Steelers notebook: McCullers to make his first start Monday vs. Titans
Rookie nose tackle Daniel McCullers played only 25 snaps while backing up Steve McLendon and Cam Thomas. But with McLendon likely out Monday with a shoulder injury and Thomas not playing well, McCullers will make his first NFL start in the state where he played college football for the Volunteers.
The 352-pound McCullers, a sixth-round pick, played 11 snaps Sunday against the Jets, the most he’s had yet.
“He’ll get a few more snaps,” defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said.
• The Steelers offense has been limited to six touchdowns in five road games — three at Carolina. So maybe this will help: They’ll wear their black home jerseys at Tennessee, while the Titans wear white. Some opponents opt to have the Steelers wear black during warm weather games, but that won’t be a factor in Nashville. The projected gametime temperature Monday night is in the mid 30s.
• Le’Veon Bell, who was limited to 56 rushing yards in the past two games, isn’t the only Steelers running back whose yardage fell off during the Steelers’ recent passing surge. Since LeGarrette Blount ran for 118 yards at Carolina on Sept. 21, he has 134 yards in seven games, with 21 carries for 44 yards (a 2.1 average) in his last three. Blount hasn’t gained more than 30 yards in any of those seven games. “When teams are loading up the box with eight or nine guys, there’s only so much you can do,” Ben Roethlisberger said.
• There were no additions to the injury list Thursday. Safety Troy Polamalu (sprained knee) and linebacker Ryan Shazier (ankle), already ruled out of the Titans game, did not practice. Neither did McLendon. Special teams player Ross Ventrone (hamstring), out for two games, was a full participant. Safety Shamarko Thomas (hamstring) and cornerback Ike Taylor (forearm) were limited. Thomas won’t play.
• Cornerback William Gay, the Steelers’ 2014 recipient of the Walter Payton Award for community service, will speak about domestic violence prevention Saturday in Cranberry Township. During Gay’s talk, Verizon Wireless will donate $60,000 to the Women’s Center & Shelter of Pittsburgh to aid domestic violence victims. Gay lost his mother to domestic violence.
• Roethlisberger’s 82.5 percent accuracy over the last three games is the NFL’s best. He is 95 of 125 for 1,205 yards and 13 touchdowns.