Steelers' Past, Present, Future Merge

Working on a short work week, Mike Tomlin only touched on the bare essentials as the Steelers prepare for the Ravens.

On such a short week, before the Steelers play at Baltimore on Thanksgiving night, Mike Tomlin's press conference should be divided into three bullet points:

Injuries, review, preview.

And away we go.


Reserve cornerback Curtis Brown, who has a team-high six unassisted special-teams tackles, tore his left ACL against the Cleveland Browns and will miss the remainder of the season.

Shamarko Thomas, who's expected to return from an ankle injury, will likely take Brown's place as the gunner opposite Antwon Blake.

Starting nose tackle Steve McLendon will miss the Ravens game with a sprained right ankle. In his place will most likely be Al Woods, who had two sacks in Cleveland after replacing McLendon at the start of the second quarter.

"He's played in just about every football game, getting 10 to 12 snaps per game," Tomlin said. "Hopefully, he'll be ready for the extended action that comes with having an opportunity to step up. In terms of making a decision of who will play for Steve, that hasn't been done yet. We haven't come together yet. Obviously, he's an obvious potential selection but we'll still have the discussion in an effort the put the very best people on the grass."

Tomlin also mentioned Ziggy Hood as being "inside capable," and the Steelers had reserve NT Loni Fangupo active in Cleveland.

The Steelers should also get DE Brett Keisel and OLB LaMarr Woodley back for Thursday's game. Reserve ILB Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring) will be limited in Tuesday's practice.


As he often does after wins, Tomlin commended all three aspects of his team for their contribution.

On his offense in Cleveland, Tomlin said, "I thought we were able to mix in the run and pass and have success with both. I thought that aided us in keeping our quarterback clean and protection of the football. We were pretty solid in situational football in the red area. We had a few chunks of a couple of big plays that aid you in terms of execution. Big plays eliminate a lot of execution. That big pass to Antonio Brown in the latter part of the second quarter was significant for us."

On his defense, "We were able to stop the run. It put us in position to apply pressure to their quarterbacks. In doing so, we were able to create some turnovers and big plays, and actually score."

Per special teams, Tomlin took delight in the 47-yard field goal into the wind that Shaun Suisham intentionally kicked far right and watched the wind blow it through the uprights. The Cleveland kicker missed a 46-yard field goal attempt at the same end.

"For him to bang that 47-yarder under those circumstances to get us off to a positive start, I thought it was significant and shouldn't be overlooked," Tomlin said.


The 5-6 Ravens have "evolved over the last month since we played them," Tomlin said of the Steelers' 19-16 win on Oct. 20. That evolution includes:

* Tight ends -- Ed Dickson had a really big game yesterday," Tomlin said of a 3 for 55 performance. "Dallas Clark is being utilized in some situational football, third-downs. He's done it at a high level for a long time. Dennis Pitta may have an opportunity to participate in this game."

* Running backs -- "Ray Rice has had a couple of pretty big games since the last time we saw him. Obviously, they are still supplemeting him with Bernard Pierce, who is a solid runner in his own right."

* Wide receivers -- "Brandon Stokely is a part of the mix now. You will see him in some sub-package, working in conjunction with Clark. Those guys have an awesome relationship."

* Offensive line -- "A.Q. Shipley is now in the starting lineup (at left guard). Kelechi Osemele is out for the year."

* Defense -- Tomlin praised the continuing play of Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Haloti Ngata and Daryl Smith, and added that the other inside linebacker, Jameel McClain, is back and healthy.

"(Jimmy Smith) and Lardarius Webb are a formidable tandem," Tomlin said of the Ravens' cornerbacks. "They are going to be big business for Antonio and Emmanuel Sanders."

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