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

Giovani BernardOct 31 11:12a

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) is unlikely to play in Week 9.

Trent RichardsonOct 31 10:32a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is not on the injury report for Week 9, and should be able to play Monday, Nov. 3.

Rashad JenningsOct 31 10:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) is aiming to return for the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Ronnie HillmanOct 31 09:12a

Updating previous reports, Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) is expected to have his normal workload in Week 9, despite his limited practice repetitions.

DeAngelo HallOct 31 08:52a

Washington Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall (Achilles') tore his Achilles' again at home and had surgery to repair it Thursday, Oct. 30.

Ron JohnsonOct 30 08:22p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (back), DE Michael Bennett (toe), C Stephen Schilling (knee), CB Tharold Simon (knee), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), LB Malcolm Smith (groin), DT Jordan Hill [ More ]

Patrick WillisOct 30 07:52p

San Francisco 49res CB Tramaine Brock (toe) and LB Patrick Willis (toe) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Jimmie Ward (quadriceps) and CB Chris Culliver (hamstring) practiced in full.

Chris MatthewsOct 30 07:42p

The Seattle Seahawks re-signed WR Chris Matthews and TE Brett Brackett to their practice squad Thursday, Oct. 30.

Scott WellsOct 30 07:42p

St. Louis Rams OG Rodger Saffold (shoulder), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee), DT Aaron Donald (shoulder) and S Cody Davis (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Rodney McLeod [ More ]

Luke JoeckelOct 30 07:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars OT Luke Joeckel (concussion) has recovered nicely from the concussion he suffered in Week 8, and he could play in Week 9 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Joeckel [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

Arian FosterOct 30 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (knee) was limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Johnathan JosephOct 30 07:12p

Houston Texans LBs Brian Cushing (knee), Brooks Reed (groin) and Jeff Tarpinian (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. RB Alfred Blue (ankle), LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee), CB Johnathan [ More ]

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Justin TuckOct 30 06:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), CB Carlos Rogers (knee) and WR Kenbrell Thompkins (non-injury) did not [ More ]

Anthony CollinsOct 30 06:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Anthony Collins (foot) and LB Brandon Magee (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring) and DE Michael Johnson (hand) were limited.

Brian RobisonOct 30 06:32p

Minnesota Vikings DT Shariff Floyd (ankle, knee), TE Chase Ford (foot), CB Jabari Price (hamstring), CB Josh Robinson (ankle) and DE Brian Robison (glute) were limited in practice Thursday, [ More ]

Louis VasquezOct 30 06:22p

Denver Broncos S Quinton Carter (hamstring) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Lamin Barrow (concussion), TE Virgil Green (calf), LB Steven Johnson (ankle) and OG Louis Vasquez (illness) [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 30 06:22p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) was limited in practice for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 30.

Billy WinnOct 30 06:22p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring) and DE Phil Taylor (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DE Desmond Bryant (wrist), S Jim Leonhard (ankle), LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder), [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 06:12p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Chris JohnsonOct 30 06:12p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson, who carried the ball just three times for seven yards in Week 8, said he's frustrated with his limited role in the offense. [ More ]

Tom CrabtreeOct 30 06:02p

The New Orleans Saints waived TE Tom Crabtree Thursday, Oct. 30.

Patrick PetersonOct 30 05:42p

Arizona Cardinals S Tony Jefferson (head) and TE Troy Niklas (ankle) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DE Calais Campbell (knee), LB Kenny Demens (knee), S Rashad Johnson [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 30 05:22p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring) and LB Josh Martin (hamstring, knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Eric Berry (ankle) and CB Christopher Owens (knee) were [ More ]

Demario DavisOct 30 05:22p

New York Jets CB Darrin Walls (calf, knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OT Oday Aboushi (shoulder), CB Phillip Adams (groin), LB Antwan Barnes (knee), OG Willie Colon [ More ]

Keenan RobinsonOct 30 05:12p

Washington Redskins S Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) and OT Trent Williams (knee) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Ryan Kerrigan (wrist), LB Trent Murphy (knee), CB Tracy [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 05:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) practiced in full for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 30.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 05:02p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) will start against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 9, barring any setbacks this week in practice, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Mike PounceyOct 30 05:02p

Miami Dolphins OG Daryn Colledge (illness, back) LB Chris McCain (foot) and TE Dion Sims (toe) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Nate Garner (neck), LB Koa Misi [ More ]

Andre BranchOct 30 04:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Will Blackmon (finger), DE Andre Branch (groin), DE Chris Clemons (non-injury), LB Geno Hayes (non-injury) and DT Roy Miller (non-injury) didn't practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB [ More ]

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