Steelers Suffer Big Injuries to Linemen Casey Hampton, Max Starks
Nose tackle Casey Hampton left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury. Then in the third quarter, left tackle Max Starks hobbled off the field with an injured ankle that he sustained when a Falcons' defensive lineman accidentally rolled into it.
The Steelers are better equipped to handle Hampton's injury. His backup, Chris Hoke, is an nine-year veteran who has played well whenever he's been called on to fill in for Hampton. Pittsburgh's biggest problem is that there is no other true nose tackle on the active roster, so Pittsburgh will have to decide whether to use Ziggy Hood and Nick Eason as fill-in backups or find someone on the waiver wire to serve as Hoke's backup.
At left tackle, Pittsburgh is not nearly as ready to handle the Starks' injury. His backup, Jonathan Scott, does have starting experience, but he was one of the worst starter's in the league last year in Buffalo.
Pittsburgh could also turn to Tony Hills, a more natural left tackle, if Starks is out for any length of time. But Hills has only good preseason work on his resume -- he's played in only one regular season game.