In spite of comments, Holmes not bitter

Steelers Sunday Notebook items include Polamalu update, Woodley's homestretch, and covering Pouncey off the line.

PITTSBURGH – Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes told New York reporters that he expects a standing ovation in his return to Heinz Field today, but that the cheers will turn to boos once he starts beating the Steelers' defense.

"It won't be pretty for them," Holmes said.

He also said: "It's definitely time to show these guys."

Holmes apparently wants blood, but that's not how one of his best friends, Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, sees it.

"It'll be a good matchup, but I don't think it'll be wild. I don't think he's ever been bitter about the situation," said Taylor, who was with Holmes when he got the call from the Steelers that he'd been traded.

"He was hurt. I was hurt," Taylor said. "But I don't think he ever got bitter. He's prideful. But I would say he was more shocked than bitter about it, particularly after he was the Super Bowl MVP and the season he had the year after. Just knowing him personally and the way he works, he's a good dude."

INJURY REPORT

Polamalu is listed as doubtful today after aggravating his lower-leg injury during his interception return for a touchdown against the Bengals. Reports are circulating that Polamalu could miss the final three games of the regular season with a "strained Achilles' tendon."

However, Polamalu has said that it's not the Achilles' tendon, but a muscle near it.

Regardless, Polamalu was limping noticeably this week and could use the rest. And the more the Steelers win, the more Polamalu will be able to rest.

Steelers tight end Heath Miller (concussion) is questionable, while reserve NT Steve McLendon and DE Aaron Smith are out.

Ruled out by the Jets are reserve DE Trevor Pryce (hip), starting SS Eric Smith (concussion), and starting RT Damien Woody.

Smith, a replacement the last two weeks for the IR'd Jim Leonhard, will be replaced by either James Ihedigbo -- listed as questionable with ankle and knee injuries -- or CB Dwight Lowery, who was moved to SS this week in practice. Replacing Woody will be 7-year vet Wayne Hunter.

DOWN THE STRETCH HE COMES

For the last couple of weeks, James Farrior has been telling his linebacker-mate and locker-room neighbor LaMarr Woodley that "It's about time to get going. We're waiting on you, man."

And last week, Woodley responded with two sacks and an interception return for a touchdown. The sacks give him 8.5 for the season and Farrior and the Steelers hope it's an indication Woodley's about to make his annual end-of-season run.

"He definitely gets better as the season goes on," Farrior said.

"That's not necessarily true," said Woodley. "My first year (as a starter) I started off fast and then I had a slump at the end of the year and picked it up in the playoffs. Last year I started off slow and picked it up at the end."

Woodley has finished his three seasons with: 7.5 sacks in his final five games in 2009; 6 sacks in his final three games in 2008; and 3 sacks in his final two games in 2007.

"Well, you're counting playoff games," Woodley said. "Everything is on the line then. Maybe there's a different mentality when I get to the playoffs."

Woodley has 8 sacks in four career playoff games.

DIFFERING APPROACHES

The two different head coaches handled differently the questions by reporters pertaining to game plans.

When Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was asked how he'll stop Jets QB Mark Sanchez, Tomlin said, "You guys kill me with these questions," and he laughed derisively.

Jets Rex Ryan was more easygoing when asked which Steelers receiver he'll have All-Pro CB Darrelle Revis cover.

"We change it up," said Ryan. "I'll probably put him on Pouncey this week."

Maurkice Pouncey, of course, is the Steelers' center.

SPEAKING OF WHICH …

The follow-up to Ryan was naturally a question about Pouncey, the Steelers' first-round draft pick.

"I really liked him," Ryan said. "That is a guy we would have taken if he would have been there, regardless of need or not. We've got the best center in football but we still would have taken him. He's a great player. We would have put him at guard or somewhere. I think you have two of the best centers in the league going at it. I'd take (Nick) Mangold probably right now over him but this kid is a great football player. The thing that I thought was the funniest thing, the Buffalo game, some number fifty from Buffalo decides he is going to be a tough guy at the end of the play. I don't know if you guys saw this, but he is going to push Pouncey. So he goes to shove Pouncey and Pouncey gets his hands inside and literally lifted the guy off the ground and pushed him to his back and it was great. I was like, oh man, because you never see that. But this guy thought he was going to be tough after the play and really push and shove Pouncey and Pouncey lifted him right off the ground."

Pouncey was plenty active in that regard last week. In the end-of-game scuffle between the Steelers and Bengals, Pouncey was clearly the angriest and most active Steeler.

"The game was over," Pouncey said. "The ball went out of bounds. [Brandon Johnson] hit somebody like that? I saw it. I was standing right there. That could've ended somebody's career doing something that stupid. You can't do that."

Wasn't Pouncey exhausted after the game?

"I don't know," he said. "That was a teammate, man. You can pull out anything for a teammate."


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