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fordfixer
12-26-2010, 01:34 AM
Pittsburgh Steelers Vs Cleveland Browns: Las Vegas Line & Pick Against the Spread
Home Field on Line for Pittsburgh Steelers Against the Cleveland Browns
Todd Jacobs
http://www.associatedcontent.com/articl ... tml?cat=14 (http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/6143210/pittsburgh_steelers_vs_cleveland_browns_pg2.html?c at=14)
Dec 25, 2010


The Pittsburgh Steelers head to frigid Cleveland to take on the Cleveland Browns in a game that could have home field implications for the Pittsburgh Steelers

January 2nd. The Cleveland Browns showed signs of life in the first half of the season and now they are limping to the finish line. The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to enter the NFL Playoffs on a high note by beating their NFC North rivals.

Pittsburgh Steelers Offense vs Cleveland Browns Defense

Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers offense have not been setting the NFL on fire this season but they have done their best to keep up with their potent defense. The running game for the Pittsburgh Steelers has come alive in recent weeks and Rashard Mendenhall is a major factor.

Mike Wallace has stepped in to replace Santonio Holmes this season in the Pittsburgh Steelers offense but their old veteran possession receiver, Hines Ward is still a favorite of Ben Roethlisberger. The passing offense is only averaging 213 yards per game and they will need to establish themselves in this game to set the tone for the NFL Playoffs.

The Cleveland Browns defense has been solid all season long and they have not received credit this season among many NFL pundits. They are giving up 129 yards on the ground which is below average but they have improved throughout the NFL season. The Cleveland Browns secondary has been strong this season. They have only allowed 222 yards per game through the air by opposing quarterbacks. The Pittsburgh Steelers offense and the Cleveland Browns defense are even and neither has the edge in this game.

Pittsburgh Steelers Defense vs Cleveland Browns Offense

Defense is the reason the Pittsburgh Steelers are a competitive team and Troy Polamalu has been a major reason for their success. With Polamalu out the Pittsburgh Steelers defense has lost it's edge and if he is not in this game against the Cleveland Browns consider this a serious calculation when betting this game.
There are plenty of defensive weapons on the Pittsburgh Steelers but without Polamalu they are not as effective. Aaron Smith's loss is also felt on this defense up front but they have managed to step it up

on the front line. Defense against the run is going to play big in this game with Peyton Hillis on the Cleveland Browns offense but there may be some issues with his durability.

The Cleveland Browns offense revolves around Peyton Hillis and the running game of late and this may be a partial reason for their recent decline. Hillis has been wearing down over the last few games and as the NFL season reaches it's conclusion Hillis is limping to the finish line along with his team. The Pittsburgh Steelers defense has the edge over the Cleveland Browns offense.

Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5 vs Cleveland Browns: Pick Against the Spread & Breakdown

The Las Vegas Hilton Superbook has made the Pittsburgh Steelers a three and a half point favorite over the Cleveland Browns. The Pittsburgh Steelers are 9-6 against the spread overall entering this game against the Cleveland Browns and they are 4-3 against the spread on the road. The Cleveland Browns play their second consecutive home game and they will finish the season with a losing record against the spread at home. Take the Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5 points over the Cleveland Browns.

papillon
12-26-2010, 10:28 AM
On a neutral filed this game is a pickem? :shock:

Pappy

fordfixer
12-27-2010, 01:22 AM
Cleveland game means more to Steelers
By Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Sunday, December 26, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 15493.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_715493.html)

The Steelers have plenty to play for next weekend.

With the Baltimore Ravens' 20-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns today, the Steelers (11-4) travel to Cleveland knowing they need to beat the Browns (5-10) to secure the AFC North division and the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs.

Even with a loss, the Steelers could win the division and a first-round bye if the Ravens (11-4) lose at home to the Cincinnati Bengals (4-11).

The Steelers could drop to the sixth seed and open the playoffs on the road with a loss to Cleveland and victories by the Ravens and New York Jets. The Jets play the Buffalo Bills (4-11).

The Bengals knocked San Diego out of the playoff picture today with their 34-20 victory over the Chargers. Cincinnati has won two consecutive games after starting the season 2-11.

The Ravens can finish the season no worse than the AFC's fifth seed.

The New England Patriots (13-2) wrapped up the top seed in the AFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with their 34-3 win at Buffalo. The Kansas City Chiefs (10-5) won the AFC West when the Chargers lost.

The AFC South will be decided next weekend, too. Indianapolis (9-6) wins the division with a victory over the Tennessee Titans. Jacksonville (8-7) takes the division with a win over Oakland and a Colts loss.

hawaiiansteel
12-27-2010, 01:51 AM
On a neutral filed this game is a pickem? :shock:

Pappy


I don't believe it would be a pickem game, if we are giving -3.5 @ the Browns we should be giving a few points more on a neutral field.

ikestops85
12-27-2010, 12:24 PM
On a neutral filed this game is a pickem? :shock:

Pappy

Home field is generally worth 3 points so on a neutral field this would be a 6.5 point spread with the Steelers as favorites.

fordfixer
12-28-2010, 02:13 AM
On the Steelers: Browns game means everything
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10362/1113868-66.stm

The Steelers already have clinched a playoff berth, but for them, the road to the Super Bowl goes through ... Cleveland?

Yes, Cleveland, which is again on the outside watching others fight or prepare for their playoff berths for the seventh consecutive season. Cleveland, which finished last in the division six of the past seven seasons. Cleveland, on the verge of a possible coaching change for the fourth time in the past seven years.

It's that same Cleveland, which knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs last season with a stunning 13-6 upset victory at home.

"We went up there and laid an egg," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel recalls of that bitterly cold, windy December Thursday night in Cleveland. "We're not trying to do that again."

The stakes are more vital this time.

The difference between winning and losing in Cleveland for the Steelers may be the difference between having a clear path to the AFC championship game and having little chance of coming near it.

The game Sunday in Cleveland means everything. To put it in simple terms, here is the difference for the Steelers between beating the Browns and earning the No. 2 seed in the conference and losing and having to go on the road as a wild-card playoff team:

A win -- The Steelers have off Jan. 8/9 and open play at home Jan. 15/16 for the right to advance to the AFC championship game, which also could be at home if New England loses.

