2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Steelers still focused on winning, not 2014

By WILL GRAVES - AP Sports Writer
    2013-12-10 18:16

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The playoffs are practically off the table for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

So, apparently, is planning ahead to 2014.

Coach Mike Tomlin stressed Tuesday his team is focused on beating AFC North leader Cincinnati on Sunday night, not treating the final three weeks of the season as an extended job interview.

The last time Tomlin checked, he is paid to win games not play out the string.

''I don't expect the mentality to change,'' Tomlin said. ''I know mine won't, and I know the presentation of material or the approach to preparation, or even our intentions in terms of how we're going to go about victory are not going to change.''

The Steelers (5-8) saw any real postseason hopes vanish when Antonio Brown's left foot stepped out of bounds at the Miami 12 on the final play of a 34-28 loss to the Dolphins.

All it really did, however, was put the finishing touches on a disappointing fall that began when Pittsburgh dropped its first four games.

After spending two months trying to climb out of that massive hole, Tomin acknowledged his team's winless September was ''catastrophic.''

''When you start 0-4, you understand the ramifications of that,'' Tomlin said.

The Steelers' bid to become the second team in NFL history to make the playoffs after such a miserable opening four weeks is now all but gone.

That doesn't mean Tomlin is necessarily displeased with what he's seen. The team that couldn't run the ball and couldn't take it away three months ago has found a way to do a little bit of both recently.

Troy Polamalu picked up his fifth career touchdown with a 19-yard interception return for a score and rookie running back Le'Veon Bell is becoming the dynamic playmaker the Steelers envisioned when they took him in the second round of the draft.

''Obviously, we haven't been 9-0 since that (start) but I do think that we have answered some of those questions and have improved in some of those areas,'' Tomlin said.

Just not enough to get back to .500.

''It is a very small margin of error when you lose the first four games,'' safety Ryan Clark said. ''For us, you can't split quarters of the season. If you lose four games, somewhere in there you need a four-game winning streak to even it out.''

It hasn't happened.

Now Pittsburgh needs to win out it if wants to avoid its first losing season since 2003.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger pledged there would be ''no quit'' in the Steelers but they find themselves at a crossroads.

Few players in the locker room have endured a December with nothing at stake.

Pittsburgh played a meaningless finale against Cleveland to end 2012. The Steelers drummed the Browns to avoid a losing season. They need to beat the Bengals and Green Bay over the next two weeks to even make that a possibility this time around.

''It's just been that season you know?'' cornerback Ike Taylor said. ''We don't want it to be like that, but that's how it is man. It's very frustrating, very frustrating.''

The one thing the season isn't, though, is over. It's a message Tomlin doesn't think he'll have to repeat throughout the week.

The coach whose mantra is ''the standard is the standard'' knows his players are aware that it doesn't change even if the circumstances do.

''We are putting together a plan that is geared toward defeating the Cincinnati Bengals,'' he said.

Something the Steelers failed to do in a 20-10 loss on the road in September. The defeat dropped Pittsburgh to 0-2.

The Steelers insisted it wasn't time to panic. Two more losses followed and despite improved play over the past nine weeks, Pittsburgh is four games back in the division for the rematch.

Pittsburgh for once enters the final stretch relatively healthy. Defensive end Brett Keisel, who has missed three of the past four games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, worked out on Monday and could return. Left tackle Kelvin Beachum, who sat out last week with a knee injury, could also return.

Whoever is on the field, they will be the players Tomlin believes gives the team the best chance to win now. He will not play rookies or backups just to give them experience. That's now how the Steelers do things.

''I am always in continual evaluation of the talent,'' he said. ''And I also put preparing and winning this week at a premium.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Knowshon MorenoSep 2 09:33a

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller totaled nearly 20 percent (140 yards) of his season yardage total (709 yards) on his longest four carries of the 2013 season. He had [ More ]

J.J. WattSep 2 04:23a

The Houston Texans signed DL J.J. Watt to a new long-term contract on Monday, Sept. 1. Watt's extension is a six-year deal worth $100 million, of which $51.876 million is guaranteed money.

Kyle Van NoySep 2 04:23a

Detroit Lions LB Kyle Van Noy (core muscle) could miss as many as eight games as he recovers from core muscle surgery. He could be placed on short-term IR as a result.

Josh BoyceSep 2 03:12a

The New England Patriots signed LB Jake Bequette, DL Deontae Skinner, OL Chris Martin, S Kanorris Davis, LS Charley Hughlett, CB Daxton Swanson and WR Josh Boyce to the [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsSep 2 01:02a

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (ribs) said he felt fine after practice Monday, Sept. 1, and hopes to be on the field in Week 1.

A.J. EddsSep 2 12:43a

The New York Jets re-signed LB A.J. Edds Monday, Sept. 1.

Kevin DorseySep 2 12:03a

The Green Bay Packers signed WR Kevin Dorsey, C Garth Gerhart, WR Alex Gillett, RB Michael Hill, LB Adrian Hubbard and DE Luther Robinson to the practice squad Monday, Sept. 1.

