Woodley elevating his game in second half of the season


By Mike Bires One reason why the Steelers can be dangerous if they get into the playoffs _ and that’s still a big if _ is the possibility of Troy Polamalu lining up again at strong safety. But another reason is LaMarr Woodley’s continued rise toward stardom. Right outside linebacker James Harrison, the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, received nationwide claim the past two seasons for the havoc he’s wreaked on opposing defenses. But last year in the playoffs, Woodley, the Steelers’ left outside ‘backer, had a six-to-one edge over Harrison in sacks. “He’s been that kind of guy since he’s been here,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of Woodley. “His rookie year, he came on late in the year. Late last year, he was playing good football. He’s a guy that’s on the rise at the appropriate time and that’s what makes him a good player.”Read More »

Q&A with Mike Tomlin


Q&A with Mike Tomlin Steelers coach Mike Tomlin met with the media Thursday after the last of the 14 scheduled voluntary organized team activity workouts. Mike Bires, who covers the Steelers for Inside Pittsburgh Sports, was among the reporters on hand. Here are portions of the interview: Q: How did you ward off complacency so what happened in 2006 to the Steelers doesn’t happen this year? A: “I am not concerned about what happened in ’05 or ’06, or in ’07 or ’08 for that matter. I am a singularly focused guy. My single focus is on developing a world championship-caliber team for 2009. 2008 was great – it was an awesome team. Where we are now is where we are. Where we are headed, more importantly than that, is our focus.” Q: Where do you from here in your third year as coach? A: “I better get better. ThatRead More »

Steelers GET warm White House welcome; GIVE back to the troops


By Mike Bires WASHINGTON, D.C. _ This time, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a much different experience than they did three years ago. There were no chants of “Here We Go Steelers!” among those assembled and no references by a U.S. president of Iron City beer which is brewed in Pittsburgh. This time, the Steelers were put to work. After a nine-minute salute to the Super Bowl XLIII champs on Thursday, Barack Omama had the Steelers stuffing 3,000 care packages for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I often say that the beauty of serving others is that anyone can do it,” Obama said from the White House’s South Lawn. “You don’t have to be President, and you don’t have to be a pro football player. All you need to do is to have a desire to make a difference, to give back to your community and to contribute to yourRead More »