A loss -- The Steelers would make plans for a road trip Jan. 8/9 probably at Kansas City, for the right to play on the road again Jan. 15/16 at New England, for the right to advance to the AFC championship game on the road.

See?

It's not just the extra week's rest they would earn with the bye, but the free pass into the next round and a guaranteed home game.

"It's huge for us," said Casey Hampton. "We definitely need it. If you get a bye, it gets you closer to the Super Bowl. You only have to win two games instead of three. Anything can happen in the playoffs so you want to play as least games as possible trying to get there."

The week's rest and extra time to heal -- and to avoid further injury by playing an extra playoff game -- also are important.

"It's big, it's big," Keisel said. "Some time off, that's what we're fighting for, to get that bye. We have one more game to do it and the ball's in our hands."

There has been no word yet on whether Troy Polamalu, who has missed the past two games with an injury around his Achilles tendon, will play in Cleveland; defensive captain James Farrior said Monday "It doesn't look good, but you never know." If he does not and the Steelers win, Polamalu will have had a month off before he will have played.

"We have a lot of key guys banged up," said Bryant McFadden, himself one of them with a lingering issue with a hamstring. "That gives us an extra week of just practicing and you don't have to worry about going into a four-quarter ballgame on that Sunday. And you get a chance to get guys feeling a lot better for next week."

The Steelers, of course, have gone the wild-card route successfully. In 2005, they became the first team to win three playoff games on the road and then win a Super Bowl. That the New York Giants turned the same trick two years later does not make that route in vogue.

"Not too many teams get a chance to go the way we did," said McFadden, also part of that 2005 Super Bowl team. "We needed our last four games to win just to get in. We used that as a rhythm and continued to play good football and get to that Super Bowl -- '08 was a different route."

The Steelers had the No. 2 seed in '08 and played two games to reach the Super Bowl at home after top-seed Tennessee was upset.

If the Steelers have to go the wild-card route this time, not only would it be a psychological and physical blow to them, but they won't be entering the playoffs on a roll as they did in '05. They will go having lost two of their final three, including their last one to Cleveland.

"We want to clinch the second seed and our division," LaMarr Woodley said. "We have to take care of Cleveland. Last year, when we played Cleveland down there, they took care of business on us. We have to make sure that doesn't happen this year."
Lingering effects?

The Steelers' loss in Cleveland last December was the coup de grace to their playoff chances, their fifth consecutive loss, and a defeat to a two-win team. The Steelers never had a lead in that 13-6 debacle and were outgained on the ground, in the air and in the return department. The Browns sacked Ben Roethlisberger eight times.

There was nothing redeemable about that game for the Steelers last season, but maybe it will have some effect on this one.

"I don't think it'll play into this game coming up we have next week with them," linebacker James Farrior said. "We know they'll come up with their best. We know they're going to try to knock us out or knock us down. That's what a division rivalry is all about and they're definitely a rivalry. So, we're going to go in there with the same mind-set they are."

That rivalry? The Steelers had won eight in a row in Cleveland and 12 in a row overall against the Browns before that upset loss. Their 28-10 victory Oct. 17 in Heinz Field gave the Steelers 13 wins in their past 14 games against the Browns and 20 in the past 23 games against them.


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10362/11 ... z19NsetyzF (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10362/1113868-66.stm#ixzz19NsetyzF)

AzStillers1989
12-28-2010, 03:23 PM
LETS GO STEELERS!!!!!! :Steel :tt1 :tt2

fordfixer
12-29-2010, 02:36 AM
On the Steelers: Few, if any, signs of rivalry
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10363/1114033-66.stm

Mike Tomlin tried. He tried real hard Tuesday to push two points at his weekly news conference.

Point one, he talked about the 2010 Cleveland Browns as if they were the 1964 Browns, the last major Cleveland sports team to win a championship.

Point two, he continued to portray Browns-Steelers as a "rivalry."

The 2010 Browns lug a 5-10 record and three-game losing streak into their final game of the season Sunday against the Steelers in Cleveland. And they represent a little more of a rivalry for the Steelers than the Carolina Panthers.

"We're excited about the opportunity to end our season against an AFC North team in the Cleveland Browns, one that we respect," Tomlin said. "We understand what's at stake here. What better way to have to go about winning the division than to go on the road and have to do it in a rival's home."

Give Tomlin credit for trying to turn lemons into lemonade. There is plenty at stake here for his team, the difference between a No. 2 seed and a bye into the second week of the playoffs vs. the No. 6 seed and a road you wouldn't want to drive. He did his best Tuesday to make the Browns sound like the New England Patriots.

The Browns can beat the Steelers. They beat them last December, essentially providing the final blow to their playoff chances. They also own a victory against the Patriots back on Nov. 7, stunning as it was.

A Cleveland upset is not out of the question, and that's what needs to happen more often before this again approaches rivalry status. There was no fiercer rivalry in the NFL from the 1950s through the mid-1990s than Browns-Steelers. But when the Browns moved to Baltimore in '96, the rivalry went south with them and, perhaps, the best rivalry in the NFL since then has been Steelers-Ravens.

"We have a rivalry vs. the Ravens, vs. the Bengals, and the Browns as far as I'm concerned," Tomlin insisted. "That's the nature of AFC North football. Their perceptions of the rivalry I can't control."

But, if playing a team more often than others is considered a rivalry, then the Harlem Globetrotters have one with the Washington Generals; Steelers-Browns results have been similar since Cleveland rejoined the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1999.

The Steelers have won 13 of their past 14 games against the Browns, 19 of the past 21, including one playoff victory (2002) -- the only time the New Browns have made the playoffs.

But there is that close proximity, a two-hour bus ride from Pittsburgh.

"Anytime in the National Football League you're getting on the bus to go play a game, man, that's a pretty heated rivalry," Tomlin actually said.

Maybe he meant the bus was pretty heated, not the rivalry.

"Not many bus trips in the National Football League," Tomlin continued. "Just from proximity's standpoint, it's unique. History is what it is: two storied franchises, the fans. I think the close proximity and history makes it what it is."

What it is, what it has been stretching back to the previous century, is a cakewalk more than a rivalry. Even when the Old Browns were good, the Steelers mowed them down. Before they moved to Baltimore, the Browns lost six consecutive games to the Steelers, including three times in 1994, the third one a playoff game at Three Rivers Stadium. Counting those, the Steelers have won 26 of their past 30 games against the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns would love nothing better than to turn that into 26 of 31 by pulling their second consecutive upset of the Steelers in a December game at home that meant little else to them but ruins the season for their "rivals."

