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Coughlin awaits QB word


Tom Coughlin said he expects Tommy Maddox to be the Steelers' starting quarterback this Sunday, but Coughlin will make sure his Jaguars are fully prepared to face Kordell Stewart.

Steelers coach Bill Cowher declined Tuesday to announce who his starting quarterback will be for this Sunday's game at Alltel Stadium. Practices in Pittsburgh are open to the media and Cowher said he knew word would leak out following Wednesday afternoon's session, but Cowher didn't want to give Coughlin and his staff the opportunity to focus on either Maddox or Stewart during Tuesday's game-planning sessions.

"We'll prepare for both quarterbacks," Coughlin told reporters at today's noon press conference, though he added that he expected Maddox would be the starter because he was not listed on the injury report and Maddox had been given clearance by the doctors to play.

So, what does it all mean?

Well, Maddox replaced a slumping Stewart in the third game of the season and gave the Steelers an immediate boost on offense. "Their production increased when he became the starting quarterback," Coughlin said.

But Stewart has one of the NFL's best won-lost records as a starting quarterback and every opposing defensive coordinator worries about the athleticism he brings to the field.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars announced who their new kicker is, after cutting Tim Seder on Tuesday and delaying an announcement on the signing of Richie Cunningham until today's noon press conference.

"I felt we were at a point that the last two weeks we had counted on two field goals that weren't too long and we were two-for-four," Coughlin said of Seder, who missed from 40 yards in Houston and from 41 in a 21-19 loss in Dallas.

Cunningham is the Jaguars' third kicker this year. Hayden Epstein was five of nine and Seder was eight of 12.

Safety Donovin Darius missed today's practice with a shoulder injury that has him listed as "questionable" on the Jaguars' injury report. Wide receiver Bobby Shaw missed practice today with a toe injury but remains "probable." Wide receiver Jimmy Smith was limited to 50 percent participation today due to a shin injury, but he's also "probable." Meanwhile, Coughlin hopes to welcome back wide receiver Patrick Johnson, who's missed four of the last five games due to an abdominal strain.

"We have to find out if Patrick Johnson is 100 percent. Can he give us a 60-minute ballgame?" Coughlin said.

Pittsburgh's injury report list is headed by center Jeff Hartings, "out" with a knee, and rookie guard Kendall Simmons, "doubtful" with a knee. Linebacker James Farrior is "questionable" with a knee, and the Steelers are clearly scrambling to find replacements for their depleted inside linebacking corps.

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