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fordfixer
09-18-2008, 02:28 AM
Steelers prepare for Eagles' offense

By Mike Bires, Times Sports Staff
Published: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 12:11 AM EDT
http://www.timesonline.com/articles/200 ... 563683.txt (http://www.timesonline.com/articles/2008/09/17/sports/steelers/doc48d0835688380336563683.txt)

PITTSBURGH — Typically, Mike Tomlin doesn’t have time to enjoy Monday Night Football. He’s too busy preparing for the next game on the Steelers’ schedule.

But this week, the second-year head coach changed his routine.

“Most of the time, I have the Monday night game on mute in my office while I am watching tape,” he said. “But I didn’t have it on mute (on Monday) night.”

Tomlin watched intently as the Cowboys outscored the Eagles 41-37 on MNF. After all, the Steelers play both those teams this season.

The first of the Steelers’ four games against NFC East opponents kicks off at 4:15 p.m. Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

“You respect that team and you respect those fans because of the passion they have,” Tomlin said of the test the 2-0 Steelers face this week. “It creates a challenging situation, one that I hope we are ready for, but one that is also very exciting. I like going to Philly. It’s a tough place.”

Historically, the Steelers have had it rough in the City of Brotherly Love. Since 1933, the Steelers have played 35 games there and won only eight of them.

In their last seven trips to Philadelphia, the Steelers are 0-7. They haven’t won there since 1965. And the early line this week lists the Steelers as three-point underdogs.

“We have to go on the road again into another hostile environment in Philadelphia,” Tomlin said. “If you watched a little bit of television (Monday) night, you see what the guy in the center is capable of. It starts with him when you talk about Philadelphia.”

The guy in the center is quarterback Donovan McNabb, a 10th-year pro who has played in five Pro Bowls. After two games, McNabb ranks second in the NFL with 642 passing yards and sixth with a 114.1 passer rating.

McNabb’s supporting cast includes running back Brian Westbrook, who leads the league with five touchdowns, and rookie wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who’s only the second player in NFL history with more than 100 receiving yards in each of his first two games.

“He’s a splash play waiting to happen,” Tomlin said of Jackson.

In their first two games, the Eagles had been explosive offensively, first against the hapless St. Louis Rams (0-2) and then against the talent-laden Cowboys (2-0). The Eagles rank third in the NFL in total offense, first in passing yards and second in scoring at 37.5 points per game.

“Needless to say, we are ready to roll our sleeves up and get back to work,” Tomlin said. “We need to, because we have some tough challenges that lie ahead in the eastern part of this state.”