When the 2012 schedule came out in April, safety Ryan Mundy had a pretty good idea he would be the Steelers starting free safety on opening day against the Broncos, knowing Ryan Clark can’t play in the high altitude in Denver.
But he didn’t know he would be back in a starting role this past week against the New York Jets, this time starting for Troy Polamalu, who was sidelined with a calf injury.
“I got a pretty decent workload,” said Mundy. “My plate is pretty full right now. I still have my special team’s responsibilities and also played every snap on defense. I have to make sure I am ready, take care of my body, and get good rest. I have a full plate right now.”
Polamalu played against the Broncos in the opener, but missed practice all last week and was inactive on Sunday, giving way to Mundy.
At this point Mundy doesn’t know what Polamalu’s status will be this week against the Oakland Raiders, so unlike when he knew he would be filling in for Clark, this week he once again has to prepare not knowing whether he will be called upon to start or not.
“It’s something I have grown used to and learned how to work through,” said Mundy. “Those guys play hard each and every play. You never know when they are going to go down. I never know when I will have an opportunity or my name will be called. It’s no different with my preparation. I do my film study, my conditioning, lifting weights and making sure that I am mentally and physically ready for the game.
“It’s an unfortunate situation with Troy. He is an amazing player. I have to make sure I am ready in the event he is not. I have to continue to stay in shape, get my cardio going each and every day, make sure I am fresh, get good rest and whenever my number is called I do my best to perform.”
Whether he is starting for Clark or Polamalu, Mundy pretty much lets whichever one is in the starting lineup set the tone for how they are going to approach the game.
“When I play with Troy he is playing in the box most of the time, sometimes we will switch it up just to give a quarterback a different look,” said Mundy. “When I am playing with Ryan I can be playing in the box one play, he will be playing in the box the next play. I just like to be flexible and whatever those guys feel comfortable doing and whatever position they want to play on a particular play I will just play off of them.”
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