Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Next man up."

We can always count on Mike Tomlin's news conferences to provide pithy aphorisms, succinct sayings and punchy rallying cries.  Today was no exception.

When asked about the Steelers' performance in Baltimore Sunday, Tomlin said, "There's a fine line between drinking wine and squashing grapes. Obviously, last week, we were squashing grapes."

"The tape tells the story," Tomlin continued.  "And we embrace that as our walking, talking, breathing resume."

When asked whether the team was angry, he replied, "We should be angry about that performance.  If we channel that anger, it should be a good thing."

Marcus Gilbert, at Florida
Tomlin also revealed that Marcus Gilbert, the rookie second-round draft pick from the University of Florida, will start at right tackle on Sunday vs. Seattle.  Gilbert takes over for the injured Willie Colon, who, oh, by the way, signed a five-year contract with the Steelers in the off-season -- and didn't even last one game.  Colon is likely to go on injured reserve, although that hasn't been announced.

Apparently the coaches like what they see in Gilbert. As Tomlin said, "We like his pedigree.  He played booth tackle positions at Florida."

Tomlin also cited pedigree when talking about the young offensive line of the Seattle Seahawks, whom the Steelers will play on Sunday at Heinz Field:  "What they lack in experience, they make up in pedigree."

Tomlin called Tarvaris Jackson, Seattle's quarterback, "a legit tough guy; a quality dude; a competitor."

Tarvaris Jackson, on the ground after getting  sacked in a 2011 pre-season game vs. San Diego.
Well, at least he's got that going for him.  He'd better be tough.  Last Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers sacked Jackson five times and hit him another eight times.

Jackson, by the way, has a roundabout connection to the Steelers, inasmuch as they traded away a 2006 second-round draft pick (64th overall, last in the second round) to the Minnesota Vikings, who used that pick to select Jackson. 

In return, the Vikings sent two 2006 third-round choices to the Steelers, who used those picks to select (close your eyes) the infamous, long-departed and unlamented Anthony Smith, safety (19th pick of round three) and Willie Reid, WR/KR/PR, (31st pick of round three).

Obviously, the draft is an inexact science.
Charlie Whitehurst
Interestingly, Seattle's current backup quarterback, Charlie Whitehurst, was selected just 17 picks after Tarvaris Jackson in the 2006 draft.  Seattle acquired Whitehurst (pictured) in a controversial March 2008 trade in which the Seahawks surrendered draft picks before signing Whitehurst to a big contract.  Whitehurst appears to be the "next man up," as Tomlin would say.


Meanwhile, as if we don't have enough to worry about, there was this in the news today ...

One-Legged Wheelchair Bandit Robs Man

Police in Pittsburgh are looking for a man in a wheelchair who robbed a person near the city's Greyhound station.According to police reports, a man told them he was robbed early Tuesday morning in the 1000 block of Liberty Avenue.  The victim told police that a man in a wheelchair, who had only one leg, accosted him and claimed to have a gun, though the victim said he never saw it. The robber then fled the scene.  Police did not say what was taken.  So far, no arrests have been made.