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Old 10-14-2009, 06:46 AM   #1
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Default Tomlin expects Anderson and Browns to be at best despite poor record

Tomlin expects Anderson and Browns to be at best despite poor record
October 14, 5:57 AMPittsburgh Sports Examiner
Matt Pawlikowski

Steeler coach Mike Tomlin is worried about the Browns (AP FILE PHOTO)

PITTSBURGH - In years past Browns-Steelers week brought much pomp and circumstance with it, but this year was different.The Steelers have won 11 of the last 12 games and what was once the darling rivalry of the NFL, has become just another game on a 16 week schedule.

So, instead of matchups, the main topic of conversation at Mike Tomlin's weekly address to the media was about defensive end Aaron Smith.

On Sunday against the Lions, he was noticeably absent from the final defensive series in which the Steelers had three sacks. Asked about his situation, Tomlin has this to say.

"Aaron Smith has a right shoulder injury, one that is being evaluated right now," Tomlin said. "Potentially it could be significant. We'll deal with that situation as we get and of course you guys will get it from there."

If Smith is out for the game, then Tomlin says that that it will be by committee, although expect to see a lot of first round pick Ziggy Hood, who got significant action last week against the Lions.

"By no means is Ziggy Hood a potential replacement for Aaron Smith at this point," Tomlin said " It will probably be a committee of bodies trying to fill that void. The usual suspects. Travis Kirschke, Nick Eason and Ziggy Hood."

With or without Smith, there is still a football game to be played, and while the Browns have been absolutely pathetic this season, they are coming off their first win of the year, a 6-3 shellacking of the lowly Bills.

"Everybody is aware of the rivalry that we have with the Browns," Tomlin said. " Weve yet to secure a division win. That will be in the front of our minds as we prepare. Also, we acknowledge the Cleveland Browns organization has gone through some changes here of late. So weve got to be really sharp in terms of preparation."

The Browns had a quarterback controversy to start the season, when new coach Eric Mangini named Brady Quinn starter over incumbent Derek Anderson. After a loss to the Ravens Mangini put Anderson back in the slot and last week he had one of the lowest passer ratings by a QB to win an NFL game.

Asked about Anderson, Tomlin used the Bears Jay Cutler, who prior to the Steelers had a nightmare of a game too.

"This is a Pro Bowl guy, hes been to the Pro Bowl. Hes delivered for them before, hes a quality player," Tomlin said. " What he did last week is no indication or has no bearing on what hes going to potentially do this week. As a matter of fact, I know just the opposite. Usually guys of his caliber do bounce back and respond with favorable performances. So were anticipating him to be at his best."

He also talked about the Browns Shaun Rodgers and his ability to block kicks.

"Hes big, hes powerful, hes athletic. Every time we play that guy, we take attendance in the meeting and always get a collective total of NFL blocked kicks in a room, and hes got more than our team," Tomlin said. "Hes special in that way, and thats an element of the game that were going to pay close attention to as well. Its something that we do every time we face him, because we acknowledge that hes the best in the world at doing that."

Another aspect of the game Tomlin said he has concerns about is the abilty to get pressure on Anderson. Last week the Steelers had seven sacks, but in the Browns Tomlin says they have a viable line.

"You look at the left side of their offensive line, were really impressed with those guys," Tomlin said. " Joe Thomas at left tackle is a perennial Pro Bowl caliber player. Hes always had fierce battles and competitions with James Harrison. Thats going to be a premium matchup in the football game; One that were going to keep a close eye on. We desire to apply pressure on the quarterback and James [Harrison] has done that for us consistently. He faces a stiff challenge in Joe Thomas and beside him is [Eric] Steinbach."
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