"We have to go into an AFC North city and do the job, and I'm sure they're not for us doing it, so it's going to make it interesting and exciting,'' said Tomlin.
Polamalu decision Friday

Troy Polamalu, who has missed the past two games with an Achilles-related injury, will not practice until Friday, and that is when Tomlin will determine if he will return to play Sunday.

"We're going to look at him and watch him move here a little bit this week," Tomlin said. "It's not out of the realm of possibility that he could play this weekend, and, if he's healthy, he will."

Halfback Mewelde Moore has a sprained knee, and Tomlin described him as questionable for Sunday.

If he cannot play, rookie Jonathan Dwyer could suit up for his first game.

Tomlin listed two defensive starters who might be limited in practice early but whom he expects to play -- cornerback Bryant McFadden (hip pointer) and linebacker LaMarr Woodley (swollen left knee). Rookie linebacker Jason Worilds (swollen knee) also may be limited in practice and is unlikely to play.

Defensive end Aaron Smith, who has not played since his triceps were torn Oct. 24, "is healing nicely."

"Again, he's pushing and lifting weights and so forth and is inching closer to practice participation, and, of course, hopefully game participation, here at some point," Tomlin said.


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10363/11 ... z19Tp4mvlf (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10363/1114033-66.stm#ixzz19Tp4mvlf)

fordfixer
12-29-2010, 02:43 AM
Week 17 matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
PUBLISHED Tuesday, Dec 28, 2010 at 6:36 pm EST
SN Icon Sporting News


Read more: http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2 ... z19Tr26pkv (http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2010-12-28/week-17-matchup-pittsburgh-steelers-at-cleveland-browns#ixzz19Tr26pkv)



1. Rivalry game. For Browns fans, this is the biggest home game of the season. President Mike Holmgren has inspired hope that the Browns, though lost for another year, are going somewhere. The attitude has spread among the players. The one thing players hear from fans all year long: ďIf you do nothing else this year, beat Pittsburgh.Ē

2. Personnel. One reason the Steelers keep landing in the playoffs is obtaining the right people and keeping them. The Steelers have won 13 of the past 14 against the Browns in which Troy Polamalu, Casey Hampton, Hines Ward and Ben Roethlisberger have been constants. The faces of the Browns are Colt McCoy and Peyton Hillis on offense and Joe Haden and T.J. Ward in defense. All are first-year Browns.
Three story lines to watch

3. Eric Mangini. Mangini saved his job last December by beating the Steelers and ending the Brownsí 12-game losing streak to Pittsburgh. Before that game, the Browns were 1-11. Beating Pittsburgh triggered a 4-0 finish. One year later it appears Manginiís only hope to stay is to beat Pittsburgh again, and even then he might not hang on. A loss to Pittsburgh would give Mangini an 0-4 finish.
Three key Steelers

1. WR Mike Wallace. Wallace caught three passes for 90 yards in the first meeting, and his speed poses a threat to any Browns cornerback not named Joe Haden. He becomes more dangerous when Roethlisberger begins to scramble and look downfield.

2. OLB James Harrison. Harrison has the power to force left tackle Joe Thomas be perfect to avoid being driven backward and the quickness to abuse aging right tackle John St. Clair. He and LaMarr Woodley wreaked havoc in the first meeting, both sacking McCoy twice.

3. S Will Allen. Allen might fill in for Polamalu (Achillesí injury) for a second straight week. Allen is an adequate replacement. The Browns havenít won a game in which Polamalu played since his rookie year (2003). McCoyís life gets a whole lot easier if he faces Allen instead of Polamalu.
Three key Browns

1. C Alex Mack. Mackís strong second season has been wasted on a team going nowhere. Mack has the size, strength and quickness to contend with Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton. Look for Mack to hold his own.

2. TE Ben Watson. Watson has the speed to abuse linebackers and the skill to evade safeties and find seams in zones. One of the highlights of his career year was a six-catch, 88-yard game at Pittsburgh. He has had to work with three quarterbacks but quickly adapted when McCoy returned from an injury with a seven-catch, 92-yard game at Cincinnati on Dec. 19. Itís a given Watson will be a focal point when the Browns are in a two-minute offense.

3. CB Sheldon Brown. At 31, Brown remains competitive and competent, but he has lost a step and is susceptible to giving up big plays. If the Steelers can isolate Mike Wallace in man coverage against Brown, itís a safe bet Roethlisberger will take some shots there. If Haden locks on Wallace, the Browns like their chances, in which case Brown could have some interesting battles with Hines Ward.
The bottom line

The Browns are playing for their careers, each other and Mangini; the Steelers are focused on high stakes. A win gets them a first-round bye and a home game in the second round. Unless the Browns draw on some hidden reserve in support of Mangini, they have little chance in this game, and neither does he to keep his job afterward. Prediction: Steelers 24, Browns 17.


Read more: http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2 ... z19Tqqua3B (http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2010-12-28/week-17-matchup-pittsburgh-steelers-at-cleveland-browns#ixzz19Tqqua3B)

NorthCoast
12-29-2010, 09:44 AM
Sorry not buying "the Browns have little chance in this one". We said the same thing last December. As the one article noted, the Cleveland defense is playing pretty well right now and combine that with the Steelers anemic scoring offense, this sets up to be another close one. McCoy will take shots down the field in this one, since he has nothing to lose. If Troy was back there, it would be no problem. With Allen, not sure he can make the plays we will need. It could be a Suisham FG at the wire...

ikestops85
12-29-2010, 10:31 AM
Did Will Allen play for Troy last week? I thought it was Ryan Mundy. I don't remember seeing Allen on the field.

Oviedo
12-29-2010, 10:42 AM
On the Steelers: Few, if any, signs of rivalry
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10363/1114033-66.stm

Mike Tomlin tried. He tried real hard Tuesday to push two points at his weekly news conference.

Point one, he talked about the 2010 Cleveland Browns as if they were the 1964 Browns, the last major Cleveland sports team to win a championship.

Point two, he continued to portray Browns-Steelers as a "rivalry."

