Level playing field: With a short week to prepare for this week’s game, having an opponent that you are familiar with can definitely be an advantage. This will be the second time the Steelers and Ravens face each other this year, but the advantage works for both teams.
“I really think the league does a good job of trying to make that a possibility in some of these Thursday games,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “It seems like there is a lot of familiarity in the opponents on Thursday night, oftentimes the second time that people play one another, the division opponents or people that have an extended recent history. That knowledge helps us in terms of our preparation, but it helps them in terms of their preparation. So from all of those standpoints, the playing field will be level.”
No decision yet: With
Steve McLendonalready ruled out for Thursday’s game, who gets the nod at nose tackle is still undetermined. Al Woodsstepped in for McLendon against the Browns, but Ziggy Hoodalso could be an option if Brett Keiselis healthy enough to start at end this week.
“In terms of making a decision of who will play for Steve, that hasn’t been done yet,” said Tomlin. “We haven’t come together yet. (Al’s) a potential selection but we’ll still have the discussion in an effort to put the very best people on the grass. It could be a myriad of people. I think we’ve got decent position flexibility with those guys. We’ll have the necessary discussion and look at all the possibilities in an effort to put our best combination of people on the field.”
Time to be thankful: This will mark the seventh time that the Steelers have played on Thanksgiving, and Tomlin knows how significant it is to be a part of that tradition.
“We are excited about playing on Thanksgiving and being a part of that,” said Tomlin. “Like a lot of people, I grew up in a household with Thanksgiving football engrained in the holiday, shared family experiences. It’s an honor to really be a part of that, entertain and pursue victory at the same time.”
- Out of this Worilds: Linebacker
Jason Worildscontinues to develop in his role at outside linebacker, and with LaMarr Woodleymissing the last two weeks his presence has not only been felt more on defense, but also has been needed.
“I think just as a competitor he recognizes the circumstance or situation where we’re thin at his position,” said Tomlin. “He’s doing what’s needed, which is being a solid veteran guy that’s been around here and understanding our culture and climate and knowing that he has to step up and provide consistent play for us. And he really has done that over the last several weeks, particularly since LaMarr has been down.”
Willing to do it all: Safety
Will Allenhas shown a willingness to do whatever is asked of him throughout his career, and this year that hasn’t changed. Since being re-signed by the Steelers on Oct. 10 he has done everything, from playing in the different defenses to covering kicks. The last two weeks Allen accounted for 12 tackles, 11 of them solo stops, an interception, pass defense, forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
“I’m not surprised by anything Will does,” said Tomlin. “He’s a low-maintenance guy. He’s a high-energy guy. He’s a team guy. He’s willing to do whatever. There are probably not many 10-year veterans that run down on kickoffs in the NFL. It’s something that he embraces. He’s a good teammate because of it.”