Stop for a moment. Listen. Ahhh, the sound of silence from those erstwhile political ads. As a friend points out, however, they will now be replaced with toy commercials for Christmas.
--- Here is a good, analytical look at Mike Tomlin’s coaching decisions from Sunday and the percentage from past choices on their success vs. failure. Perhaps a good site to bookmark.
--- One more reminder about these Sports Illustrated player polls that are repeated so often. I’ve done work for them through the years and they ask me annually to poll Steelers for this during training camp. I decline for many reasons, not the least of which it’s just too much work and I don’t have that kind of time. One year, they sent an intern from New York to ask these questions. She was asking rookie free agents and anyone else she could grab, many players who had not been in the league and who never would. So, think about that when they come out with their results of dirtiest player, most overrated coach, etc. Plus, the sample is way too small because other writers take a similar approach as I do and decline to conduct the poll.
--- A look at how Steelers fans show up everywhere.
--- More on throwback uniforms.
Onto some your questions:
YOU: I was as worried as everyone else about our dramatically-changed defensive squad after saying goodbye to so very many Pro-Bowlers and great teammates in James Farrior, Aaron Smith, Chris Hoke and even Will Gay but the defense we have now seems to be starting to come together so well that it is becoming formidable even w/o Troy. Does Polamalu's eventual return stand to make our defense as dangerous as our SB squads?
--- ME: Even without Polamalu, they have gotten the job done the past three weeks and stand No. 1 in fewest yards against. I will note that they also are No. 2 in time holding the ball on offense so that helps in those yards against rankings.
--- YOU: If Foster is playing so well at G, what do they do with DeCastro when/if he comes back? If they sit David D the rest of the year, is Foster the incumbent in next year’s training camp or is DeCastro given the starting nod? Ticklish situation?
ME: David DeCastro was so dominant by the time he was injured, that they are not going to put him on the bench if he remains that way. These things always seem to work themselves out but think about what you are asking and where the line was the past few years. It has to be a nice and different problem for them.
--- YOU: Keenan Lewis can obviously cover and play and so can Ike. Given that, do you see us playing more press man coverage moving forward? It seems like many of the times we have done it, it works pretty well (remember the last Patriot’s game?).
ME: Dick LeBeau has never been a fan of that coverage here, so I don’t see it other than on occasion.
--- YOU: if dwyer and redmen are healthy, do you think one back gets the load or do we go rb by committee?
ME: I believe one will get most of the carries with the other spelling him on occasion. You may have seen Max Starks talk about the benefits of sticking with one back in yesterday’s PG. You’d have to think they’ve talked about that and he’s not the only one who feels that way.
--- YOU: assuming the running backs who aren’t named Mendenhall continue to play at their current level or higher, is there anyway you can see them keeping Mendenhall, especially with his apparent penchant for getting injured?
ME: No, and I’ve said and written that all year, back to the spring. Mendenhall’s contract is up, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent and they are not going to pay him. The other two, by the way, will be restricted free agents.
--- YOU: Will the Steelers delay Troy's return until they are sure he is 100%? It seems like he has re-injured him self in previous years when he returned to the lineup.
ME: They will not put him out there until he’s ready. I don’t know what went into the thinking the last time, but that injury was not as serious as this one.
--- YOU: The Steelers have four WR's on the depth chart and usually dress all four. With AB out, do you see them bringing someone in (perhaps from the practice squad) to serve as the fourth WR this week?
ME: It’s possible but they also must cut someone to do that. Every time you do that, you risk someone else picking him up. However, when you make that move on Saturday, teams rarely will add a player to their 53-man roster the day before the game. And this week, they can do it on Sunday.
--- YOU: We just wanted to know about this injury epidemic. Can you give us better info on these injuries rather than letting us less knowledgeable drawing our own conclusions..
ME: It’s a tough sport, people get injured but the Steelers seem to be getting more injured more often than I’ve seen from other teams and even from them in awhile. Having said that, I have a business management degree and have worked in sports journalism ever since. I know little about physiology and have no idea why this has happened, or if there even is an answer anywhere.
--- YOU: Regarding the calls against Ryan Clark, et al…..it would be sweet to see officials fined for blown calls....the calls against the Steelers were deplorable. It’s really bad when the broadcasters unanimously condemned the calls on air. At the least, it’s about time that the NFL publicly apologizes to the Steelers for the calls.
ME: That won’t happen.
--- YOU: Was it the same official who called Clark for the head shot and missed Miller being clipped?
ME: I did not track it.
--- YOU: After Sunday's showing by our Steelers' offense only one who sees our O-line playing with dominant force the last few games? Willie Colon's transition to OG seems like an inspired position change, with Colon far more effective playing a position much better-suited to his body type and aggresive nature. Also, is Mike Adams heading in the direction of draft-day steal the team hoped he would?
ME: Adams has looked very good in the ground game. However, he was beaten for two sacks Sunday night. Colon’s move to guard seems truly inspired, a move they may have waited much to long to make.
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