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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Tueday with Tomlin (Baltimore edition)

Mike Tomlin declared just one person out for Sunday's game against Baltimore - guard Doug Legursky.

As expected, Tomlin said linebacker James Harrison has been cleared to practice and that his status, along with that of LaMarr Woodley, James Farrior and Jason Worilds would be determined later in the week.

But that was purely coach speak.

More realistically, Worilds is the only player expected to return and the Steelers aren't sure what they are going to get from him since he has very little playing experience.

More telling was Tomlin's statement that the Steelers might have to line up with a four-man defensive line - though you can assume if they do that, Brett Keisel may do so as a stand-up end, sometimes dropping into coverage.

© New to the injury list this week is wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who has a left knee issue.

Sanders is also dealing with the death of his mother.

© Hines Ward could return this week after sitting out against New England with an ankle injury.


Robert K said...

Worst possible timing for Harrison/Woodley to be out.

Now would be a nice time for the offense to carry the team for a game.

Anonymous said...

The injuries are somewhat of a blessing in disguise. It's forcing the hand of the defense to use more defensive backs and get a bit more creative. This defense had gotten a bit stagnant because the formula had been working for so long.

This week we could see 4 lineman. I'm excited about that. I would like to have Woodley, but I'm excited to see what the Steelers have for this week.

Once they get everyone back they'll have some options to go to against the pass-happy teams and they'll have the tape to prove that it works.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts are with Sanders. What a tough loss.

We HAVE to beat Baltimore this weekend! They are hyped up since they beat us last time. Not in our house!

adamg said...

Very sad news about Sanders' mother. Can't imagine being that young age and losing a parent.

I'll be interested to see the Steelers in a 4-3. It's time to diversify the defense just as they've done with the offense.

Tim said...

Not buying the "blessing in disguise" stuff on defense. Yes, it gets good young players playing time and that's good, but I'd rather conduct experiments with Harrison, Woodley, Farrior and Timmons, not Carter, Sylvester, Foote, and Zombie Timmons (which is what I call him playing out of position).

On another note, is it fair to say that Keisel is the biggest ballhawk on this team? Ballhawking is about focus on the ball and instincts, and he does that every play. You can tell when he rushes the passer, half of his focus is on the ball and how to knock it down. That number is probably like 10% for other d-linemen. Come on, Brett, get a pick 6!

marc said...

i wouldn't call these injuries a blessing in disguise. the steelers are without their 2 all-pro outside LB's who happen to be very strong against the run. considering the ravens are much more physical than the steelers, this is not good.

if the ravens try to air it out this game then shame on them. they should look to run very often and force the steelers to bring troy down into the box. that will open up their jump balls down field.

Anonymous said...

Tim, Zombie Timmons is shutting down legit receivers every week.

Marc, Troy in the box is a basically a linebacker. Check the game film and how they are using Troy the last few games....he's a linebacker and they have Mundy in as the second safety. No one is going to run on the Steelers in that formation.

This week they have to figure out how to get pressure without Woodley...hmmm Heyward anyone?

The defense is pretty scary in its current form. Yes, it will be great to get Harrison, Farrior, and Woodley back, but it will be nice to have the options they're figuring out now when he does.

marc said...

against the pats the steelers went with an extra DB and played troy more as a LB, you are correct. but, they were able to do that knowing the pats are not a running threat.

the ravens can run the ball with rice and the beast of a FB they have. if the steelers come out with the same type of approach this game, the ravens will run all over them.

other than the pats game, troy has been playing well off the line for most of the season.

Anonymous said...

Marc, re-watch the Titans game. Troy was basically a linebacker in the dime package, which they used a lot during that game. Very similar to what they did against New England....and they stopped one of the best running backs in the NFL using that same package. Troy's been doing this a lot since Harrison has been out.

Tim said...

Wow marc, don't let any of the Steelers hear you say the Ravens are a much more physical team. We will be much weaker against the run and pass without Woodley and Harrison, but if both teams are healthy I say we are the tougher, more physical team. They might be the second most physical team in football, but we've shown that over and over again that we are number one in that department.


You're right about Timmons. I don't mean to complain about his pass coverage. He's still awesome there. But he is nowhere near Harrison's league at OLB against the run or rushing the passer, and he's nowhere near his own league as an ILB. He's holding down the fort alright, but that's all we're getting. A running team doesn't really have to fear him.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this will be the week we get the 8 or 9 turnovers we are owed by God. (I'd settle for 2.)

Yeah, Troy can be used linebacker-ish at times; maybe this game Kiesel will be too, getting Heyward in the game some more. Hopefully Hoke can go, too.

I know Sylvester didn't play much last week but I'm pretty sure I saw him lifted off the ground by an offensive lineman and Foote in his ear a couple of times the few snaps he was in. He scares me in this game.

On offense, do a halfway decent job blocking Suggs and Ngata (instead of atrocious, like last time; Max Starks-over-J. Scott should take care of the decent part somewhat) and don't turn the ball over.

And don't pump pake four times on second-and-8 with a 10-0 lead waiting to get strip-sacked :)

marc said...

ooops, that was meant to read "much more physical than the pats..."

Henry said...

I think our line is gelling.

Foster and Gilbert were perfect in pass pro on sunday.
Considering Ben dropped back 57 times, that's really impressive no matter who you're playing.

datruth4life said...


I think we'll probably see Keisel as the ROLB with Cam Heyward as the RDE in the base pkg. Not a bad thing considering the way Baltimore ran on us the first time.

In the base pkg, you would have Keisel and Timmons as your OLBs. In your nickel and dime, having Worilds and C. Carter available would mean that you could actually let Timmons return to his ILB position and let either one rush from LOLB.

But make no mistake about it, this is a game for ILBs Foote and Sylvester to really show up. I think you will see a more agressive game from Lebeau rushing the passer with Ike locking up on A. Boldin.

It's tough not having Woodley & Deebo for probably the next 2 games, but if they can make it through these next two with wins, and with the way the secondary is playing against the pass, this D could really be something upon their return.

Dale Lolley said...

I would agree you may see Keisel there at some times.
If Worilds can go, you could see him on one side with Timmons, Foote and Sylvester at times as well.

marc said...

re-watched the game on nfl network tonight. few things jumped out.

the defense really changed things up throughout the game. troy lined up all over the place. had to be driving brady nuts.

amazing how much an improvement starks is. gilbert also did very well. RB's are blocking very well also.

carter was ok, but didn't get much push on the pass rush.

most importantly, steelers controlled line of scrimmage the whole game.