Steelers' defensive line benefiting from extra rest
Saturday, October 2, 2010

[IMGL][/IMGL][HIGH-LIGHT]•[/HIGH-LIGHT] Defensive line coach John Mitchell is excited about a rotation through the first three games that has reduced the number of snaps for starters Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton and Brett Keisel. "You don't want to wear them out," Mitchell said. "This is a long season, and you want those guys in November and December feeling good and rested."

[HIGH-LIGHT]•[/HIGH-LIGHT] Smith, in particular, has benefited from resting for series at a time during the game — something he hasn't been able to do throughout most of his 13-year career. "This is the first year I haven't had to play 70 snaps a game," Smith said. "Hopefully, it makes a difference in a long season."

[HIGH-LIGHT]•[/HIGH-LIGHT] The defensive line rotation will be shortened by one player in Sunday's game against Baltimore at Heinz Field. As expected, nose tackle Chris Hoke (knee) missed another day of practice and won't play against the Ravens. Guard Trai Essex (ankle) and quarterback Dennis Dixon (knee) are also out.

[HIGH-LIGHT]•[/HIGH-LIGHT] For Baltimore, tackle Jared Gaither (back), linebacker Tavares Gooden (shoulder) and wide receiver Donte Stallworth (foot) are out. Running back Ray Rice (knee), defensive end Cory Redding (head), tackle/guard Tony Moll (hip) and linebacker Edgar Jones (thigh) are questionable.

[HIGH-LIGHT]•[/HIGH-LIGHT] The NFL announced the fines Friday that Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher and safety Tom Zbikowski have each been fined $5,000 for their actions in Sunday's game against Cleveland. Oher's fine stems from punching Browns defensive end Robaire Smith. Oher hit Smith after Smith shoved Baltimore tight end Todd Heap following a whistle that had stopped play for a false start. Zbikowski tackled Browns running back Peyton Hillis out of bounds at the end of a 48-yard run. The play drew a penalty for unnecessary roughness.