Lolley: You've got to have a backup plan

I find it hard to believe that Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin would not have given more thought about who his backup long snapper would be if something happened to Greg Warren during a game.

I find it hard to believe that Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin would not have given more thought about who his backup long snapper would be if something happened to Greg Warren during a game.

That's especially true when you consider the countless hours this team has spent in the past year and a half working on special teams.

James Harrison was the guy because he volunteered?

That's how you end up losing a game 21-14 instead of winning 14-12.

I applaud Harrison for volunteering to snap. And, in fact, he did practice it some in training camp.

But if my job depended upon winning and losing on Sundays, I'd be pretty sure the guy who was going to be my backup long snapper actually could do it in game situations by getting him a couple of reps during a meaningless preseason game.

NFL teams play, at minimum, four preseason games every year. Are you telling me that you can't, in a game that's not going to count in the standings, get a guy a snap or two?

© While we're on the subject, what's wrong with teaching a center to at least be able to snap it 10 or 12 yards so you can get a punt off?

© The Steelers' run defense played out of its mind Sunday, limiting the Giants to 2.4 yards per carry.

That's less than half of the 5.7 yards per carry the Giants were averaging per carry coming into the game.

In fact, the Steelers shaved more than half a yard per carry off of the Giants' average.

Looking at the contenders in the AFC, there's little reason to believe that the Steelers won't be the conference's representative in the Super Bowl.

If the Steelers can take away the Giants' running game, they can certainly do the same to Tennessee.

And then you're asking Kerry Collins to beat you. Collins is no Eli Manning.

Who else is any good in the AFC?

Buffalo laid an egg in Miami. San Diego can't defend the pass. Ditto for Denver. And I'm not buying Matt Cassell beating anyone on the road in January, so the Patriots aren't going anywhere either.

Indianapolis could get back into the picture by beating Tennessee, but I wouldn't bet on that given the Colts' own problems stopping the run.

No, it's the Steelers and Titans and everyone else.

© Kudos to Tomlin for sticking to his guns and sitting Santonio Holmes, even though it may have cost his team a victory.

We'll never know for sure, but the guess here is that Holmes may have made a difference in the outcome of Sunday's game.

But sometimes, a coach has to send a message that certain things cannot be tolerated. Holmes made a stupid mistake. Tomlin made him pay for it.

His teammates wouldn't say anything bad about Holmes after the game, but you know they have to be ticked at him as well. And there's no greater form of punishment than making a guy look bad in the eyes of his teammates – unless, apparently, you are Plaxico Burress.

© We still don't know what caused Aaron Smith to miss practice all week, but suffice it to say that whatever it is, it's not good.

Several of the players teared up when talking about Smith showing up to play Sunday and that's never a good sign.

Smith is one of the leaders of this team for good reason. He's not only a good football player, he's a good person.

He's the kind of guy that even the media - trying to remain unbiased - can cheer for, a classic underdog who has made it.

My thoughts and prayers are with Smith.

© You just know that Smith inspired his teammates on that goal-line stand in the second quarter.

That was one of the greatest series I've ever seen a defense play.

The Giants needed a foot on fourth down and couldn't get it despite having what Tomlin had praised earlier in the week as being the best offensive line in football and a 265-pound running back that entered the game averaging 5.1 yards per carry.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.


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