The 2010 Browns lug a 5-10 record and three-game losing streak into their final game of the season Sunday against the Steelers in Cleveland. And they represent a little more of a rivalry for the Steelers than the Carolina Panthers.

"We're excited about the opportunity to end our season against an AFC North team in the Cleveland Browns, one that we respect," Tomlin said. "We understand what's at stake here. What better way to have to go about winning the division than to go on the road and have to do it in a rival's home."

Give Tomlin credit for trying to turn lemons into lemonade. There is plenty at stake here for his team, the difference between a No. 2 seed and a bye into the second week of the playoffs vs. the No. 6 seed and a road you wouldn't want to drive. He did his best Tuesday to make the Browns sound like the New England Patriots.

The Browns can beat the Steelers. They beat them last December, essentially providing the final blow to their playoff chances. They also own a victory against the Patriots back on Nov. 7, stunning as it was.

A Cleveland upset is not out of the question, and that's what needs to happen more often before this again approaches rivalry status. There was no fiercer rivalry in the NFL from the 1950s through the mid-1990s than Browns-Steelers. But when the Browns moved to Baltimore in '96, the rivalry went south with them and, perhaps, the best rivalry in the NFL since then has been Steelers-Ravens.

"We have a rivalry vs. the Ravens, vs. the Bengals, and the Browns as far as I'm concerned," Tomlin insisted. "That's the nature of AFC North football. Their perceptions of the rivalry I can't control."

But, if playing a team more often than others is considered a rivalry, then the Harlem Globetrotters have one with the Washington Generals; Steelers-Browns results have been similar since Cleveland rejoined the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1999.

The Steelers have won 13 of their past 14 games against the Browns, 19 of the past 21, including one playoff victory (2002) -- the only time the New Browns have made the playoffs.

But there is that close proximity, a two-hour bus ride from Pittsburgh.

"Anytime in the National Football League you're getting on the bus to go play a game, man, that's a pretty heated rivalry," Tomlin actually said.

Maybe he meant the bus was pretty heated, not the rivalry.

"Not many bus trips in the National Football League," Tomlin continued. "Just from proximity's standpoint, it's unique. History is what it is: two storied franchises, the fans. I think the close proximity and history makes it what it is."

What it is, what it has been stretching back to the previous century, is a cakewalk more than a rivalry. Even when the Old Browns were good, the Steelers mowed them down. Before they moved to Baltimore, the Browns lost six consecutive games to the Steelers, including three times in 1994, the third one a playoff game at Three Rivers Stadium. Counting those, the Steelers have won 26 of their past 30 games against the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns would love nothing better than to turn that into 26 of 31 by pulling their second consecutive upset of the Steelers in a December game at home that meant little else to them but ruins the season for their "rivals."

"We have to go into an AFC North city and do the job, and I'm sure they're not for us doing it, so it's going to make it interesting and exciting,'' said Tomlin.
Polamalu decision Friday

Troy Polamalu, who has missed the past two games with an Achilles-related injury, will not practice until Friday, and that is when Tomlin will determine if he will return to play Sunday.

"We're going to look at him and watch him move here a little bit this week," Tomlin said. "It's not out of the realm of possibility that he could play this weekend, and, if he's healthy, he will."

Halfback Mewelde Moore has a sprained knee, and Tomlin described him as questionable for Sunday.

If he cannot play, rookie Jonathan Dwyer could suit up for his first game.

Tomlin listed two defensive starters who might be limited in practice early but whom he expects to play -- cornerback Bryant McFadden (hip pointer) and linebacker LaMarr Woodley (swollen left knee). Rookie linebacker Jason Worilds (swollen knee) also may be limited in practice and is unlikely to play.

Defensive end Aaron Smith, who has not played since his triceps were torn Oct. 24, "is healing nicely."

"Again, he's pushing and lifting weights and so forth and is inching closer to practice participation, and, of course, hopefully game participation, here at some point," Tomlin said.


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10363/11 ... z19Tp4mvlf (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10363/1114033-66.stm#ixzz19Tp4mvlf)


I'd love to see Dwyer get some carries

The Sodfather
12-29-2010, 11:06 AM
Did Will Allen play for Troy last week? I thought it was Ryan Mundy. I don't remember seeing Allen on the field.

Clark moved to Troy's spot and Mundy played FS.

Ghost
12-29-2010, 02:29 PM
http://espn.go.com/nfl/lines - has it from 5.5 to 6.5 as the current spread on the game.

I admit it - I think this game should be a double digit win. Troy or not the Steelers are a more talented team and they have a division title, bye week, and home playoff game on the line. If that isn't enough (on top of a division rival) to whip this team into a frenzy I wouldn't know what was. If they come to play and hungary to win this is over.

I think McCoy will play hard but Hillis is dinged up and should be very stoppable. The coach is done so there may be a good bit of Browns mailing it in. The key will be early on - Steelers score immediately and get a couple of 3 and outs on D and I think the spirit is broken. However, let them make some early splash plays or score and then it's a dog fight.

By the fourth quarter I'm hoping to be sitting back, smile on my face, enjoying my buzz, not stressed out at all :tt2

fordfixer
12-29-2010, 11:48 PM
Cleveland Browns Conference Calls
http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/ ... 0d7b07e4d9 (http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Cleveland-Browns-Conference-Calls/72639eb7-d67e-4727-9a39-1c0d7b07e4d9)

BROWNS HEAD COACH ERIC MANGINI


Do you expect to see Troy Polamalu play this weekend?

I donít know. I am not sure. What do you guys expect?



Weíre not sure. Thatís why we are asking you.

I am not sure either. I tell you he makes a pretty big difference when he is in there. If he is there he is hard to deal with in so many different ways, whether itís the running game, blitzing, the disguise or the threat he is in terms of being able to create turnovers. So we are preparing like he is going to be, and we will see what happens.



If he doesnít play, will that almost surprise your team?

Itís easier to go that direction than to go the other direction. Itís a lot easier to deal with the looks when heís not in there as opposed to having two plans. Thatís a good problem to have.



Re: Colt McCoyís progress:

Heís done a really good job throughout the course of the season. It was interesting to watch because he struggled when he was the third guy or fourth guy in training camp and didnít get the reps. Thatís understandable too because itís a new system, a new coaching staff. All the things that go into being a rookie, and then when he did get the opportunity he just embraced it, and he broke down the huddle his first time. And the guys kind of laughed a little bit but they appreciated the fact that he stepped in to assume that role. And the same thing the night before the game, I had him speak to the team a little bit. He said that the guys could count on him and that heís going to play well. It wasnít bravado. It wasnít him trying to convince us of that. It was sincere, and heís had a much easier time transitioning back into the role of being the man than he had with coming out of that role. And I think thatís unique for a young guy. Each week weíve been able to give him more and build on his experience, the game plans heís executed and itís been real progress. And heís done a nice job recognizing looks, giving checks, running the offense and Iíve been pleased with him.



Do you think you can run against the Steelersí defense?

I think a lot of people think they can run against the Steelersí defense. But they are, what are they, top-10 in 19 different defensive categories? They are outstanding against the run, whether itís just the front they are playing or whether they are blitzing it, they are able to do a good job against everybody. So when we do run the ball itís going to be a challenge.



Re: Finishing the season on a winning note:

Itís important for us from a progress perspective and weíre just going through the steps that most teams go through, learn how to work, learn how to compete, learn how to win and learn how to win consistently. Weíve won some games but we havenít been able to win consistently. And last week against Baltimore we played an outstanding team. This weekend is Pittsburgh, playing another outstanding team. Itís a good way to finish the season. Itís a great opportunity to play a team like this at this point of the season, especially with all the things Pittsburgh has in terms of playoffs and seeding and things like that. Itís a great team that is highly motivated.



Re: Beating the Saints and Patriots but losing late to the Jets:

I think it is [where our season turned] in a sense that weíve had opportunities in a lot of games after that. We won some of them and didnít others. But it goes back to the developing and growth that you go through with a group of guys, the team. Itís understanding that you can play with anybody, and itís understanding that the level of preparation has to be the same week-in-and-week-out. And itís always impressed me how Pittsburgh is. The continuity they have, the consistency that theyíve had, and regardless of what the year is there are certain things that they believe in. And there are certain things that they do every single year, and itís a winning formula. And itís going to keep winning and Iíve always been impressed by the organization from that perspective.



Re: Mike Wallace:

Heís, God heís fast. And he hurts you in a lot of different ways. He hurts you on the deep ball. He can catch and run. And there are not very many people if you line them up against Mike they are going to win a foot race. And thatís huge. Then you have a guy like Ben Roethlisberger who has a strong, strong arm and can get the ball to him. And not only get to him in the plays the way that they are designed, but then he can buy some time and get it to him. And thereís no throw thatís out of his range. And he generates so many plays through his movement and pocket feel. It makes it difficult.



Are you surprised Wallace is not in the Pro Bowl?

The voting and things like that, sometimes it takes a couple of years to catch up with guys. I think heís played at arguably as high a level as anybody.



Re: Maurkice Pouncey making the Pro Bowl?

I think that is great. I think that itís really hard to a young guy to come in and play center or left tackle. And as the center you have the ball in your hands every play, and you have so much responsibility for coordinating the offensive line. And heís done it really well. The other thing I like about him is that heís been consistent and heís improved week-in-and-week-out. And I donít know him that well as a person, but just from the outside looking in, heís got to have a great work ethic. Thereís no doubt about that in my mind, because you donít make those strides without that. Heís not doing that on talent alone. Heís got to have a lot of the intangibles that are going to make him a special player for a long time.



BROWNS QUARTERBACK COLT MCCOY

Do you expect Troy Polamalu to play Sunday?

We expect that he will play. Thereís so many challenges when heís on the field. Theyíre a tremendous defense and he has the capabilities of making plays across the field and all over the field. Youíve got to be accountable for where he is. Where heís lined up is not always going to be the place that he play on that down. Heís a great playmaker and youíve just got to know where he is at all times and be able to execute your offense.



What was it like making your NFL debut against the Steelers and why were you able to play so well?

Well I think there are things that I did well and things that I definitely learned from. It wasnít good enough because we lost but at the same time I think I took a lot away from that game as far as having confidence in myself that I can play and that I can do this and I went against a great defense like them. Thereís a lot of things. I think for one, my teammates saw me and the way that I played and the way that I handled myself. I just have to keep growing and keep getting better every day. That is my goal. I try to make as much progress as I can practice-to-practice, week-to-week and game-to-game. I hope I never lose that attitude and that mentality. I came a long way since that first game. I feel like I am doing more, seeing more. Last week, playing against defenses in this division is tough. Baltimore has a great defensive scheme. They have for years and they made more plays than we did. This week we went back to work, went back to practice, we all got on the same page and we just have to really push ourselves and understand their scheme and their blitzes and their pressures. If we can handle that, then I think we give ourselves a chance to win.



How close are you guys to breaking through and becoming a contender in this division?

Well hopefully we are close. I think the one good thing, and again, I am just rookie and this is my first year here, but there are a lot of high character guys in this organization, in that locker room. And there are a lot of guys that have the fire and desire to win. We havenít got it done this season and it has stretched over the last four or five weeks that we havenít been able to find a way to win games and that is something we have to do down the stretch. I think we are close. I think we are real close. We are thankful for one more opportunity in our place and in our stadium, to go out there and play and compete. What a great opportunity in the Pittsburgh Steelers. For me, individually, they are a great defense. Tons of playmakers, very talented, great scheme, great coach and across the ball you have a guy like Ben Roethlisberger, who has been there and done it and has won Super Bowls and won this division over and over. Just what a great opportunity it is to go out and compete and play. That is how I look at it and I know there are a lot of guys on my team that look at it that way. But after saying that, we are ready to win. We need to win. This town, this city, this organization, we need to turn it around.



Re: The fans needing the Browns to be good:

A lot of people say that and write that and talk about that. We need to do better, our organization as a whole, our team, all of us. We fight our tails off every week and we do. There is not a guy in this locker room that quits or that doesnít want to win and doesnít work to win. We practice hard every day. It will turn around. It will change.



The Browns upset Pittsburgh late in the year last year. Anybody talking about that game at all?

No, not really. We know who Pittsburgh is and what they do and what is on the line for them. We are excited about one last game at home for us. Thatís how we look at it. We really donít talk much about last year.



Do you think there is more pressure on the Steelers knowing that they have to win this game to win the division?

I hadnít even thought about it. I really havenít. I know for us in our locker room we had a great practice today. We worked hard. We will be prepared for this game and we will go out there and play our hearts out and fight to the very end.



What would it mean for you guys to knock the Steelers off and potentially make their road in the playoffs much more difficult?

We look at it for our team and for our organization. We prepare every week like we want to win and like we are going to win and like we expect to win. This week, itís no different. It is our last home game. We realize we arenít making the playoffs. We realize the opportunity that we have to play one more time at home and we are really looking forward to that.



Has this been tough coming from a program that is so use to winning and then dealing with a season where your team has lost ten games?

You canít compare it to college. Our team in college was very successful. We won a lot of games. As a competitor, as a guy who has been on teams that have won, obviously this is my first year in the NFL and it is different, but yeah, winning is what drives me as a player. It is what drives a lot of guys in this locker room. It is what we do. We play to win. When you have some setbacks and you lose some games, it gets frustrating and for me it just pushes me that much harder. That is was fuels it. You want to win. You are a competitor. It is going to get better. That is for sure.

fordfixer
12-30-2010, 01:16 AM
Steelers' Harrison misses practice with illness
By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, December 30, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 15842.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_715842.html)

ē Outside linebacker James Harrison left the Steelers facility early Wednesday afternoon because of an illness and did not practice. Harrison missed two days of practice before the Steelers' Dec. 19 game against the New York Jets but played in the contest. As expected, strong safety Troy Polamalu (lower leg) did not practice yesterday. Also missing practice because of injuries were running back Mewelde Moore (knee) and outside linebacker Jason Worilds (knee). Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (knee) was a limited participant in practice.

ē Polamalu, who has missed the last two games, is scheduled to practice Friday. While it is unlikely that he will play Sunday in Cleveland, Browns coach Eric Mangini said his team is preparing as if Polamalu will suit up for the 1 p.m. game. "He makes a pretty big difference when he's in there," Mangini said. "If he's there, he's hard to deal with in so many different ways, whether it's the running game, blitzing, the disguise, the threat he is in being able to create turnovers."

ē Ben Roethlisberger has not been intercepted in 136 consecutive pass attempts, the longest such streak by a Steelers quarterback since Kordell Stewart (159) in 2001. "Here we go. My first pass (Sunday) will probably be picked," Roethlisberger said yesterday when asked about what is a personal-best streak for him. "To me, that's one of the things that I try to pride myself on, not throwing interceptions. They drive me crazy."

ē A scoring change from last Thursday night's game gave Woodley half a sack on a play in which Harrison was given full credit for a takedown of Panthers rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen. The change gives Woodley nine sacks while Harrison has 10 1/2. If Woodley notches a sack against the Browns, he joins Harrison as the only players in team history to have at least 10 sacks for three consecutive seasons.

fordfixer
12-30-2010, 01:17 AM
Browns potentially could ruin Steelers' season

Published December 29, 2010
http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2010/12/2 ... rs-season/ (http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2010/12/29/browns-potentially-ruin-steelers-season/)

PITTSBURGH Ė A game the Pittsburgh Steelers were hoping would mean nothing now means everything, and they know it.

The Steelers (11-4) wanted to have the AFC North and a playoff bye wrapped up by now. They don't, and that means Sunday's game at Cleveland has the potential to significantly damage their chances of winning the Super Bowl even before the playoffs begin.

The neighboring cites have been rivals for 60 years but, since the NFL merger in 1970, the Steelers haven't traveled to Cleveland during the final week of the regular season for a game that meant so much to them.

Win, and the Steelers will take the division, earn a playoff bye and own home-field advantage for at least the second round of the playoffs. Lose to the Browns (5-10) in a major upset and the Steelers likely will be relegated to being seeded sixth in the AFC, with no chance for a home game and no time off before they open the wild-card playoffs next week.

"You definitely don't want to play next week, because anything can happen in the NFL, anybody can beat anybody," nose tackle Casey Hampton said Wednesday.

Even if they survive that game, they'd have to win at New England (13-2) the following week just to reach the AFC championship game.

While the Steelers (2005 season) and Giants (2007) both won the Super Bowl as sixth-seeded teams that went on the road for three consecutive weeks of conference playoffs, no one else did it in the Super Bowl's first 44 seasons. Few came close.

With key players such as Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith slowed or sidelined by injuries, and lacking the late-season momentum they seized by winning their final four games in 2005, the Steelers understand that taking such a circuitous path might prove too difficult this season.

The Steelers and Ravens (11-4) are tied for the AFC North lead, but Pittsburgh owns the tiebreaker based on a better division record. All that vanishes if the Steelers lose in Cleveland and the Ravens beat the Bengals (4-11), a scenario that gives Baltimore the division title.

"That's more motivation than anything else," Hampton said. "You want to have a week off, you don't want to play in anybody else's home stadium for the first round. You get a lot more rest (with a bye), especially us being an older team."

Normally, the Steelers have little trouble beating the Browns; they've won 13 of the past 14 in what has been a rivalry in name only since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999.

But everybody in the Steelers locker room knows about the lone defeat, 13-6 last season to a one-win Cleveland team. That loss finished off a five-game Steelers losing streak and eventually kept them out of the playoffs.

That's why the Steelers' more experienced players are making sure the rookies understand what can happen when a team lets down in a game it figures to win easily.

"The players, the coaches, everybody's mentioned it," center Maurkice Pouncey said. "They know what happened last year and we're trying not to let that happen again. They're saying we can't have that again. We know what we want, and it's right in front of us to get."

While coach Mike Tomlin is 6-1 against the Browns, he considers them to be a rival because the cities are so close. Even if they're often far apart in the standings; the Steelers are in the playoffs for the fifth time in seven seasons, while the Browns were last in the AFC North six of the previous seven seasons.

"Any time in the National Football League you're getting on a bus to go play a game, mean, that's a pretty heated rivalry," Tomlin said. "Not many bus trips in the National Football League. Just from a proximity's standpoint, it's unique."

The Browns frustrated the Steelers last season by holding them to 75 yards in the first half and sacking Ben Roethlisberger eight times. Roethlisberger came back this season to throw three touchdown passes in his season's debut, a 28-10 win over Cleveland on Oct. 17 that followed his four-game suspension.

"The motivation's the AFC North and trying to get this win and get a bye," Roethlisberger said. "We've got a lot of motivation. Yeah, last year was a bad loss up there so we've got a lot of fighting to do, and we know that."


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hawaiiansteel
12-30-2010, 02:37 AM
Cribbs, Browns plan on knocking out title plans for Steelers, Harrison

First game since Steelers linebacker injured two wide receivers

By Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writer
POSTED: 04:52 p.m. EST, Dec 29, 2010


BEREA: If the Browns have their way, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison's homecoming will be spoiled when he returns to Northeast Ohio on Sunday.

Harrison, an Akron native, knocked wide receivers Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi out of the Steelers' 28-10 win over the Browns on Oct. 17 at Heinz Field. Both players left the game in the second quarter after suffering concussions at the hands ó or helmet ó of Harrison.

Now the Browns (5-10) are hoping to play the role of a spoiler against the Steelers (11-4), who can capture the AFC North title and a first-round postseason bye with a win in the regular-season finale at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Browns insist their rivalry with the Steelers is as intense as ever, and Harrison's hits have certainly added some fuel to the fire.

''You won't see it right now, but when the lights come on, you'll see a lot of pissed-off guys,'' Cribbs said Wednesday. ''We've got to practice good this week and show that we can win the football game.

''This will be our one ticket to be forgiven from our fans for the disappointing season that we had. We're gonna give it our best. They're gonna come with their best, and we're at our home, so we've gotta put [out] the best showing of the year.''

Harrison's devastating blows to Cribbs and Massaquoi, along with a few other vicious collisions throughout the league during Week 6, sparked widespread debate about the safety of players. The NFL announced it would begin cracking down on dangerous and flagrant hits by levying substantial fines and even suspensions. The league also sent videos to teams, outlining the differences between legal and illegal hits.

Just about everyone involved questioned whether professional football would be changed forever.

''I still don't think we have an answer to that,'' Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. ''I think those answers are long-term answers, particularly when you're talking about it from an initiative standpoint, in terms of what the league is trying to get done from a long-term standpoint. I think those are only going to be measured over an extended period of time ó and I'm talking years because what we're talking about is changing the nature in which people play and see the game of football.''

Although Harrison was not penalized for his hits against the Browns, the league fined him $75,000. In response to the controversy, Harrison said he contemplated retirement. Cribbs, who was Harrison's teammate during their days at Kent State University, defended Harrison, encouraged him not to alter his style and said he believed he was instrumental in dissuading Harrison from cutting his career short.

However, Cribbs also said he couldn't wait to hit Harrison back. When asked Wednesday if he still wants retribution, Cribbs said, ''Of course, but I'm not gonna talk about it. I'm gonna do my talking on the field.''

Some believe Harrison has adjusted his techniques since Week 6. He has accumulated $125,000 in fines for four separate infractions this season.

''He's still trying to hit people the same way he has been, but maybe he's trying to lower his target and not hit guys in the head quite as much,'' said Browns left tackle Joe Thomas, who, like Harrison, recently received his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl selection. ''The NFL tried to send him a message, and it seems like he got it.''

In the aftermath of Harrison's hits, Cribbs missed two days of practice but played the next week against the New Orleans Saints. Massaquoi, though, missed one game before returning Nov. 7 against the New England Patriots.

On Wednesday, Massaquoi declined to answer questions about Harrison, but he said the rivalry between the Browns and the Steelers remains bitter. The Steelers have prevailed in 13 of the past 14 meetings, though the Browns pulled a 13-6 upset last season in Week 14.

''It's Pittsburgh. I don't know how else to put it,'' Massaquoi said. ''It's not like we're good friends. It's not like there's good blood between the two teams.''

http://www.ohio.com/sports/browns/112626089.html

fordfixer
01-01-2011, 03:26 AM
Coach Mike Tomlin on the Browns
http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/ ... 0bbbda83c9 (http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Coach-Mike-Tomlin-on-the-Browns/f153bca4-67ec-45b5-b968-3f0bbbda83c9)

Coach Mike Tomlin takes a look at this weekís opponent Ė the Cleveland Browns.



Q. During the week of preparation, did the Turnpike rivalry take a back seat to the playoff picture?



A. No it didnít. We realize whatís between us and where we want to go. This stage is as big or bigger than any. Weíre a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other type of group, and it makes it important that we go to Cleveland and play well.



Q. Is Steelers-Browns still a big rivalry?



A. It is, because itís important to our fans. Our fan base touches and overlaps with their fan base, and weíre in the business of entertainment. Itís important to our fans, so itís important to us.



Q. What do remember most about the first game between these teams Ė on Oct. 17 when the Steelers won, 28-10?



A. That we ran around and made the necessary plays to win. I thought James Harrison provided a James Harrison-like performance. When we need quality plays from a big-time performer, guys like him and Troy usually deliver.



Q. What do you remember about Colt McCoy from the first meeting between these teams, and what impresses you about him?



A. He doesnít make a lot of the critical mistakes that young quarterbacks typically make in situational football. In the red zone he doesnít get them beat, on third down he doesnít get them beat. Heís a pretty poised guy. He has great mobility and escapability, and I think those are some of the reasons why he was good against us and why he has been good since.



Q. Peyton Hillis hasnít practiced all week because of a rib injury. Besides his imitation of a steam-roller, what abilities does he bring to the football field?



A. He has extremely soft hands, underrated hands. A lot has been written and said about the way he plays from a running style standpoint, and rightfully so, but weíre also talking about a guy who has 60-plus catches and is really a vital part of their offense in the passing game as well.



Q. Their offensive line has a nice pedigree on the left side with tackle Joe Thomas and guard Eric Steinbach. Does that make them a left-handed offense?



A. No it doesnít. They do run a significant number of plays over the left side, but theyíre also a power-run football team. They run a lot of powers and counters that involve a pulling guard, and when they go to pull a guard itís usually Steinbach. A significant number of their plays go to the right.



Q. Do you expect to see a lot of wildcat from the Browns on Sunday?



A. I donít know. It could depend on a number of things. Peyton Hillisí health is one thing. The wildcat is a run-game alternative, and so if their feature runner is banged up or if they want to limit the exposure of their young quarterback to the defense, we could see a lot of it. But if Hillis is doing well and the quarterback is doing well, we might see very little of it.



Q. What makes rookie Joe Haden so good as a cornerback?



A. Ball skills and general football awareness. He can catch the football. Heís had interceptions at every level Ė in high school, at the University of Florida and now here in the National Football League, where he has six interceptions already. His general football awareness Ė he doesnít see the game through a straw. He can see the big picture. Backfield action, he can feel route depths and break points. He has the overall general awareness of a top cornerback.



Q. Marcus Benard had 3.5 sacks last year and 7.5 already this year. Whatís the difference?



A. Heís getting more opportunities. Theyíve put some packages in for him where heís consistently playing on third downs. Last year, he was a spot guy where he might have weeks of inactivity at a time. Itís probably just the natural maturation process of a young guy and getting the reward of playing time that comes with it.



Q. Are there any similarities between the Jets and Browns because of the Ryan brothers?



A. No, not specifically defensively. I think if you coach football, particularly defensive football, you do what your guys are capable of doing and do it well. I think they are working with two different types of units, outfits and I think they cater their assault to fit their people.

fordfixer
01-01-2011, 03:27 AM
Browns' Hillis key for McCoy
Saturday, January 01, 2011
By Bill Brink, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11001/1114828-66.stm

Whatever happened to Colt McCoy and the Cleveland Browns during their Oct. 17 game against the Steelers at Heinz Field, it helped their cause.

The 1-4 Browns lost, 28-10, to the Steelers in McCoy's first start, then went 4-2 in their next six games, including victories against the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints.

They have lost three in a row since but still present a challenge to the Steelers, who need to beat Cleveland in the final regular-season game Sunday to guarantee the AFC North title and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

"It's always a tough game for us, playing Cleveland," safety Troy Polamalu said.

The Browns broke a 12-game losing streak against the Steelers -- winners of 13 of the past 14 in the series -- with a 13-6 home victory in December 2009. This season, McCoy and running back Peyton Hillis have created a viable offense that has the Browns competing in every game.

In that first game against the Steelers, McCoy completed 23 of 33 passes for 281 yards, with one touchdown pass and two interceptions.

"I think they've all kind of rallied around Colt and realized that they've got a good guy there and they've kind of rallied around him," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said. "He's done a good job for them. I think that's the biggest thing is they have some stability there and they haven't had that in a while."

Had McCoy played enough games, his 63.5 completion percentage would rank eighth in the NFL, ahead of Eli Manning, Matt Schaub and Michael Vick.

"I think he's maybe gotten better as the season's gone on," Keisel said. "To have a personality to come into a place like Heinz Field as a rookie and play as well as he did speaks a lot about the kid. Obviously he played against some great competition down at Texas and knows how to prepare himself. We want to make sure we're ready for him when we get up there."

Hillis' transformation into an elite running back has shifted some of the focus away from the rookie quarterback. Hillis has 1,164 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns this season along with 60 receptions for 474 yards. He's big -- 6-2, 250 pounds -- and difficult to tackle.

"One thing you see from him is people miss a lot of tackles," cornerback Bryant McFadden said.

McFadden and Keisel said to stop Hillis, defenders need to stay in their assigned positions and prevent Hillis from finding room.

"It's just important to stay gap-sound. That's what we pride ourselves on around here," Keisel said. "Is everybody doing their job and being in the right place at the right time? That's why we've had success there. If we all do our jobs there shouldn't be any seams for him to go."

Hillis has a rib injury and did not practice Wednesday, Thursday or Friday this week. He is listed as questionable for Sunday's game, but Hillis missed practice last week and still played against the Baltimore Ravens.

McCoy's success has come without much help from his receivers. Tight end Benjamin Watson leads the team in receptions with 61, one more than Hillis, and has 696 receiving yards. Together, Watson and Hillis account for 40 percent of the Browns' receiving yards.

"He's an athletic big guy," McFadden said of Watson. "He runs good routes. He does a good job of getting holes."

The threat of a capable quarterback has kept opposing defenses from putting extra defenders near the line of scrimmage to stop Hillis, who is averaging 4.4 yards per carry.

"You can see McCoy's a lot more comfortable in the offense," McFadden said. "He's played a lot more games."


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fordfixer
01-01-2011, 03:28 AM
Steelers Notebook: Polamalu has first practice in three weeks
Saturday, January 01, 2011
By Bill Brink, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11001/1114853-66.stm

Troy Polamalu practiced Friday for the first time in three weeks, but he said coach Mike Tomlin will decide if he plays Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

Polamalu did not play in the past two games because of an Achilles tendon-related injury. He said he wants to play, but it's not up to him.

"Honestly it's 100 percent on whatever coach Tomlin decides," he said.

Polamalu said the idea of playing for parts of the game depending on the score was also up to Tomlin but added that against Cleveland, that may not be an option.

"We've never really blown these guys out and vice versa, they've never really blown us out," he said. "It's always been a tough game over there, and that's what we anticipate this weekend."

His right ankle has been feeling better after missing the Dec. 19 game against the New York Jets, Polamalu said. He is listed as questionable.

His injury causes more problems because there is not a way to practice or play -- or move -- that doesn't aggravate it.

"Anybody that's taken any anatomy classes would know that anything bothers an Achilles," he said. "Right now it feels pretty good. Hopefully I don't get any setbacks."

If the Steelers win Sunday, they clinch the AFC North title and a first-round bye in the playoffs. That week of rest would not only help Polamalu, he said, but many of his teammates also dealing with injuries.

"It would be a huge advantage for us, being how banged up our team is, but we really can't look that far ahead," he said.

"It would help me tremendously. It would help a lot of people on this team tremendously. There's guys that are just barely hanging on by a string week by week. Unfortunately for me that string broke; now it's tied back up there again."

He has thought about the possibility of re-injuring the Achilles, which could keep him out of playoff games.

"That's always a consideration with any injury," he said. "The Achilles, of course, the setback is pretty big rather than tearing a hamstring."

The Steelers are 1-1 without Polamalu this season, with a loss against the Jets and win against the Carolina Panthers. Ryan Mundy started both games in his place.
Injury update

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley (knee) practiced fully Friday and is probable for Sunday's game. Linebacker Jason Worilds (knee) was limited in practice and listed as questionable, and running back Mewelde Moore (knee) did not practice. He is out for Sunday's game.


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