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09-26-2007, 12:09 AM
Steelers-Cards features interesting subplots
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, September 26, 2007

As much as he tried to downplay the storylines and subplots that make the Steelers-Arizona Cardinals game Sunday one of the more intriguing ones in the NFL this week, Mike Tomlin is well aware of them.

He made that clear after his weekly news conference Tuesday when he said with a grin, "You're going to sell a lot of newspapers this week."

Ya think?

The possibilities for the stories leading up to the game are seemingly endless with Ken Whisenhunt serving as the Steelers' offensive coordinator before taking the Cardinals' head coaching job. And with Whisenhunt hiring Russ Grimm for the same position he had with the Steelers after Tomlin beat out Grimm for the Steelers' head coaching job.

Of course, Tomlin has more immediate concerns than what he will say to Whisenhunt or Grimm if they talk on the field before the game.

Wide receiver Hines Ward sprained his right knee in the Steelers' 37-16 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday and Tomlin said he is doubtful for the Cardinals game.

"I've learned not to count a guy like Hines Ward out," Tomlin said. "That's why I'm saying it's being characterized as doubtful."

Ward, the four-time Pro Bowler, is more hopeful. He characterized his situation as "day-to-day" and said he is going to "try my best" to play.

"You know me," said Ward, who played in 116 consecutive games before missing the Jacksonville game in 2005 with a bad hamstring. "I don't like to miss games."

That would especially be the case for this game.

"Playing (against) Whiz and Russ," he said, "it's going to be very emotional."

Tomlin shrugged off any advantage the Cardinals may have since they have a handful of players and coaches who were with the Steelers last season, including special teams coach Kevin Spencer, center Chukky Okobi and wide receiver Sean Morey.

He also downplayed the loyalty the Steelers' veteran players showed toward Whisenhunt and Grimm. Even after Tomlin got the job, Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca said he wanted Grimm, his former position coach, to succeed Bill Cowher.

"If there wasn't a degree of loyalty among veteran players and the men who coached them, then that would be a sign of an issue or problem," Tomlin said. "I had no intentions of trying to break down those relationships. I was brought in here to try and do a job. I focused specifically on the job that I needed to do."

One relationship that will surely be put under the microscope this week is the one Whisenhunt had with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger took offense at Whisenhunt's comments last February that the Steelers probably rushed him back after the near-fatal motorcycle accident and emergency appendectomy he had prior to the 2006 season.

Roethlisberger has been effusive in his praise of new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, and some of his comments have strongly hinted that he felt Whisenhunt held him back at times because he didn't entirely trust him at the controls of the offense.

Asked if he'll talk to Roethlisberger about not trying to do too much against the Cardinals in an effort to prove something to Whisenhunt, Tomlin said, "We do have those discussions. Ben better want to play well because it's a football game."

And, as Tomlin is surely to be reminded over and over this week, it's not just any football game.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_529340.html

jjpro11
09-26-2007, 01:45 AM
i really wouldnt be surprised if ward ends up playing sunday. whether or not i want him to, i dont know.. i trust that he and the team know whats best. but it could just be a ploy by the steelers to mix up the cards preparation a bit.

NateC
09-26-2007, 02:50 AM
Heinz Will Deff be a factor to prepare for, and i like Mixing it up. I respcet New England for being close to the vest with any info about player injuries. Id rather be tight lipped about it. keep em thinking

Galax Steeler
09-26-2007, 04:22 AM
They may surprise arizona and let hines play someone who the cardinals might not be preparing for.

Atlanta Dan
09-26-2007, 07:50 AM
This was a good question and Tomlin response at the press conference

Roethlisberger has been effusive in his praise of new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, and some of his comments have strongly hinted that he felt Whisenhunt held him back at times because he didn't entirely trust him at the controls of the offense.

Asked if he'll talk to Roethlisberger about not trying to do too much against the Cardinals in an effort to prove something to Whisenhunt, Tomlin said, "We do have those discussions. Ben better want to play well because it's a football game"

Tomlin is very careful with his statements - IMO this was calling out Ben to play within the game plan and not make this an effort at payback time for Whiz.

So far so good about Ben not taking any more shots at Whiz or Cowher this week

If I was Whiz I would play 8 in the box and taunt Ben into trying to have an "I'll show you Whiz" game by making Ben beat me and hope he makes mistakes.

RoethlisBURGHer
09-26-2007, 09:13 AM
Heinz Will Deff be a factor to prepare for, and i like Mixing it up. I respcet New England for being close to the vest with any info about player injuries. Id rather be tight lipped about it. keep em thinking

It's one thing to be tight-lipped and list injuries at "knee injury", "foot injury", etc. instead of actually saying what the injury is....it's a whole other thing to have the entire damn team listed as questionable which is what Bellicheat did.