Steelers to leave for New York hours before kickoff
Traveling the day of a game is commonplace in minor league baseball, but not in the NFL. The Steelers will be a rare exception.
Because of complications resulting from Hurricane Sandy, the Steelers will stay in a Pittsburgh hotel Saturday night before flying to New York at midmorning Sunday in advance of the 4:25 p.m. game against the Giants.
The Jersey City, N.J., hotel where the Steelers planned to stay lacks power, and the team had trouble finding a replacement with sufficient rooms and staff. The Steelers also said hotel workers are dealing with more important issues than accommodating a football team, although they will eat a pregame meal at a facility.
The NFL waived its rule requiring teams to travel at least a day before a game.
“Permission was granted,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail to the Tribune-Review. “It happens during (the) preseason some. A late afternoon game under these unique circumstances dictated the move.”
• Running back Jonathan Dwyer (quadriceps) was limited in practice Thursday after taking off Wednesday, but, coming off consecutive 100-yard games, he expects to play Sunday against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
Isaac Redman returned after missing two games with a sore ankle.
“I doubt if I'll be 100 percent for the rest of the season, but it's football,” Redman said. “Nobody in this locker room is probably at 100 percent right now. I'm able to play through injuries.”
In his last game, Redman had 105 yards receiving on four catches against Tennessee.
• More on the injury front: Linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) hasn't practiced this week but hasn't been ruled out. Running back Baron Batch (shin) also was held out Thursday. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert had the protective boot removed from his injured right ankle, which could accelerate his rehab. Running back Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) hasn't gone through a full practice this week. Safety Ryan Clark (concussion) practiced for a second consecutive day.
• A day after Ben Roethlisberger insisted that “dink and dunk” isn't a negative term when he uses it to describe the Steelers offense, offensive coordinator Todd Haley agreed. “I take it as a compliment. I don't know how I take it, but not negatively,” Haley said. “I've seen some really good offenses that take what you give them and then beat you when you give them openings down the field. Like I've said all along, I think we're progressing, and defenses are surely continuing to try to adjust to what we're doing.”
• Roethlisberger didn't attempt a deep pass against the Redskins. But the Giants have allowed 19 completions of 25 yards or longer. Does that mean more deep throws for Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders? “Our guys are catching the ball based on what the defense gives us,” Haley said. “We have some guys that are pretty dynamic with the football in their hands. Last week and the week before, defenses had their guys playing deep. They weren't going to give up the deep ball.”
• Cowboys tight end Jason Witten made 18 catches against the Giants, who covered him almost exclusively with a linebacker. Steelers tight end Heath Miller already has six touchdown catches, and Roethlisberger will be trying to find him in mismatch situations. “I was with Witten for a few years,” said Haley, a former Cowboys assistant. “Those two (Witten and Miller) remind me a lot of each other. You don't hear much out of either one of them. They do a heck of a job with anything you ask them to do.”
• Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis sees a lot of Peyton Manning in little brother Eli. While studying game video, Lewis noticed how much the two resemble each other. The Steelers opened the season against Peyton Manning's Broncos. “They get it out quick,” Lewis said. “You can tell he watches a lot of film just like his brother. He knows where to find the weakness at in the defenses, so we have to make sure that doesn't happen.”
• Eli Manning has been sacked only six times, the fewest of any NFL quarterback. “I'm sure his offensive linemen appreciate it,” defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. “That number is a tribute to the quarterback's ability to get out of pressure situations and throw the ball away when it breaks down. He's very good at that.”