Tue Sep 27 3:32pm ET
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin questions an official during the second half of the team's NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. The Browns won 29-17. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) throws a pass during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/David Richard)
PITTSBURGH (AP) There are plenty of people concerned with the Pittsburgh Steelers offense, including a significant chunk of the players whose job it is to make it go.
Don't count coach Mike Tomlin among them.
While Tomlin is hardly pleased with what he's seen in general from the Steelers following back-to-back losses that have dropped them to 1-2 heading into Sunday's visit by the New York Jets (1-2), he's not panicking either.
It's still September. The season is longer than ever.
So rather than blow everything up - or specifically, bench starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky in favor of rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett - Tomlin is essentially doubling down.
Not only is he not overly worried about an offense that ranks 31st in yards through three weeks, he believes it is heading in the right direction.
''Largely I'm seeing improvements at all areas, whether it's individuals or whether it's the collective and so it's our job to tune out the noise and remain committed to the path that we're on,'' Tomlin said Tuesday.
A path that still includes Trubisky, whose early returns in Pittsburgh largely mirror what he produced during four enigmatic seasons in Chicago from 2017-20.
Trubisky's quarterback rating of 77.7 is 29th among active starters and his 5.5 yards per pass attempt is last.
Tomlin anticipated an adjustment period with Trubisky taking over for Ben Roethlisberger. The growing pains are difficult to miss. Pittsburgh's offense is running in fits and starts while it searches for an identity that isn't readily apparent with October looming.
Still, Tomlin is in no mood to be reactionary.
''I expect our guys not to blink and to continue to work,'' he said. ''And so I'm here to display that as a leader and I intend to.''
Slow starts are nothing new for Pittsburgh. The Steelers are a combined 9-10-1 in September going back to 2017. Three times in that span they managed to reach the playoffs and in one of the years they didn't (2019), they somehow put together a 7-1 midseason stretch following a 1-4 start with Mason Rudolph and Devlin ''Duck'' Hodges at quarterback after Roethlisberger was lost for the season with a right elbow injury suffered just before halftime of a Week 2 loss to Seattle.
Tomlin acknowledged the team is ''hacked off'' and while he understands if the chants at Acrisure Stadium for Pickett could grow louder if Trubisky doesn't generate much against New York, he has no plans to heed them.
If anything, Tomlin thinks Trubisky took a step forward last Thursday against Cleveland, a game in which he threw for a season-best 206 yards and ran for a touchdown, though he also failed to lead the Steelers into the end zone in the second half of a game that was there for the taking.
Tomlin said he's seen Trubisky progress ''in all areas,'' including decision-making and the ability to make plays with his legs. The Steelers signed Trubisky due in part to his experience.
Things didn't always go smoothly in Chicago for Trubisky at times yet the Bears still made the playoffs twice in his four years as a starter. He spent a season in Buffalo resetting his career and came to Pittsburgh even while facing the unenviable task of replacing a likely future Hall of Famer.
Trubisky has said all the right things while the offense tries to find itself. His coach seems intent on giving him every opportunity to succeed.
''We're in a no blink business, particularly if we believe in what it is that we do and the people that we're doing it with,'' he said. ''Sometimes you just got to show steely resolve and smile in the face of adversity.''
NOTES: S Minkah Fitzpatrick is in the concussion protocol, though Tomlin said it's too early in the week to know if Fitzpatrick will be available against New York. ... CB Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring) could miss time after being injured in Cleveland. ... P Pressley Harvin III is dealing with a hip issue. ... DT Montravius Adams has been bumped to the top of the depth chart, replacing veteran Tyson Alualu.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (ankle, back) could be held out of action in Week 4 against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night. According to head coach Mike McDaniel, Tagovailoa would be limited in practice and questionable for the game if it were a normal week. The third-year signal-caller "will do everything he can" to play, but the Dolphins seem confident in backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater if he isn't able to suit up. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle figure to get a bit of a downgrade, but both will remain must-start options in what could be a high-scoring affair. Bridgewater would be nothing more than a low-end QB2 if he is to start on Thursday.
