2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Steelers 'open' to change, but options limited

By WILL GRAVES - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-05 16:07

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin insists he's ''not opposed to turning over any stone'' to breathe some life into his listless team.

Midway through the season, there may be no stones left. Not at 2-6.

Trades. Waiver wire signings. Minor starting lineup tweaks. Cutting underperforming players. Banning shuffleboard, pool and ping pong in the locker room. Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert have tried it all in the two months the franchise has appeared in free fall following a decade of nearly unparalleled success. Since reaching 6-3 with an overtime win against Kansas City last November, the Steelers are 4-11.

Tomlin stressed on Tuesday the potential for turning it around remains in the locker room, even after a 55-31 gouging by New England last weekend. Yet the Steelers couldn't change much in the middle of the season because the trade deadline has passed. The waiver wire is barren and the injured reserve list is thick with starters turned hobbled bystanders.

Any sweeping changes will have to wait until after the season. Until then, Tomlin will press on with an underachieving group that he had a major hand in putting together. He has faith better football is ahead.

''We've got 53 capable guys, plus eight on the practice squad, at our disposal and I consider all guys as viable options,'' he said. ''I think that would be selling them short if I didn't take that approach.''

While promising he would ''re-evaluate'' everything following the debacle against the Patriots, there appear to be no major moves in the offing heading into Sunday's game versus Buffalo (3-6).

Safeties Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, who took most of the responsibility after Tom Brady shredded Pittsburgh for 432 yards and four touchdowns, will start.

''I've got a great deal of confidence in them and their abilities to play and play winning football for us,'' Tomlin said.

The same goes for cornerback Ike Taylor if he's cleared to return from a concussion. Ditto nose tackle Steve McLendon and defensive end Brett Keisel, who anchor a defense that ranks 31st in yards rushing allowed. Tomlin declined to place blame in one particular place.

''There have been, popcorn if you will, a variety of things that create the end result,'' he said. ''Obviously, it doesn't require a lot of missteps in the National Football League to be out of place or to be out of whack, if you will. Obviously, we were not in step on Sunday.''

When that step may return is unclear.

Pittsburgh's second-half schedule includes Detroit, Cincinnati and Green Bay and two meetings with Cleveland, which appears to be passing the Steelers in the AFC North. If things don't improve, Pittsburgh could threaten the 1988 team's mark of 5-11, the franchise's worst record since Chuck Noll took over in 1970.

Tomlin isn't in the mood to look at the season as a whole yet, even with the Steelers seemingly already out of it a few days after Halloween.

''We're here to win,'' Tomlin said. ''That's our charge, that's our job, that's our passion. We're not getting it done consistently to this point. So, that's irritating and frustrating.''

Despite his anger, Tomlin pointed out he didn't see any ''blatant'' evidence of his players quitting during the fourth quarter on Sunday. He benched wide receiver Antonio Brown for a series after a blown assignment led to an interception. Other than that, he thinks his players remained engaged even as things got out of hand.

Even if he did, he has little room to make a statement. A quick scan of the two-deep roster reveals a list of players either still trying to figure things out - rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones and rookie safety Shamarko Thomas - or veterans who struggled elsewhere looking for a second (or third) chance at reviving their careers.

Tomlin doesn't appear concerned that his first stringers feel ''safe'' because they're not being pushed by the backups. The starting 22 includes 12 players who have a Super Bowl appearance on their resume, including eight who have at least one championship ring. That doesn't preclude them from having a rough day at work.

''I really think kind of more than anything that we were beaten,'' Tomlin said. ''And it happens from time to time, as humbling as it may seem. I think that we can grow from this and move forward.''

NOTES: G David DeCastro (ankle) and WR Markus Wheaton (finger) have been cleared to practice and should play on Sunday against the Bills ... LT Kelvin Beachum (left hip flexor), C Fernando Velasco (thigh) and DE Cameron Heyward (left knee contusion) could be limited early in the week.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Miles AustinMar 30 11:42a

Free-agent WR Miles Austin (Browns) will likely sign with the Philadelphia Eagles this week if all goes well with his physical, according to a source.

R. Griffin IIIMar 29 07:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will be the first-team quarterback during offseason workouts, according to head Jay Gruden, but Gruden also said he expects QB Kirk Cousins and [ More ]

Stevan RidleyMar 29 10:12a

Free-agent RB Stevan Ridley (knee) is scheduled to meet with a few teams this week. Ridley is expected to receive full medical clearance in around six weeks.

Andre EllingtonMar 27 07:52p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington, who averaged 20.6 touches per game in 2014 before being injured, won't have his role reduced in 2015, according to head coach Bruce Arians. [ More ]

C.J. AndersonMar 27 07:32p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson, who finished 2014 with 648 rushing yards in the last six games, will enter the 2015 season at the top of the running back [ More ]

Jonathan MartinMar 27 04:32p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27.

Alan BallMar 27 03:02p

Free-agent CB Alan Ball (Jaguars) signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jarrett BoykinMar 27 02:12p

Free-agent WR Jarrett Boykin (Packers) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nick FolesMar 27 01:22p

St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said it's the team's intention to draft a quarterback in this year's draft, despite trading for QB Nick Foles in the offseason. [ More ]

Dont'a HightowerMar 26 08:02p

New England Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder) will miss six to seven months after undergoing surgery on a torn right labrum. Hightower's availability for the beginning of the regular [ More ]

Brian QuickMar 26 06:52p

St. Louis Rams WR Brian Quick (shoulder) is making progress in recovering from a torn rotator cuff and separated shoulder he suffered last October. Head coach Jeff Fisher has [ More ]

Jay CutlerMar 26 06:32p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will head into the offseason as the team's No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, but head coach John Fox said there will be [ More ]

Danny LansanahMar 26 05:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah signed his one-year tender Thursday, March 26.

Jonathan MartinMar 26 04:52p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was waived Thursday, March 26.

Pat SimsMar 26 04:22p

Free-agent DT Pat Sims (Raiders) signed an undisclosed deal with the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday, March 26.

Victor CruzMar 26 01:32p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) 'looks really good and light,' according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Cruz started running last week six months after he tore the [ More ]

D. Heyward-BeyMar 26 11:52a

Free-agent WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (Steelers) re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers Wednesday, March 26. Heyward-Bey signed a one-year deal with the team, but financial terms were not disclosed.

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 10:53a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is disgruntled and reportedly wants out of Minnesota, but head coach Mike Zimmer said the team has no plans to trade him.

Cody LatimerMar 24 09:33p

The Denver Broncos plan to use WR Cody Latimer as the third receiver behind WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 2015. 'I think it's time for him to [ More ]

Casey MatthewsMar 24 06:32p

Free-agent LB Casey Matthews (Eagles) agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, March 24. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

R. Griffin IIIMar 24 04:42p

Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said that the team will go with the best player available in the 2015 NFL Draft with the No. 5 overall pick, which [ More ]

Michael CrabtreeMar 24 03:02p

Free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) is having a hard time being signed this offseason, reportedly due to concerns regarding lower-leg injuries and a negative perception about his attitude.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group