Tim BenfordSep 1 11:52p

The Dallas Cowboys signed WR Tim Benford, DE Kenneth Boatright, C Ronald Patrick, CB Micah Pellerin, LB Keith Smith, LB William Smith and FB Nikita Whitlock to the practice squad Monday, Sept. 1.

Devon StillSep 1 10:42p

The Cincinnati Bengals signed OT Dan France, TE Kevin Greene, WR Cobi Hamilton, DT David King, WR Colin Lockett, CB Onterio McCalebb, DE Sam Montgomery, C Trevor Robinson, DT [ More ]

Isaiah FreySep 1 10:33p

The Chicago Bears signed WR Josh Bellamy, C Taylor Boggs, DT Brandon Dunn, DB Isaiah Frey, OG Ryan Groy, LB DeDe Lattimore, DB Albert Louis-Jean, DB Terrance Mitchell, DE [ More ]

Bryan WaltersSep 1 09:33p

The Seattle Seahawks re-signed free-agent WR Bryan Walters (Seahawks) to a contract Monday, Sept. 1. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

J. CunninghamSep 1 09:33p

The St. Louis Rams re-signed TE Justice Cunningham (ankle) and placed him on the season-ending reserve/injured list Monday, Sept. 1.

Quentin GrovesSep 1 09:33p

The Tennessee Titans signed free-agent LB Quentin Groves (Texans) to an undisclosed contract Monday, Sept. 1.

Charles JohnsonSep 1 09:23p

Free-agent C Josh Allen (Buccaneers), C Thomas Austin (Colts), OG Karim Barton (Browns), CB Akeem Davis (Redskins), LB Larry Dean (Vikings), TE Richard Gordon (Dolphins), TE Marcel Jensen (Vikings), [ More ]

Michael SamSep 1 08:02p

The Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League owns the rights to free-agent DE Michael Sam (Rams). The team has reached out to him, but there is no word [ More ]

Jeremiah GeorgeSep 1 08:02p

The New York Jets placed LB Jeremiah George on no-recall waivers Monday, Sept. 1.

Tim FuggerSep 1 08:02p

The New York Jets placed DE Tim Fugger (ankle) on no-recall waivers from the reserve/injured list Monday, Sept. 1, and he received an injury settlement.

Phil BatesSep 1 08:02p

The Seattle Seahawks placed WR Phil Bates on no-recall waivers Monday, Sept. 1.

Don JonesSep 1 08:02p

The New England Patriots claimed CB Don Jones (Dolphins) off waivers Monday, Sept. 1.

Derek CarrSep 1 06:42p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr will be the starting quarterback Week 1.

Charles JohnsonSep 1 05:42p

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agents WR Charles X. Johnson (Browns) and OG Karim Barton (Browns) to their practice squad Monday, Sept. 1.

Khalid WootenSep 1 05:32p

The Tennessee Titans signed free-agent CB Khalid Wooten (Titans) to their practice squad Monday, Sept. 1.

Phillip AdamsSep 1 04:52p

The New York Jets signed free-agents CB Phillip Adams (Seahawks) and released WR Quincy Enunwa Monday, Sept. 1.

Korey ToomerSep 1 04:22p

The Dallas Cowboys signed free-agent LB Korey Toomer (Seahawks) and released CB Jemea Thomas Monday, Sept. 1.

Case KeenumSep 1 04:22p

The St. Louis Rams claimed QB Case Keenum off waivers from the Houston Texans Monday, Sept. 1.

Ryan SuccopSep 1 04:22p

The Tennessee Titans signed free-agent PK Ryan Succop (Chiefs) to an undisclosed deal and released PK Travis Coons Monday, Sept. 1.

James IhedigboSep 1 04:22p

Detroit Lions SS James Ihedigbo (leg), FS Don Carey (undisclosed) and LB Kyle Van Noy (abdomen) did not practice Monday, Sept. 1.

Garrett GilbertSep 1 04:03p

The St. Louis Rams signed free-agents QB Garrett Gilbert (Rams), LB Kevin Reddick (Saints), SS Matt Daniels (Rams), LB Denicos Allen (Panthers) and OT Sean Hooey (Rams) to their practice squad Monday, Sept. 1.

Bruce IrvinSep 1 03:52p

Seattle Seahawks WR Kevin Norwood (foot) and LB Bruce Irvin (hip) may play Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Corey PetersSep 1 03:32p

Atlanta Falcons DT Corey Peters (Achilles') is still iffy for the regular season opener. Head coach Mike Smith said he wants Peters to practice in pads Wednesday, Sept. 3, before making a decision.

Trai TurnerSep 1 03:12p

Carolina Panthers OG Trai Turner (groin) will start at right guard Sunday, Sept. 7 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to head coach Ron Rivera, though C Fernando Velasco may spot him at times.

Kyle WilliamsSep 1 03:02p

The Kansas City Chiefs released WR Kyle Williams Monday, Sept. 1.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group