Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday with Tomlin

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin sounded optimistic about LaMarr Woodley returning to the lineup this week against the Bengals. Woodley has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury.

Same goes for safety Troy Polamalu. Tomlin said Polamalu has not had any concussion symptoms since Sunday and actually didn't have any during the game. But the Steelers erred on the side of caution.

I thought from the beginning Polamalu's injury appeared to be more of a shoulder than a head and watching it again, that still appeared to be the case.

Getting Woodley back would be huge for the Steelers. Stevenson Sylvester missed Sunday's game with a calf injury, while rookie Chris Carter and Larry Foote went down with hamstring injuries against the Chiefs. That left the Steelers with just four linebackers to finish Sunday's game.

© Tomlin said he was unhappy with the results in the return game Sunday night. That could mean that Antonio Brown, who had been returning all the kicks, could move back into that spot.

Emmanuel Sanders was used in some situations against the Chiefs.

I'm not a big fan of using a starter as your primary return man. Why give some team's scrubs a shot at a receiver who's on pace to go over 1,000 yards receiving?

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Never going to happen, but I would love to see Polamalu return a punt now and then on special occasions.

Anonymous said...

"Why give some team's scrubs a shot at a receiver who's on pace to go over 1,000 yards receiving?"

Because returns yards count the same as receiving yards. We've got lots of pass catchers, but only 1 good returner. Let Brown return kicks and punts. He can rest for the first play of the ensuing drive and then come in on 2nd down.

Dale Lolley said...

And when Brown blows out a knee returning a kick, how many people are going to be bitching about how dumb it was to have Brown out there? Let Sanders keep doing it.

marc said...

it's football, people get hurt. put your best on the field.

how many times have our punt/kick returners gotten hurt the last 3 years?

it is something brown excels at and a clear advantage for the team. to try and save him from injury when you routinely send him through the middle of a defense is nonsense.

play to win the game, pick up the pieces, and then get ready for the next game.

Robert K said...

Brown is our #2 receiver. Not legit team puts there #2 on the field to return kicks.

Name me one team that does that.

steelcan said...

Chicagos #2 maybe #1? reciever. His name is Devon Hester, you may have heard of him.

superfan99 said...

Hester is behind Johnny Knox, Roy Williams and Earl Bennett on the Bears' WR depth chart. He's not a potential 1,000 yard receiver.

TarheelFlyer said...

I would like to see Batch returning kick offs next year. He just strikes me as the kind of guy who would be good at it. Otherwise use M. Moore for the rest of this year. I don't want Sanders or Brown back there. Or maybe we cut Battle prior to next year and bring in a guy whose contribution is exactly that, returning kicks and punts, but also a receiver to learn. He would provide just as much to the team as Battle does.

bruinmann77 said...

Hey Dale any chance we See Ivy brought back with this Injuries.

Anonymous said...

Dale,

Any dirt on Harrison's back?

I saw he was suddenly "limited" in practice last Friday and was pretty much non-existent on Sunday night. On TV it looked like he had to get up slowly once or twice (which might not be related, but still).

adamg said...

What marc said. You can't play football scared. Injuries can happen anywhere and any time. Sometimes you don't even have to be touched to blow a knee or pull a hammy.

BTW, didn't Tim Brown return kicks his entire career?

Dale Lolley said...

I would continue to use Sanders back there. Fifty percent of kicks are touchbacks anyway. And Sanders isn't bad at it.

As for Harrison's back, it tightened up on him late last week. You could see that it did again in the second half Sunday.

Anonymous said...

@ superfan: Knox and Hester return kicks, and Hester is the #2 WR per the Bears site.

Deshean Jackson handles punts, but not KO's.

Percy Harvin handles KO's, not sure if he is #1 or #2 but he's a starting WR.

~sbk

Henry said...

as long as don't go back to the 07 and 08 days where Dookie and Gary Russell were returning kicks, I really don't care.

Anonymous said...

Sanders needs the morale boost IMO. Brown is seeing nearly 10 targets a game as a receiver he's emerged himself as too valuable an asset to get injured at this point in the season. Sanders has had a rough season thus far, I say let him get some swagger back. It's not as though Sanders has lead feet.

bruinmann77 said...

I have no issue with either back as long as the steelers stop with the holding calls

Dale Lolley said...

