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Old 08-31-2009, 09:03 PM   #1
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Default Tomlin says Carolina game not meaningless, instead critical for younger players

Tomlin says Carolina game not meaningless, instead critical for younger players
August 31, 5:33 PMPittsburgh Sports Examiner
Matt Pawlikowski

PITTSBURGH - When it comes to playing Carolina on Thursday night, Steeler coach Mike Tomlin is looking for good fundamental football, but more important as a game which is a last chance for guys to state a case as why they are worthy to make the final 52 man roster.

"By no means do we take this game for granted," Tomlin said. " Some people are going to distinguish themselves positively and negatively and we are going to go into the game with an open mind, with the understanding as some guys are take advantage of the situation and some will not, and we are willing to call it as we see it."

When it comes to seeing the starters, don't expect much. Instead as Tomlin stated it is a game where they will be looking at a lot of players and what they can bring to the field.

"The big thing is they (starters) are respectful of maybe what some of the other guys are going through," Tomlin said. " No question their appearance is going to be a short one, but they are going to have some teammates who are fighting to the bitter end to play well and make this football team, but I think they are sensitive to that and supportive of that."

Considering the team is comprised of numerous veterans, making a cut will be no easy task come next week. Tomlin said he has no formula for making those moves.

"We felt good about the 80 we took into training camp, that it was a competitive group and that no one was over their head and it's played out that way," Tomlin said. "Although its not always pleasant the day you have to make those kind of decisions,is necessary and good issues and problems to have."

As for injuries tight end Sean McHugh is still out, but as been the case during the pre-season Tomlin said the guys who missed last week are hoping to go.

"Were' going to take it as it goes with them," Tomlin said. " Willie ( Parker ) is going to try to go and hopefully will go as will Nick Eason, Jeff Reed all of those guys are questionable at this point with an arrow pointing up. Hopefully they will be able to participate and if they are healthy they will."

Tomlin did say that linebacker Lawrence Timmons more than likely would be held out of Thursday's game because his health heading into the Sept. 10 game is paramount at this point. If that is the case he said Keyaron Fox would be the MAC linebacker but others could see some action.

"I'm actually quite excited about watching a guy like Ryan Mundy come down and potentially play that position," Tomlin said. "We embrace the concept of the more that you can do, and position flexibility, we have some guys who are capable of playing that spot, doing unique things covering and rushing and I'm excited about watching those guy do it."

Tomlin also addressed the Darnell Stapelton situation. Stapleton was put on the injured reserve.

"We continue to watch his progress coming off of surgery," he said. " What we have done is try to slow that process down and put his health first and foremost so we are no longer working under a clock to see if he is going to be a part of this 2009 season. That is unfortunate, but that is football and I talked to Darnell about it."
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