Couple of things before I get in to this weeks press conference, which took place on Monday due to the short week.
I finally got to watch the game yesterday after being at the Vikings vs. Tebow game here in MN on Sunday. Quite a decisive win! I observed a few things that I thought were very positive. This season has been a roller coaster for Steelers fans. We’ve had close games against teams like the Chiefs, and earlier the Colts, that have made us wonder if this team is really a battle-tested, playoff-ready squad. We lost two “must win” games against our biggest rival, the Ravens, and have been riddled with injuries. Well, it looks like most of that is behind us.
This convincing win against the Bengals, who have been pretty good this year considering their QB is a rookie, shines a whole new light on the Steelers. The defense and Special teams have been dynamic as of late, and the offense seems to be firing on all cylinders. I got a chance to chat with my bro a little about the game before going back and watching, and he told me to keep an eye on Doug Legursky. Doug had a huge game, attributing a few key blocks on scoring plays including a seal off on the first Ben to Wallace TD, and a huge block on the first Mendenhall TD. Having Legursky back from injury clearly made a big difference in the run and pass games. One of the other things I’ve noticed is that Ben just keeps getting better and better every week. He’s a scary QB when he is focused and determined and he seems to be in full form as we push to the later part of the season.
A classic case of peaking at the right time. It may seem like I am making a big deal out of one performance, but it’s more than that. I’ve noticed a clear growth in this team over the last 4 or 5 weeks, and it all seemed to come to a head last Sunday against the Bengals. Here we are again, season after season, sitting with the chance to win the division and grab a bye week in the playoffs. Just keep winning. The Ravens will fall, and when they do, we’ll be there to dry their eyes and take home field advantage in the playoffs.
Also, I’m happy to say I got to experience some Tebow magic in person last weekend. Dude is special, and just keeps winning games. It could be nothing, but it could really be something happening over there in Denver. Who knows, could be a first round Steelers/Broncos match up. Needless to say, it’s been fun to follow the story.
Now on to the Presser:
Tomlin was pleased with the effort and performance in all three phases, especially on Special teams with the blocked FG, forced fumble, and Brown’s return for a TD. James Harrison had a big day, too, and is getting closer and closer to 100%.
Injuries: Ramon Foster Questionable, Left Ankle Sprain. Arnaz Battle and Chris Carter injured, Chris Carter might have a foot issue, saw the doctor yesterday. Hoke, as we know, had a neck injury and will need surgery. Unfortunately, neck injuries like Hoke’s usually end the season, and sometimes even the career of the affected. Foote has a shot at playing Thursday, will know soon. Obviously, Woodley came out early on Sunday which was pretty alarming for most of us in Steeler Nation since he’s been out for so long with this hamstring injury. Tomlin says Woodley probably could have played, but he noticed a tweak during the game and didn’t want to push it. Sounds to me like he thinks Woodley could play this Thursday. Lastly, Jonathan Dwyer has a foot injury and saw the doctor yesterday.
Tomlin spent a while talking about the Browns. The Browns aren’t really much to talk about, so I’ll leave all that stuff out. We all know Tomlin loves to list everyone on the opposing team in his pressers. I just don’t think you need to hear all that crap this week.
That being said, Peyton Hills is back this week, and if healthy, he can be a real stud in the backfield. Tomlin also talks about the emergence of Greg Little as a top target at WR for the Browns. I saw him drop like 6 passes against the Ravens a couple of weeks ago, so he’s inconsistent, but could still hurt the secondary.
“We’ve been dead Indians in his Cowboy movie enough”
Tomlin in reference to Josh Cribbs and his ability to make big splash plays happen on Special Teams.
Mike sounds enthused about some of the younger guys who play mostly on Special Teams. Curtis Brown comes to mind first and foremost from the game he had last week with a few tackles on ST, and also Cortez Allen.
I love how Tomlin shakes off some of these questions and downplays all the drama that is so common in the NFL. Asked about Antonio Brown’s big hit Tomlin pretty much responded with “It happens. This is the NFL. Deal with it.”
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