Brown returned punts for about half of his career. He only really did kickoffs in his rookie season. Punts are a little different animal, in my opinion. You don't like what you see, call for the fair catch.

Kickoffs, everybody is running at full speed right at each other. You don't see punt returners lit up quite as often as kick returners.

And Brown is 180-185 pounds soaking wet.

Anonymous said...

Dale - why is Brown so wet? Don't they provide towels ?

TarHeelFlyer - I don't think we should risk letting Charlie Batch return kicks. Hes too valuable as a 4th string QB/assistant coach. Maybe Dixon can

Anonymous said...

Brown returned both punts and KOs for 14 of his 16 years in then NFL. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/B/BrowTi00.htm

bruinmann77 said...

who going to start at LG this week dale

Steve-O said...

The Steelers have undeniably become a pass first team which places a premium on the wide receiver position. At this point Antonio Brown is more valuable as a receiver (particularly on 3rd down) than a kick returner. His loss in that regard would be significant.

Sanders is a solid if not spectacular kick returner who set the Steelers up in decent field position. If he is lost to injury it would hurt but not nearly as significant. I say keep Sanders back there.

Steve-O said...

The Steelers have undeniably become a pass first team which places a premium on the wide receiver position. At this point Antonio Brown is more valuable as a receiver (particularly on 3rd down) than a kick returner. His loss in that regard would be significant.

Sanders is a solid if not spectacular kick returner who set the Steelers up in decent field position. If he is lost to injury it would hurt but not nearly as significant. I say keep Sanders back there.

TarheelFlyer said...

Wrong Batch Anon. I meant Baron Batch who was going to make this team probably at Dwyer's expense had he not gotten hurt.

superfan99 said...

You are correct about the Bears depth chart. That was a poor choice of wording by me. Hester is the third WR on the Bears in terms of receptions (also behind Forte). Throw in Earl Bennett, who has been their top WR since returning from injury, and Hester isn't a major component of the passing game (22 receptions).

Antonio Brown has 48 receptions. Hester and Knox combined have 50. If the Bears lose either Hester or Knox to injury, it's not nearly as big of a blow to their offense, as losing Brown would be to the Steelers. I agree with Dale's point, but there are decent arguments for both sides.

Anonymous said...

I just don't see that many guys getting hurt returning kicks. When was the last time a Steelers kick returner was injured during a kick return? Your more likely to get hurt catching a pass over the middle.

Brown is a play maker the more you get the ball into his hands the better.

Dale Lolley said...

Tim Brown returned 8 kickoffs in the 13 years following his rookie season. I wouldn't say he returned them his whole career.

He quit returning punts full time after the 1996 season, midway through his career.

adamg said...

The point about Tim Brown is that he was still returning punts regularly and kick-offs occassionally 8 years into his career, at age 30+, while also being a starting WR and continued to return kicks during his entire playing career.

Antonio Brown is in his second year. I think he can keep returning punts and kicks. It's not like the Steelers don't have good depth at WR and TE to pick up the slack should he happen to get dinged running back a kick. Catching passes over the middle is a lot more dangerous.

Dale Lolley said...

Catching passes over the middle is more dangerous than having somebody get a 50-yard running start at you when you also have a running start? Nonsense.

Brown told me today that he takes far more of a beating returning kickoffs than he does punts. And again, Tim Brown returned EIGHT kickoffs after his rookie season. That's EIGHT kickoffs in 15 seasons. That's hardly an occasional kickoff. That's hardly any at all.

Anonymous said...

In terms of chance of injury:
twisted knee> returning kickoffs > catching a ball over the middle.
watch football, that's how it goes.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm watching something different. I've never seen a kickoff where both the returner and the defender are running at each other at full speed and collide with a 50 yard head start. Why would the returner do this? The returner typically makes a cut. The defender is typically blocked or forced to take a couple of cuts.

On the other hand, I've seen Ryan Clark hit guys while running at full speed blind sided and nearly concuss both himself and the receiver. Hitting someone blind sided is much more dangerous in my opinion, the person can't brace themselves, twist, or make movements to lessen the blow.

Give me some stats on how many kick off return specialists are injured and I'll shut up, but I can't find anything to suggest that kick off specialist is an especially dangerous job.