlin. In addition to Harrison, All Pro safety Troy Polamalu is practicing fully and expected to return to action against the Eagles after missing the past two games.

Vick has been prone to throw interceptions when rushed into making quick decisions. That shifts the burden back onto the Steelers' pair of prominent pass-rushers.

Harrison and Woodley each dealt with injuries last season, meaning it's been more than a year since both were on the field at the same time and 100 percent healthy.

The prospect of that changing has Woodley salivating.

"Hopefully being that we have James back," said Woodley, "we will get some pressure on that side, and that will make (Vick) come back to me."

NOTES: Along with Harrison and Polamalu, the Steelers' other standout who has missed significant time due to injury also practiced fully Wednesday. RB Rashard Mendenhall reiterated that he expects to play Sunday and that he believes he will start. Mendenhall has not played since tearing the ACL in his right knee in last season's regular season finale Jan. 1. ... Starting RT Marcus Gilbert also practiced fully and indicated he was healthy enough he would play Sunday.

__

Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL