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Mike Tomlin Press Conference, Week 14, 49ers

Tomlin spits wisdom every Tuesday at Noon.

Oofta. Never thought the Browns would have me yelling at the top of my lungs at an old TV with a stripe down the middle at a dive bar in Saint Paul, MN with a Browns fan sitting at the bar yelling at the TV every time James Harrison looks at Colt McCoy. “Throw his ass outta the league” were the only words I could make out amongst a slew of slurred punctuations from that drunkard. Yep. Totally a Browns fan. And then someone had the nerve to question my fanhood.
“Where are you from?!” I so badly wanted to respond with something along the lines of “I’ll tell you where I’m not from…Cleveland,” Instead, I just pointed to the gigantic Steelers logo on my winter cap, and rolled up my sleeve to show my Steelers tat. “I was with my family in Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving, where were you?”

Browns fans. I’m surprised they still linger in places not named Cleveland. It’s like that one zombie that makes it out of the city and wanders in to the woods until it comes across your camp site by accident. You don’t know how it got there, but you know what you have to do.

We nearly lost to the Browns. I mean…we didn’t. But come on.

Wonder what Tomlin has to say about that…

The obvious: James Harrison was suspended. Tomlin talked about how hard James has worked to adjust his game and play inside the rules. He says it’s an unfortunate penalty, but it was warranted. Tomlin does not know whether James will appeal the suspension. The Steelers will prepare as if Harrison will not be playing.

Injuries: Chris Carter is questionable with a hamstring strain. Troy, same thing with a hamstring. Big Ben and Pouncey both have high ankle sprains and are working tirelessly to get ready to play. They are currently both listed as questionable. Emmanual Sanders seems to be recovering nicely, though Tomlin did not specify his status. Ziggy Hood appears to be recovering nicely, as does Woodley, and they’re optimistic about their potential participation. Tomlin says obviously it would be great to have Woodley back with the James Harrison situation.

The 49ers have been a surprise this year. Frank Gore is a central part of the offense, and Alex Smith has been playing solid football all season. The 49ers lead the league in the turnover margin (I think the Steelers are last) and they have only turned over the ball 10 times this season. They have a great all-around type team, with a great defense, and a solid offense. They have 31 takeaways on defense.

Ball protection will be key this week. 49ers have a good pass rush and a good run defense. Ben, Rashard, Memo, Redman, and everyone else will need to take extra care taking care of the football. Last week the Steelers lost a couple of fumbles, one from Hines and one from Heath. We’re not used to seeing those guys put the ball on the ground, and after a great week against the Bengals, the Browns game brought back a couple of question marks about this Steelers team.

Tomlin says they are pumped to play on Monday Night Football, and that this is the game that will really define what this Steelers team is made of. Feels like I say that every week, in every article, but I guess it’s always do or die in the NFL. The Steelers need to keep winning, regardless, at least until the Ravens tank. A win this week would really raise some eyebrows. The 49ers have a lot of respect around the NFL. They are well-coached and play smash mouth football. The Steelers will need to go in there and play very good football to win. Playing like they did against the Browns is not going to cut it.

Most questions had to do with Ben’s ankle sprain, and James’ suspension. The hit on Colt McCoy is all the rage right now, and I’m having trouble seeing why it is such a big deal. Of all the Silverback hits – the Vince Young pile driver, the Cribbs/Massaquoi destruction, etc – I feel like this has got to be the lamest. Hard for me to get behind the suspension, but James is considered a repeat offender, and those are the guidelines. Still, it makes me wonder. Where do you draw the line?

Listen to the whole press conference over at Steelers Depot.

Follow me on Twitter at @AdamMeckler, I tweet a lot.

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