Steelers hope to have Polamalu back for Ravens
"Mike is frustrated and rightfully so," Tomlin said. "He's not producing like we'd like him to and he'd like to."
Neither is the running game, though the Steelers have settled on Jonathan Dwyer as a starter after unsuccessfully rotating Dwyer, Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman the last two weeks.
The trio managed just 32 yards on 15 carries — and three fumbles — in Cleveland, but the job is Dwyer's to lose based on his steady (by comparison) performance this season. Dwyer has two of Pittsburgh's three 100-yard games this year.
"We've been working under less than ideal circumstances shuffling those guys due to injury and lack of production," Tomlin said. "But he's healthy and most productive. He will get the bulk of the carries."
Even if he'll have to do it behind an offensive line so decimated by injuries that rookie Kelvin Beachum will start at right tackle against the Ravens after Mike Adams went down with a sprained ankle and starter Marcus Gilbert was placed on injured reserve Monday after his bum ankle failed to "perk up" despite nearly two months of treatment.
The Steelers activated first-round pick David DeCastro on Monday, but it's unlikely the rookie right guard will be ready to play after just a handful of practices.
Not exactly the way the Steelers wanted to start December, though the players are hardly interested in excuses. They know they're not alone in shuffling lineups in search of healthy bodies.
"You can't count on guys who you don't know if they're going to be there or not," nose tackle Casey Hampton said. "We have a good enough football team to win those types of games and we have to do it."
Tomlin remains optimistic Batch can shake off his spotty play against the Browns to lead the Steelers to just their third win in Baltimore in their last 10 trips. There are no plans to go to recently signed Brian Hoyer.
"Charlie is our quarterback," Tomlin said.
Just, the Steelers hope, for not much longer.
NOTES: LB LaMarr Woodley (sprained ankle) is doubtful for the Ravens. He will be replaced by Jason Worilds if he can't play ... WR Jerricho Cotchery fractured ribs) ran on Monday and will participate in practice this week.
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