View Full Version : Tuesday with Tomlin

11-29-2011, 10:52 PM
NFL from the sidelines
After hobnobbing around the NFL in the press boxes and sidelines, sports reporter Dale Lolley will let you know the insider scoop. Dale can also be heard as a sometime host on ESPN 970-AM. Follow him on Twitter at dlolleyor.
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?

posted by Dale Lolley @ 12:26 PM 20 Comments Links to this post
Monday, November 28, 2011
Post-Kansas City thoughts

Sloppy is the only way to describe the Steelers' 13-9 win at Kansas City Sunday night.

And not just sloppy play, but coaching as well.

Both the offensive and defensive units were penalized for having 12 men on the field. I can't remember the last time that was called on the Steelers once, let alone twice, in the same game.

Add to that Ben Roethlisberger's inexplicable brain cramp when he waived the punting team off the field on fourth down in the third quarter from the KC 39, only to take a timeout with time expiring and you get the idea that nobody's head was really in this game.

Kansas City outcoached and outplayed the Steelers for much of this game. The Steelers were fortunate that Tyler Palko was in the Christmas mood and kept on giving.

Any game plan in which Mewelde Moore gets five first-half touches compared to none for Mike Wallace in the first two quarters of play is not a good one.

Nothing against Moore, who's made some big plays over the years, but Wallace is one of the premiere game changers in the league.

I also realize he was being doubled constantly and some of Moore's touches came on dumpoffs and such, but you've got to get the ball into Wallace's hands.

The same theory is why Hines Ward isn't a big part of this offense any longer.

Who would you rather have the ball, Ward or Antonio Brown?

Yes, Ward came up with a big third-down catch, but his other three receptions went for seven yards.

Wallace, by the way, finished with two catches. Ward and Moore combined for seven for 30 yards.

Hard to believe that LaMarr Woodley would have had a more impactful game than the one Jason Worilds played.

Subbing for Woodley, Worilds had six tackles, including one for a loss, four hurries and the Steelers' lone sack.

The coaches were also raving about the catch Wes Saunders made in the back of the end zone for the game's lone TD as well.

Couple that with the fact that Saunders is a credible blocker and you have to feel a little better about the Steelers' overall depth.

Oh, and did I mention that Ryan Mundy had a team-high 10 tackles and an interception?

The Steelers played poorly and stole a game on the road. Baltimore has played poorly on the road a couple of times this season and lost.

It happens.

The biggest issue is that the offensive line just doesn't seem to handle crowd noise well, which could be an issue in the postseason.

There weren't a lot of Steelers fans in Kansas City Sunday night and pretty much every offensive lineman had a holding penalty except Chris Kemoeatu. Go figure.