2015 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

Brandon ColemanSep 2 10:03p

New Orleans Saints WR Brandon Coleman has impressed QB Drew Brees during training camp and the preseason. The quarterback said Tuesday, Sept. 2, that he has a great comfort level with Coleman.

Richard RodgersSep 2 09:43p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers is expected to see more opportunities in the passing game with WR Jordy Nelson (knee) done for the season.

Melvin GordonSep 2 08:23p

San Diego Chargers RBs Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead, Branden Oliver and Donald Brown will be part of a committee at running back this season, according to QB Philip Rivers. [ More ]

Randall CobbSep 2 07:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) said he'd be comfortable starting in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears even if he doesn't practice next week. However, wide receivers [ More ]

Giovani BernardSep 2 06:03p

Cincinnati Bengals RBs Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard both finished among the top-16 running backs in point-per-reception leagues last season.

Tom BradySep 2 04:33p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady doesn't look like he'll reach a settlement with the NFL. The league and the NFL Player's Associated have not had any talks regarding [ More ]

Victor CruzSep 2 04:03p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (calf) is doubtful to play Week 1, according to ESPNNewYork.com's Dan Graziano. Cruz has not yet been cleared to practice and did not participate in the preseason.

LeSean McCoySep 2 01:43p

Updating an earlier report, Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) may not be in great 'football shape' once Week 1 rolls around, according to a source. He's not at [ More ]

LeSean McCoySep 2 12:43p

Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) seems to be in some danger of missing the season opener Sept. 13. 'Well we certainly expect him to be ready to go, [ More ]

EJ ManuelSep 2 11:33a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is expected to remain on the team as the backup quarterback. There is growing expectations that QB Matt Cassel will be cut.

Matt CasselSep 2 09:23a

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel could be cut by the team, as they are internally discussing the option.

Joseph RandleSep 2 08:33a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle could have 10-15 carries per game with RB Darren McFadden slightly below that, in the opinion of beat writer Drew Davison

Travis CoonsSep 1 11:03p

Cleveland Browns PK Travis Coons edged out PK Carey Spear, winning the battle for the placekicking job. 'Yeah, it was close. I thought both guys handled themselves very well, [ More ]

Nick ToonSep 1 07:43p

New Orleans Saints WRs Nick Toon, Lance Lewis and R.J. Harris were released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Randall CobbSep 1 06:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) thinks his sprained right shoulder will be good to go to play in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears in 12 days. [ More ]

James ButlerSep 1 05:53p

Green Bay Packers WR James Butler and TE Harold Spears were released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Julius ThomasSep 1 05:23p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (finger) will undergo surgery on his injured finger Wednesday, Sept. 2, according to a source. Thomas is expected to miss four to five weeks.

Zac DysertSep 1 05:13p

Free-agent QB Zac Dysert (Broncos) was claimed by the Chicago Bears Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Tom BradySep 1 05:03p

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will know his fate by the end of this week. Judge Richard Berman said he will issue his decision and order by that time.

Matt BlanchardSep 1 04:53p

Green Bay Packers QB Matt Blanchard was released Tuesday, Sept. 1, according to a source.

Juron CrinerSep 1 04:32p

New York Giants RB Akeem Hunt (hamstring) was waived/injured Tuesday, Sept. 1. WRs Juron Criner and Derrick X. Johnson and TE Will Tye were also waived.

Robert HerronSep 1 04:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Robert Herron was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Phil TaylorSep 1 04:23p

Cleveland Browns DT Phil Taylor was released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Junior HemingwaySep 1 04:12p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Junior Hemingway was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Michael HillSep 1 04:12p

Dallas Cowboys RB Michael Hill (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, Sept. 1. WRs Antwan Goodley and David Porter and TE Brandon Barden were also waived.

Travis KelceSep 1 03:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (ankle) would be able to play if the Chiefs had a game Tuesday, Sept. 1, according to head coach Andy Reid. Kelce is recovering from an ankle sprain.

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 03:03p

Carolina Panthers WRs Jarrett Boykin and De'Andre Presley were waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Jace AmaroSep 1 01:33p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (shoulder) will have season-ending shoulder surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Erik LorigSep 1 12:33p

New Orleans Saints FB Erik Lorig was cut Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Nathan PalmerSep 1 11:53a

Denver Broncos WR Nathan Palmer was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Devonta FreemanSep 1 11:32a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman was the most active in practice Monday, Aug. 31, that he was been since a hamstring injury Aug. 6. It's unclear whether he'll play [ More ]

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 10:33a

Carolina Panthers WR Jarrett Boykin was released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

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