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Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday news and notes

Troy Polamalu was back at practice today as expected and will play Sunday.

Only two players out for the Steelers are Brett Keisel and Marvel Smith, neither of which is a surprise.

For Dallas, it's looking like Marion Barber won't play. He's listed as questionable, but didn't practice all week and the Cowboys activated a running back from the practice squad to back up Tashard Choice, the only other back on the active roster.

I'd be shocked if the Cowboys beat the Steelers on a cold, wet Heinz Field turf with Tashard Choice at running back.

© Speaking of the Heinz Field turf, it got the highest vote (27 percent) as the worst in the NFL in a player's vote taken by Sports Illustrated.

But that's doesn't bother me as it does some others.

The turf at Heinz Field is a home field advantage for the Steelers. It's obviously in the heads of opposing players.

Watching films at training camp this year of games played in the 70s and on up through the 80s, there were some bad fields around the league at that time. Certainly Heinz Field is better than them.

And there's something about playing football in the mud that's just so natural.

The Steelers? Other than Willie Parker, I've never heard any players grousing about it. They're used to it and it really does give them a home field advantage.

The second-place finisher was Oakland at 13 percent.


Mohammed said...

Dale, I don't find it surprising that our turf is the "worst." I also find it to be a home-field advantage and wouldn't trade it in for that fake stuff. One question though. I know you talked about it earlier in the week, and was wondering if there were any changes to the B-Mac situation? Who will start as the 2 corners? The nickel back?

Alex said...

I love our muddy field, may it dirty the jerseys and hopes of opposing teams forever.

SC Steeler said...

Dale, at what point this year does Timmons officially take over for Foote? Or do we wait until 2009?

Also, who's the staring CB opposite Ike next year... Townsend, Gay, a re-signed McFadden, or a high draft pick? My guess is that McFadden gets too expensive so it's a battle between Deshae and Gay (Gay wins out).

Anonymous said...

I don't know, I'm more concerned with Ware than Barber. RBs don't beat the Steelers, but good pass rushers do. Hopefully Ware is slowed down a bit by his injury.

Anonymous said...

A poor field is an equalizer, not an advantage. And before the huge embarrassment to Rooney last year after the Miami game, every anonymous player survey taken by the union said the Steelers players felt their own field was hands down the worst in the league. And over half the team gave it the lowest rating of 'poor'. New England was considered worse by their own players before going to the Field Turf we saw last week. That game didn't exactly offend my football sensibilities or pining for leather helmets. We'll see what happens tomorrow when two good teams are pitted on the pitch. Maybe the new sod will play like earlier in the year. But as prolific as the D has been at getting after the QB this year, over the past two months most of that has come on the road (22 sacks in 4 games), with only 5 team sacks coming at home (also in 4 games).

Anonymous said...

I love our field and the fact that it is real, but it's true that a bad field and bad weather are an equalizer.

Now that CAN be an advantage if you are regularly not as good as your opponents. But that is not the case with the Steelers.

I certainly wouldn't want a really fast turf (ala Indy or St Louis), but with the beating the field takes, it might be somehing to look into soon.

However, if our natural turf provides the safest environment for the players knees and such...which I've heard, I'm ok staying with grass.

As you can see...I can't even decide what I like or prefer.

Big Joe Polka Show said...

Actually, the Heinz Field turf is totally "natural." If I'm not mistaken, DD Grassmaster has plastic grass woven into real grass. Just think, if it didn't have the fake stuff maybe the whole field would be dirt & mud by now.

Anonymous said...

I'm interested in seeing how Choice handles the starting role now with Barber ruled out. I don't think it changes much in the running game, but Barber is a pretty good at picking up the blitz and is a real threat at catching the ball out of the backfield. It should be interesting to see how Dallas's offense is affected by not having Barber.

Patrick said...

I wanted to post this article by Mike Florio from (I hope you don'tmind the posting of other sites Dale, if you do, feel free to delete this comment)

You can say what you want about Florio (I've criticized him a bunch),but this is a well written, well thought out article about the Steeler's season so far and Tomlin's success.

I have been critical of Tomlin, but this article makes me think of him in a different light. Considering the schedule, injuries, offensive woes, and other issues, it really is great that this team is 9-3 and poised for a serious playoff run, assuming they don't fall apart in the next few weeks.

Personally, I can't wait for the ride.

Anonymous said...

Florio's an ass, but at least he's man enough to admit when he's wrong. It still doesn't excuse him for taking such obvious pleasure in the thought of the Steelers being bad this year.