Tomlin Not Ready To Say Woods Will Definitely Start Thursday Night Against The Ravens

After announcing on Monday that nose tackle Steve McLendon would miss the upcoming Thursday night game against the Baltimore Ravens with an ankle injury suffered Sunday in the win over the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked to comment on the play of his replacement, Al Woods, and whether or not he will get the start in McLendon’s absence.

“I thought he was a positive contributor to our efforts,” said Tomlin of Woods play on Sunday. “I think maybe he had a couple of sacks, but Al has played a contributing role to our efforts largely throughout the season. He’s played in just about every football game getting 10-12 snaps per game.

“Hopefully he’ll be ready for the extended action that comes with having an opportunity to step up. In terms of making the decision of who will play for Steve, but that hasn’t been done yet. We haven’t come together yet. Obviously, he’s an obvious potential selection, but we’ll still have the discussion in an effort to put our very best people on the grass.”

So who else would be in the running to start in McLendon’s place?

“It could be a myriad of people,” said Tomlin. “I think we got decent position flexibility with those guys. We’ve got the possibility of getting Brett Keisel back, maybe Ziggy Hood is inside capable. We’ll have the necessary discussions and look at all possibilities in an effort to put our best combination of people on the field.”

Woods played 32 snaps on Sunday in the win and there is no reason to think that he won’t start Thursday night against the Ravens in the Steelers base package. While Tomlin throws the name of Ziggy Hood out there, I just can’t see him be a legitimate candidate to play in the middle unless there’s an emergency.

If Keisel is indeed able to suit up this week, you would have to think he’ll have his snaps closely monitored and that means Hood would play quite a few snaps at one of the two end spots with Cameron Heyward manning the opposite side.

With cornerback Curtis Brown now out for the season with a torn ACL, the Steelers may decide to promote defensive end Brian Arnfelt from the practice squad in order to have an extra defensive linemen body for Thursday night, especially considering that Keisel is candidate to have more issues with his foot moving forward.

More than anything else, the Ravens really don’t know for sure who will be starting at nose tackle Thursday night. They should and will prepare for Woods, however.

  • steeltown

    I think Woods will be the guy in base defense, but that’s being used about half the time as it is so it all depends on the game plan against Baltimore. If you look at the last Ravens game McLendon didn’t play much and the base defense was used very sparingly

  • Mike.H

    Dave or other knowledgeable fans:

    Why was last week’s game Brady’s end zone INT ruled a safety and awarded 2 pts, last play of the game. I’m perplexed.

  • steeltown

    Im not sure what you mean..if you are speaking in relation to the Carolina game there was no safety (2pts awarded) it was an INT and thus ruled a touchback. .. but, there should’ve been a ‘defensive holding’ call IMO

  • Jeff

    It wasn’t ruled a safety. The controversy following the play was that the ref through a flag presumably for pass interference on the defense, which would have put the ball on the one yard line and one last play for the Patriots to score a TD and tie the game. Instead, they picked up the flag, and the interception resulted in a touchback, ending the game.

  • steeltown

    Terrible call too, they are saying it was uncatchable by Gronk..well YEAAH because the Carolina Defense was basically bear hugging him and pushing him out of the play

  • Guest

    per what you wrote, ” interception resulted in a touchback”.

    waaaa? Since when an INT in the end zone’s ruled a SAFETY? My question still unanswered. INT in the end zone should end of game with no time on the clock or awarded the ball at 20 yd line if time was on the clock.

  • Jeff

    I couldn’t believe they picked it up too! I hate the Pats, but Gronk is a freakish athlete and could’ve made an effort at it.

  • Jeff

    You’re losin’ me here lol…. It was never ruled a safety. The only way it could have been a safety is if the pats player tried to run out of the endzone, then returned to the endzone, then either got tackled or kneeled on it. See the titans game for an example. It was an INT, touchback, and end of game.

  • MC

    You don’t want Woods playing a lot of snaps in my opinion. He doesn’t have the motor of someone like Mclendon and while he may produce on some plays, he will be invisible on others.

    I think the best outcome would be for the steelers to get up early on the ravens so they can play mostly their sub package. Have Kiesel on one end, Heyward on the other and Ziggy in the middle. I noticed one play against the browns when ziggy was lined up in the A gap, he shot the gap and got a pressure straight through the middle. It was the most explosion i’ve seen from Ziggy this year.

    In the base, have Woods and Fangupo alternate, I just hope they give Fangupo enough reps in practice this week so their is little drop off…

  • joed32

    Woods did have 2 sacks though.

  • steeltown

    Exactly. It was 24-20 earlier in the 4th qtr after a Tedd Ginn TD and the end result of the game was then still 24-20, so no safety (2pts) was ever awarded and was never called on the field.

    INT, Touchback, Game over