Tomlin says there are lots of great things to take away from last weeks game, but there were several things that bothered him. The inability to get in to the end zone on a consistent basis is something the Steelers’ offense needs to improve on if they want to be consistently competitive.
More injuries. Lots of injuries: Limited includes James Farrior, Chris Hoke, E. Sanders needs to get his knee looked at, and Woodley will be considered based on how soon he can practice, that also goes for Hines and Jason Worilds. The biggest news is that James Harrison has been cleared to practice, but they won’t jump to any conclusions on whether he’ll see much time, if any, this week.
The key to stopping the Ravens will be to stop the duo tandem running of Ray Rice and Ricky Williams. Obviously Boldin is always a concern, but Tomlin talked a lot about the deep ball threat in Tory Smith that the Steelers really haven’t seen yet.
The rest of the Ravens talk was basically Tomlin talking them up like crazy and naming all their players one by one and listing there strengths, weaknesses, and hobbies. Per usual.
Due to the laundry list of injuries that the Steelers have experienced this season, the first half of the press conference questions had to do with the shuffling Tomlin has had to do with the players on and off the field. When Woodley went down last Sunday, Tomlin had to put in Carter, and at first moved Timmons to the right and Carter to the left, but switched them when he realized Carter wasn’t going to be comfortable on either side, so why not keep Timmons in his “usual” spot. Timmons, as you may recall, was moved to the blind side from the Inside when James Harrison went down with a broken eye socket.
Farrior getting injured just adds another dimension to the Linebacker shuffle, and these young guys have really had to step up, and did so very well against the Patriots on Sunday.
But I digress.
Tomlin made it clear that William Gay and Keenan Lewis are not included in the “young guy” categories, and Tomlin is not surprised at all how well they each have been playing. He says they’re older guy and should be making those contributions now.
Personally, I am befuddled as to how William Gay could have possibly developed in to a player worth keeping around, but it seems there was some magic up Gay’s sleeve after all. He and Lewis have been playing so well, along with the rest of the secondary, that it is hard to give praise without first thinking of the man who’s been behind this secondary for less than a year, Carnell Lake. Lake has turned a secondary that was just worth some kind of drinking game (Every time the other team beats Willy Gay you have to drink!), in to a #1 pass defense in the league. I scoffed at the stat until last weekend. Then I thought, could they be for real?
I am wiling to bet they are, at least for now. I don’t know how, but this unit figured something out, and its been consistent now through several games. This was the first week where all five of the same guys started on the Offensive line as the last, it’s no coincidence we finally got a little peace and quiet in the pocket.
Needless to say, the win against the rival Pats is kinda hard to enjoy since the Ravens are right around the corner. I hope the Steelers feel the same way, I am sure they do. I am sure I don’t have to tell you how important a win would be this weekend. The Steelers are looking at the second straight legitimate team and a win tells the world the Steelers are a team people better start paying attention to.
That is all.
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