Some notes from around the Steelers locker room on Wednesday ...Ryan Clark, freeloader
When asked about the return of safety Ryan Clark to the lineup, fellow Louisianan Ike Taylor, whose locker has been next to Clark for years, grinned but wouldn't give his buddy any credit as to what Clark brings to the Steelers' secondary -- knowing that Clark would hear about it."Secondary’s the secondary, you know? We gotta do what we gotta do when Ryan’s in and when Ryan’s out. … I’ll let y’all decide what kind of presence he brings."
When told Taylor said he makes no difference, Clark smiled and played along.
"That is true, that is probably extremely true," Clark said. "I’ve been holding these guys back for years. I just appreciate them letting me pull on their coat tails and go to two Super Bowls. That’s why I came here – to play with those guys and do nothing."
Linebacker LaMarr Woodley was a little more charitable as to Clark's abilities.
"Ryan Clark definitely changes the defense – he has that hard hittin’ that he’s put on film. Receivers – when they come across the middle, usually Ryan Clark will be there to definitely knock them off the ball."
Clark said he is champing at the bit to get back into the lineup.
"I’m excited. Obviously I’d like to be coming back 1-0 having won that game in Denver. ... The Jets pose an interesting problem for us right now. All preseason all people talked about was them not scoring touchdowns. They lit up the scoreboard when the games started to count. So I’m excited about the challenge and also the challenge of trying to outplay their secondary."
Woodley: No 0-2 start
After a reporter pointed out the Steelers haven't had an 0-2 start since 2002, Woodley quickly cut her off:
"And we won’t be 0-2" he stated, adding "Every week the mindset is to go out there and win a football game, and not start the season off bad. So far we’re 0-1, and we’ll manage to not go 0-2."
They don't call him Deebo for nothing
The subject of James Harrison and will he?/won't he? play on Sunday was the talk of the lockerroom today, at least among gathered media inquiring as to the menacing linebacker's status.
Naturally, Harrison wasn't talking.
His teammates couldn't elaborate on his status either, but they did talk about what he means to the defense.
Ike Taylor summed up the Steelers linebacker as only he can.
"Deebo is Deebo. He [has] Deebo for a nickname, he [has] Silverback for a nickname. We don’t call him that just for the hell of it. So you already know what he bring."
Harrison's counterpart on the right side, Woodley, was a little more concise in talking about his skill set.
"Receivers are scared just because of the stuff he’s put on film showing that if you come across that middle … receivers will worry about that and quarterbacks will worry too, because he does a great job of getting to the quarterback and forcing fumbles."
When asked about a calf injury that kept him out of practice, as he has done for years when discussing injuries, Troy Polamalu politely smiles refers the question to head coach Mike Tomlin as a means of dodging the issue.
However Polamalu misspoke a little in expressing it, saying, "Coach Tomlin knows my body better than I do."
That elicited a few smirks and chuckles from the gathered press corps, as well as the safety himself, who realized what he'd said and offered a correction.
"My injuries -- Just to clarify."
G-Tech = WR factory
Ike Taylor on Jets rookie wideout Stephen Hill: "Ball skills. Good stride. Strong kid. G-Tech. You know what G-Tech produces as far as wide receivers, so there you go."
Indeed. Fellow Yellowjackets alum Calvin Johnson is the league's most dominant receiver and Demarius Thomas has scored the game winning touchdown for the Broncos in the Steelers last two games.
Steelers' stock slides
According to the site MakeNFLPlayoffs.com by virtue of losing their season opener, the Steelers chance of winning making the playoffs and winning the AFC North has slid precipitously.
"Week 1, the Steelers (0-1) chance of making the playoffs has decreased from 37.5% to 30.7%."Their chance of winning the division has decreased from 25.0% to 21.1%."
Read all of the odds here.