Will Hurricane Sandy affect Steelers-Giants?

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Will Hurricane Sandy affect Steelers-Giants?

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.

New year, different circumstances, same approach for McDaniels

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New year, different circumstances, same approach for McDaniels

FOXBORO -- A year ago, the Patriots had a unique challenge: Fulfill Tom Brady’s desire to take every snap but also get Jimmy Garoppolo ready to run the team in Brady’s four-game absence.

This year, there’s no suspension looming. But Josh McDaniels still is tasked with getting Brady, Garoppolo and, yes, Jacoby Brissett ready for prime time.

“It’s the same every year for us,” said McDaniels a day before the first training camp practice. “We really didn’t change what we were doing in training camp last year.”

To quibble with the Pats successful offensive coordinator, there did appear to be a change, particularly with Brady’s usage during the preseason games. Perhaps the confluence of events in Brady’s personal life (mother’s illness) and that scissor mishap were driving forces, but bottom line is the program had to be altered. Still, the overall theme didn’t, and won’t again according to McDaniels.

“Everybody is going to get plenty of reps,” he said. “Fundamentals, techniques, all of the things that are basic to our success as we go through the course of the season, this is our opportunity to anchor those in our players so they’ll all three get plenty of reps . . . we’ll just let it play out.”

During OTAs and mini camp, Garoppolo spoke of competing to be the starter. Wishful thinking perhaps from the fourth-year pro, what with the GOAT firmly entrenched ahead of him on the depth chart, but it’s precisely that kind of attitude that is beneficial not only to the player but the entire roster.

“If you’re here, you’re responsible to try to push the people ahead of you so you can get out on the field and help us win,” said McDaneils. “I don’t think there’s a lot of deferring in any room, and that’s the great thing. That means we have a lot of competition and that’s the thing that makes everybody better. “

That competition started in the spring and will continue going forward to McDaniel’s satisfaction, or else. 

“They’ll be things I get mad at and will yell about,” he smiled.

Looking forward to it.

Quick Slants the Podcast: Behind the scenes stories on Belichick and the Patriots with Jerod Mayo

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Quick Slants the Podcast: Behind the scenes stories on Belichick and the Patriots with Jerod Mayo

Former Patriots defensive captain Jerod Mayo joins Tom E. Curran and Phill Perry to give a peak behind the curtain of the Patriots operation run by Bill Belichick.

Mayo talks about becoming a captain, how New England differs from other NFL franchises, what impact Belichick had on not only his career , but life, and how good the defense can be this season.