Colt McCoy in line to start against Steelers
» With veteran quarterbacks Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme nursing ankle injuries, rookie Colt McCoy is in line to make his first career start Sunday when the Browns visit Heinz Field. No matter who gets the nod at quarterback, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he also expects Browns wide receiver/return specialist Josh Cribbs to take significant snaps at the position. The Browns have employed Cribbs in the past against the Steelers as a quarterback in their “Wildcat” offense. In the two rivals’ meetings last season Cribbs rushed for a combined 132 yards on just 14 carries.
» The Steelers are as healthy as they have been since the early part of September. Right guard Trai Essex is the only player whose status is in question because of an injury. Essex, who has missed the last two games because of a high-ankle sprain, did some individual work Monday at practice. Nose tackle Chris Hoke, who missed the Steelers’ game against the Ravens with a sprained knee, practiced and is close to full strength, Tomlin said. “Chris Hoke doesn’t appear to be limited in any form or fashion,” Tomlin said.
» The ongoing competition between rookie wide receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders may have tilted in favor of the latter. Tomlin said yesterday that he hasn’t decided who will return kickoffs and punts Sunday — something Brown has done since the second game of the season. He said Sanders, who has not dressed since the season opener, is a candidate to do both against the Browns.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on a variety of subjects:
On whether the Steelers will kick the ball away from Browns return man Josh Cribbs:
“Weather is an element. We’ve faced him, at times, where we’d like to keep the ball away from him, and the climate has dictated that we weren’t given that option. I don’t anticipate the weather being as severe this time, but that’s a plan that we develop throughout the week with the elements being an element of it. He’s always been a thorn in our sides.”
On the Browns, who are in last place in the AFC North:
“They’re 1-4, yes, but they’ve probably played the toughest schedule to this point in the NFL. They’re better than their record.”
On returning following a bye:
“I always view the bye week with mixed emotions. It’s always good to step away and reflect a little bit, self-evaluate, make potential corrections and grow. But at the same time, you’re always nervous when you miss out on some action and there’s always some anxiety that comes with getting back to action.”
On Browns running back Peyton Hillis, who has rushed for 350 yards and scored five touchdowns:
“He’s a rough-and-tumble guy that wears you down. They’ve pounded some teams with him, the Baltimore Ravens included in that.”
On the prevalence of players using social media:
“We’ve got a general rule here. I don’t care whether they Tweet. I just don’t want them to Tweet business in any form or fashion. I’m not opposed to guys Tweeting or Facebooking or whatever it is they do now. Just don’t talk about my business.”
On if this is where he thought the Steelers would be at the quarter point of their season:
“I thought we’d be 4-0, but we’re 3-1 and we’re moving forward.”