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Old 11-26-2008, 09:11 AM   #1
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Default Notebook: No regrets, one guarantee

Notebook: No regrets, one guarantee
By Mike Bires
Times Sports Staff
Published: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 12:02 AM EST

PITTSBURGH — Anthony Smith has apparently offered up another guarantee that the Steelers are going to upset the New England Patriots.

After Thursday’s 27-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Steelers’ second-string safety told a reporter from the Indiana (Pa.) Gazette that he didn’t regret last year’s guarantee and that he’d do it again.

“If they ask me again, I’ll say the same thing,” Smith said. “We’re the No. 1 defense. If we play like we’ve been playing, and our offense comes around and has a good game, and we’re clicking on all cylinders, we’re going to win the game.”

Because Smith used the word “if,” that wasn’t an unconditional guarantee that the Steelers (8-3) will win Sunday in New England (7-4). But he certainly will have to answer to the media and to his teammates and coaches today when the Steelers return to practice.

Last year when Smith guaranteed a win over the Patriots, who were 12-0 at the time, the Steelers were trounced 34-13. And Smith was burnt twice on long touchdown passes thrown by Tom Brady.

After that game, Smith was roundly criticized by his teammates and even by Pats coach Bill Belichick.

Tuesday at his weekly press conference, coach Mike Tomlin refused to speculate if Smith’s career took a downward spiral after his ill-fated prediction and poor performance against the Patriots.

“You’d have to ask Anthony that,” Tomlin said. “I’m not going to use that game as a turning point or bench mark for anyone or anybody. His career is his career.”


It appears that running back Willie Parker will miss his sixth game of the season. In last week’s win over the Bengals, Parker aggravated an injury to his left knee. He missed four games earlier this year with a sprained knee and another game with a shoulder injury.

If Parker can’t play, Mewelde Moore will start again with Gary Russell serving as the back-up. Fullback Carey Davis can also play the halfback position.

In other injury news, defensive end Brett Keisel will definitely miss Sunday’s game and perhaps a few more. He suffered a sprained knee against the Bengals.

Wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who sustained a concussion against the Bengals, will play, as will cornerback Bryant McFadden, who suffered a broken arm in an Oct. 19 win in Cincinnati.


Tomlin said one of the main reasons why the Steelers re-signed punter Mitch Berger was his role as a holder for kicker Jeff Reed.

Berger had spent the first eight weeks of the season with the Steelers but averaged only 41.9 yards per punt.

That wasn’t “up to snuff,” Tomlin said, so Berger was cut on Nov. 5. To take his place, the Steelers signed Paul Ernster. But in the last three games, Ernster only averaged 31.6 yards, so he was cut.

“Jeff is having an awesome season. He’s been very consistent for us. When you bring in a guy like Mitch, who’s got experience with him in the holding category, it weighs into your decision,” Tomlin said. “Hopefully, it continues to be an effective element of our game. I’m talking about placekicking and Mitch will be a big part of that. We’ll need Mitch to do a quality job punting as well.”

When asked if Berger’s pulled hamstring muscles are better, Tomlin said, “I’ll just go with the bottom line and the punting wasn’t up to snuff.”


On a national radio show Tuesday, Tomlin was asked this question: “Mike, if a genie could come down and grant you one wish for this game this weekend as far as an aspect of the game that you could control or dominate, what would you wish for?”

Here’s how Tomlin answered that question:

“I’ll take bad weather. Because that’s Steelers weather, you know. I know we’re playing in New England and I know they’re accustomed to playing under those conditions. I just like the look in the eyes of our guys when we’re playing in bad weather conditions. I think they enjoy it, man. They’re like kids that get an opportunity to go outside and play in some snow.”

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Old 11-26-2008, 04:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: Notebook: No regrets, one guarantee

That is great news about McFadden playing on Sunday. Very happy to hear that because that is another CB to help out when the Cheaters spread us out. No surprise that Berger was only brought back due to holding for extra points and FG attempts. But hey he can't be worse than Ernster. We shall soon find out.
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