Monday, October 8, 2012

Polamalu And Woodley Won't Play vs. Titans, Will Saunders?

At Mike Tomlin's weekly press conference, held Monday this week because of the Thursday night game, the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach addressed the team looking forward and backward. As is the usual, injuries are a big part of the equation. - http://tinyurl.com/8udgkjb

As we know, Troy Polamalu re-inujured his right calf and is out this week. Tomlin was more optimistic on LaMarr Woodley saying he was "probably" out for the Tennessee Titans game with a "mild" hamstring injury. However, considering what happened last year, it would probably be best if he didn't play Thursday.

He pointed out that James Harrison had a "little swelling on knee," and that there was nothing negative regarding Rashard Mendenhall. All-in-all, he said that "from and injury standpoint, we came out of the game with some bumps and bruises."

Tomlin did address what he called a "subpar performance in some instances." He described the penalties that the Steelers are committing as some "guys working hard but not working smart." He says he "won't tolerate" self inflicted wounds, aka, penalties.

The pre-snap penalties can not be tolerated, true. He did, though, somewhat excuse the holding calls. He praised an offensive line that protected their quarterback.

"I think our offensive line did a good job protecting Ben (Roethlisberger), we were not sacked in the game"

Case in point in this is Willie Colon Cancer-he was flagged four times Sunday (though one was highly questionable). In total, Colon has been flagged eight times this season already, with six being false starts and two being for holding.

False start? Pre-snap and unacceptable. Holding? In-game and, well...Sunday was the first time since the October 17, 2010 Cleveland Browns game that Big Ben hasn't been sacked. One can only assume that Steeler Nation can tolerate those penalties much more easily.

We're used to Tomlin in his weekly pressers making a 2-14 team sound playoffs bound, but he had an interesting take on things Monday. He said that the Titans are "obviously off to a slow start" and that it makes them "dangerous."

He gave some praise to Titans running back Chris Johnson, but CJ2K is only averaging only about 42 yards per game (YPG). There are lots of problems in Tennessee, but many creatures are most dangerous when wounded.

What Mike Tomlin won't tell you, though, is that the Titans are allowing 36.2 points per game (PPG) most in NFL through five games since the 1954 Washington Redskins, per CBSSports.com.

"If we're going to be team we want to be," Tomlin said, "we need to win on the road." Tomlin was asked about the losing four of their last five road games (they're actually 5-6 on the road in last two seasons with some rather unimpressive wins) but he only wanted to focus on this year he said.

Well, here's something else Tomlin probably won't tell you: again per CBSSports.com, the Steelers have lost 14 of the past 22 games in Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones.

Once road warriors, now roadkill. Tennessee just might be the road trip needed to turn the tide, especially with a mini-bye right after.

The highlight of the presser? Tomlin getting asked about the hit by Ryan Clark: "Please, Ed (Bouchette)...Next question."

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The Steelers are facing a difficult decision when they bring Weslye Saunders back this week. They have a roster exemption snd may not bring him back until Friday. that said, when they do they'll have to make a decision between their tight ends. Leonard Pope has a guaranteed veteran salary of about $575,000. They haven't actually spent the money already, because Cap dollars are not actual cash. At least as far as the way bean counters see it.

Regardless the decision, it's difficult. If they move David Paulson to the practice squad, they have to pay Saunders and cut a P.S. player. Cut Pope and pay Saunders, the cost is about $400,000. An 'overall difference of about $169,000', per Jim Wexell.

But, Sunday may have been an unofficial "goodbye" to Pope. Didn't see field on Sunday and, therefore, he may be gone after Thursday's game. Makes more sense to go with youth and upside anyway.

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Per Messieurs Neal Coolong and Lance Williams, Behind The Steel Curtain and Steel Curtain Radio respectively, Michael Vick's first 10 dropbacks Sunday included seven hits and five knockdowns. Vick was getting hit every three and a half drop backs.

So, why did James Harrison pull up on a sure shot on Vick?

"I let up on Michael Vick so I wouldn't get fined." - http://t.co/Rpz4fKtJ

Thanks, Roger Goodell. You have what you wanted: players playing tentatively. Thank goodness it wasn't a game-changing play. If it had been, you'd be more than hung in effigy.