This week's pregame notes will be short and sweet, just like the amount of time the national media spent on Tomlin and the Steelers' bandwagon after that loss to the Cardinals. Ok, let's do what we do!
- As you guys probably know by now, Ward will be out against Seattle. Hampton and Palomula are both game time decisions. Between Hampton and Troy, if both can play reasonably well with pain, I think the team might need the Big Snack more for this game. Troy's history hasn't been good when taking the field and he's less than 100 percent. Because of his religious beliefs, I think he will be hesitant to take the painkilling injections that are so common for other NFL players to play. And with cartilage separated from his rib cage, he'd probably need something. Remember, Troy is the person that thinks Gatorade is propaganda instead of water.
- This is a Big, Big game for the Steelers. Win this one, the Cards game is just a bump in the road against a fired up team. Lose this one, and the "elevator music" as Tomlin likes to say will get a whole lot louder. This week is when Tomlin really starts earning that paycheck.
- All of this talk that Tomlin was badly out-coached by Whiz and Grimm is ridiculous. Yeah, Tomlin sure was handed his lunch by Whiz when James Harrison dropped that interception on the first drive, when Nate couldn't connect on either of his bombs from Roethlisberger, when the OL made Arizona's front look like the Fearsome Foursome and when Big Ben had a brain lock and threw that INT in the end zone. Yep, his coaching should have prevented all of that from happening.
- That sigh of relief that you just heard in the background is from Cedric Wilson when he learned that Ward won't dress this week. Wilson has one more shot to prove that he belongs on the field before Wille Reid takes his roster spot on game days. Tomlin doesn't care about Wilson's veteran status or the fact that he made big catches in Denver two years ago on the Steelers march to the Super Bowl. He sees somebody now that can't get off press coverage, doesn't like contact and is having ZERO impact on games. He also sees in Willie Reid someone who is hungry for a shot.
- I'm not as worried about William Gay being on the field this week as I am Ricardo Coclough. Gay is young, but he looks like a baller. Coclough looks like someone who has one eye on the bus that is about to take him out of town. With McFadden's high ankle sprain, I don't think you will see him until November at the earliest.
- Steelers Nation, take a real good look at Seattle MLB Lofa Tatapu this weekend. This is what the Steelers coaching staff hope they will see from Lawrence Timmons beginning next year, a quick, but sturdy MLB that can be an impact player on all 3 downs. Tatapu and Julian Peterson are BOTH Ballers, and Ben will have to know where they are at all times. Hopefully, that won't be in the team's backfield, but with this OL, you never know.
- Speaking of someone who dropped the ball this past week, Bruce Arians has to get some get back from this past week. Admit it folks, you were deflated when you saw that the running game was bottled up and the Steelers still tried to run Willie anyway. What happened to the TE packages, the 3 WR packages or going to no-huddle to spread the field a little bit? That looked like 2006 all over again. Not good people, not good.
- I listened to ESPN analyst Merrill Hoge on the Junker and Crow radio show in Pittsburgh this week. He said something that no one in Pittsburgh wants to admit but is true - Willie Parker is not a good red zone or goal-line runner. Hoge said that Willie is good if he has a hole or crease, but he isn't the type of runner that can make his own hole in that situation or break tackles. I totally agree. I hope that Tomlin will quickly come to this conclusion and when inside of the five, use Davenport or my preferred package of Kreider at FB and C. Davis at RB and pound it.
- Blitzburgh made an excellent point earlier this week when he observed that Ben was giving no attention to his check downs. Considering the rush that he had, he should have been looking for that more instead of running around trying to make something happen. His OL did him no favors against the Cards, but he did the offense no favors by not taking what the defense gave him. It's a shame that they couldn't connect on some of the times Nate got behind his man because both of those plays should have been 7.
- This is what OLB James had to say this week about going up against Seattle LT Walter Jones, whom many consider the best LT in the business.
"He good on his feet and he's quick. Any lineman who's that good on his feet and is that quick, he's going to give you trouble."
- That being said, this is what else he had to say about Mr. Jones and it is why I think he's a big upgrade overall over Joey Porter.
"Anybody can be beat ... nobody's Superman. They run a lot of their plays behind him. It's going to be a challenge, I guess. But I'm up to it."
- Will we see Andre Frazier on special teams this week? If Tomlin is smart, he'll find a way to have him active. I don't know who sits. I really don't care as long as whoever is on the field can tackle and keep the returner from going 73 yards this week.
- Matt Spaeth, you only have 3 catches for 15 yards, but you look MARVELOUS in the eyes of Steelers fans this week. How about 2 catches for 10 yards and 2 more TDs on Sunday?
- Best Line of the Week comes from my man Dale Lolley of the Observer-Reporter newspaper in Pa. in his blog after the game. Lolley wrote:
"Ben Roethlisberger claims he didn't see (Cards SS Adrian) Wilson when he picked off a pass intended for Heath Miller from the 2. My only question is, did he see the other two guys?"
- This is another reason why you guys should read Lolley's blog at NFL From the Sidelines each week, especially after games:
"I overheard Roethlisberger talking to head coach Mike Tomlin in the locker room after the game, with the quarterback apologizing to the head coach for blowing it."
Tomlin's response: "Don't worry about it. We win as a team, we lose as a team."
- I feel the same about you, Steelers Nation. We ride together and we die together. Take care and be blessed.