From Comcast SportsNetPITTSBURGH (AP) -- Mike Tomlin is too preoccupied with finding ways to stop Eli Manning to worry whether the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy will affect Sunday's game in New York against the defending Super Bowl champion Giants."I'm simply focused on the things that are in our control," the Pittsburgh Steelers coach said Tuesday.The weather not being among the items under Tomlin's domain. The massive storm brought record flooding and knocked out power to millions throughout the Northeast on Monday night, though even with the cleanup just getting under way the Steelers anticipate there being no changes to Sunday's scheduled 4:25 p.m. kickoff."We're going to proceed with the plans and continue to do so until we hear otherwise," Tomlin said.Pittsburgh's preparation will not include safety Troy Polamalu, who will miss his fourth straight game and sixth overall this season due to a strained right calf. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert will also sit out while recovering from a right ankle injury.The status of safety Ryan Clark and linebacker LaMarr Woodley is a bit more optimistic. Clark left last week's 27-12 win over Washington after sustaining a concussion in the third quarter while Woodley's right hamstring tightened up late in the game.Tomlin said Clark's status hasn't changed since Sunday but he will be monitored throughout the week before a decision is made. Woodley will be limited early in the week, as will Jonathan Dwyer.The third-year running back is coming off consecutive 100-yard performances but left the Washington game in the final minutes with a right quad injury. Dwyer will not practice on Wednesday but Tomlin expects Dwyer to participate at some point this week.Running backs Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) and Isaac Redman (ankle) have both missed the last two games, though there's a chance each could return in New York. Mendenhall will begin individual workouts on Wednesday while Redman should be in pads.Though the Steelers (4-3) have won two straight to climb back into the mix in the muddled AFC, Tomlin refuses to get ahead of himself, saying only his club is heading in the right direction.Pittsburgh certainly looked impressive while stomping the Redskins, hardly resembling the unit that stumbled in early season road losses to Oakland and Tennessee."Obviously, we didn't get off to a great start," he said. "The last couple of weeks, we've taken steps to rectify that."A couple of late defensive stops and Pittsburgh could be 6-1. They're not, and Tomlin is hardly in the mood to think about where the Steelers could be. He'd prefer to focus on where they are."We're 4-3," he said. "Not only offensively, but defensively and from the special teams standpoint. I'd like to think that we're a group on the rise and one that's gelling and coming together and solidifying a personality."While the Steelers have kept opponents in check, they're not exactly producing the kind of splash defensive plays that have defined coordinator Dick LeBeau's second tenure. Pittsburgh is next-to-last in the NFL in takeaways (seven) and is 24th in the league in sacks with 12.Still, they are second behind San Francisco in yards allowed (274.1), a byproduct of good tackling and an offense that tends to stay on the field for long stretches of time. The Steelers trail only Houston in time of possession, holding onto the ball more than 34 minutes a game."I've always said I'm at my best when I'm sitting on the bench," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "I've got no problem sitting there and watching the offense work."Besides, Pittsburgh believes the big plays will eventually come. Polamalu remains sidelined indefinitely but is expected to return at some point. Linebacker James Harrison continues to round into shape after lingering knee issues kept him out of the lineup for all of training camp and the first month of the season."He's getting better and this is a guy that had no preseason work in training camp and so forth," Tomlin said. "I think he's getting better with every snap."Notes: Tomlin said the team hasn't made a decision on how to proceed with rookie NT Alameda Ta'amu, who was reinstated to the team on Monday after serving a two-week suspension. Ta'amu still faces more than a dozen charges -- including several felonies -- following a run-in with police on Oct. 14. The team has until 4 p.m. Wednesday to make a roster move ... Tomlin called WR Antonio Brown's 15-yard taunting penalty during a punt return against the Redskins "not respectable." Brown ran the final 20 yards to the end zone backward while jawing at a Washington defender, though the play was called back due to an illegal block.
He was back at it Tuesday in an interview with CBS Radio's Damon Amendolara, in which he said the Falcons have the better quarterback heading into Super Bowl LI.
“We know they’re the better offense, and right now, you could say they got the better quarterback because they have the MVP of the league,” Scott said. Ryan is the favorite to win the NFL MVP, which will be announced the night before the Super Bowl at the "NFL Honors" show.
“Now that’s a debate, but Matt Ryan has earned the right for his name to be put up there with the upper-echelon quarterbacks," Scott said. "He’s always been elite in the regular season, but now he’s taken this show into the postseason and he’s won the hard battles against the elite quarterbacks and now you have to give him his due.”
More from Scott: “I can’t see the Patriots stopping this offense. So, that means that these receivers are going to have to [keep] pace. It’s all going to come down to what it always comes down to. It’s going to come down to who makes the turnovers, who gets up early and puts the pressure on the other team. Matt Ryan and that offense showed me a lot when they went behind [in the divisional round against the Seahawks]. Seattle came and busted them in the face, and [Atlanta] went right back down and answered immediately.
"The Patriots always find a way, but I think it makes it more close of a game than what people think.”
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while rooting for “Manchester By the Sea” to upset some favorites at the Oscars.
*Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews top the annual NHL coaches' poll produced by TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.
*The oral history of Fox’s glowing puck used for the NHL during their run with the league is an entertaining one.
*Mike Babcock gives pep talks to the reporters along with his own players while running the show in Toronto.
*The Vegas Golden Knights are moving forward with their timetable toward hiring a coach with some good candidates out there now, and some other ones potentially available soon. I’ve wondered if Claude Julien would be interested in that spot if he’s let go by the Bruins this season, but the one sure thing is that he wouldn’t be out of work long if he is relieved of his duties.
*Claude Giroux needs to start playing a little more fearlessly and without dwelling on mistakes, according to his general manager.
*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t believe that fancy stats and analytics have had a major impact on the way the Wings do things.
*PHT writer James O’Brien has the rundown on a Millenial’s dream of performers at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game: Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen.
*For something completely different: keeping an eye on the notion that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President.