Steelers notebook: Snow awaits in Green Bay
A white Christmas would be OK with the Steelers, who will move their usual Wednesday midweek practice to Tuesday so they have the holiday off. But a white Sunday in Green Bay? AccuWeather is calling for a game-time temperature of 26 (with real-feel temperature of 12) and snow — 1 to 3 inches that day and a total snowfall, starting Saturday night, of 3 to 6 inches. The Steelers already played a snow game Dec. 8 against Miami. “I don't really care. It (the snow) doesn't affect me,” Antonio Brown said. “As long as they keep the sideline clear.”
• Packers coach Mike McCarthy said quarterback Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) looks ready to play after being out since Nov. 4, but no announcement about a starter will be made until Friday. Matt Flynn took most of the practice snaps Thursday. Of preparing for two quarterbacks, Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said, “We've been in those types of situations. Maybe not with a player quite as good as Rodgers.”
• Steelers receiver Jerricho Cotchery (shoulder) was a full practice participant Thursday after sitting out the previous day. The only player limited was defensive end Brett Keisel (foot). Tight end Heath Miller and safety Troy Polamalu rested Wednesday but were full go Thursday.
• Asked how the Steelers will get by without linebacker LaMarr Woodley (calf) for their final two games, LeBeau said, “It's the next man up. … LaMarr has missed quite a few games here recently. We try to plan for the event that we don't have all of our people all the time, and invariably that's the case.”
• The Steelers have recovered from their 0-4 start to have one of the NFL's best offenses during the second half of the season. “We could have easily gone in the tank at some point, and they've done nothing but come in and work, get better, work together and stick together,” offensive coordinator Todd Haley. “Those are usually really good signs.”
• The Steelers will play in Green Bay for only the second time since 1995. They won 20-10 in 2005 behind backup quarterback Charlie Batch. Polamalu had a 77-yard fumble return touchdown.
• Haley and the Steelers quarterbacks went to dinner last week at Capital Grille, Downtown, so who paid the four-figure tab? Not Roethlisberger, who has a $102 million contract, but rookie Landry Jones, who makes $405,000. Jones, a fourth-round pick, hasn't been seen since playing every snap of the Carolina preseason game. He doesn't even take many practice snaps because Bruce Gradkowski runs the scout team. “You'd love to go out there and play,” said Jones, who never has sat before at any level of his career. “It's been good for me and learning and getting adjusted to the speed of the game.”
Wouldn't he like to be on the active roster for at least one game? “That's why you're here, to play,” he said. “Right now, you're just trying to find different ways to contribute.” Such as by picking up the dinner tab.
• It might be difficult to envision Keisel in any uniform except Steelers black and gold. But the 35-year-old defensive end repeated Thursday what he said during training camp: He might play elsewhere next season if the Steelers don't offer him a new contract. “I feel I can still play,” he said. “When the time comes, I'll sit down with my family and decide what is best.”
Keisel (foot) has been out for most of a month but expects to play Sunday in Green Bay.