New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll said that wide receivers Kadarius Toney (hamstring) and Wan'Dale Robinson (knee) are "getting closer," but it sounds like they will need to make more progress this week in order to play in Week 4 against the Chicago Bears. Neither player was active for the Monday night loss to the Dallas Cowboys, and Robinson has missed the last two games. The G-Men just lost Sterling Shepard (knee) to a torn ACL as well, so they're receiving depth is already being tested early in 2022 for the second straight season. With Kenny Golladay disappearing from the game plan, Richie James and David Sills have taken on bigger roles in the passing attack the last two weeks.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Cyril Grayson is visiting with the Washington Commanders on Tuesday. The Bucs gave Grayson an injury settlement before cutting him at the beginning of this month, but he's hoping to latch on with another team for the 2022 season. The 28-year-old had 11 receptions on 16 targets for 215 yards and two touchdowns in his three seasons in Tampa, with the vast majority of that production coming last year in five games (three starts). If he's signed by the Commanders, he'll provide receiving depth behind Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel, Dyami Brown, Cam Sims and Dax Milne.
The Buffalo Bills are hosting veteran free-agent cornerback Xavier Rhodes on a visit on Tuesday, according to a source. The Bills are extremely banged up in their secondary after the first three weeks of the season, so they could use some veteran experience and depth. Cornerbacks Dane Jackson (neck) and rookie Christian Benford (hand) are injured and Tre'Davious White (knee) remains on Injured Reserve. Safety Micah Hyde (neck) is done for the year and safety Jordan Poyer (foot) was inactive in the Week 3 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Rhodes, 32, was a former first-rounder for the Minnesota Vikings back in 2013, but he'd merely be a short-term stopgap at the position for Buffalo. He played in 13 games last year for the Colts and had 39 tackles (32 solo), an interception, seven passes defensed and a fumble recovery.
Updating an earlier report, New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (knee) suffered a torn left anterior cruciate ligament and is done for the season.
Fantasy Spin: David Sills had four targets in each of the two games he has played with five catches for 57 yards. He figures to see increased time unless the team changes its stance on Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton.
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (concussion) is in the league's concussion protocol, according to head coach Mike Tomlin. Fitzpatrick was assessed after the Week 3 game against the Cleveland Browns last Thursday night. The 25-year-old four-time All-Pro should now be considered questionable to play in Week 4 against the New York Jets by his fantasy managers in IDP leagues. When healthy, he is a must-start defensive back in IDP leagues, but fantasy managers might have to pivot to another option this weekend if he can't get cleared. Through the first three weeks, Fitzpatrick has 24 tackles (14 solo), two interceptions (one for a touchdown) and two passes defensed. Check back later this week to see if he has made progress in the protocols.
The Chicago Bears placed wide receiver Byron Pringle (calf) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday and signed linebacker Joe Thomas off their practice squad to the active roster in a corresponding move. Pringle suffered the injury in the Week 3 win over the Houston Texans, and he'll now have to miss at least the next four games. Through his first three games with the Bears, the 28-year-old caught just two of his three targets for 33 yards and no touchdowns. Darnell Mooney and Equanimeous St. Brown have been the team's top two wideouts, and Dante Pettis should step into the No. 3 role with Pringle injured. Rookie Velus Jones Jr. (hamstring) has yet to make his NFL debut in 2022 due to a hamstring injury.
Detroit Lions star wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (ankle) had encouraging tests done on Monday on the right ankle injury that he suffered in the Week 3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, according to sources. The Lions will be cautious with St. Brown, but if he misses any time, it shouldn't be anything long-term. It's good to know that the 22-year-old second-year wideout won't be missing extended time, but his status for the Week 4 contest against the Seattle Seahawks is now up in the air. Fantasy managers will have a better idea of whether he can play later in the week. St. Brown has been a must-start this year, catching 23 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns through three games. If he is unable to play this weekend, DJ Chark, Josh Reynolds and tight end T.J. Hockenson would likely be the team's top three pass-catchers.
Updating a previous report, New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (knee) suffered a torn left ACL in the Monday night loss to the division-rival Dallas Cowboys, according to head coach Brian Daboll. Shepard will now miss the rest of the season after playing in just seven games in 2021 due to various injuries, including a torn Achilles. It's a tough break for Shepard and the Giants, as he was their top pass-catcher through three games, catching 13 of his 24 targets for 154 yards and a touchdown. Kadarius Toney and rookie Wan'Dale Robinson were both inactive in Week 3. Rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger and receivers Richie James and David Sills combined for 10 receptions in the loss to Dallas. Toney has the most fantasy upside of any Giants receiver, but he hasn't been able to stay on the field early in his career.
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (knee) suffered a serious left knee injury in the Monday night loss to the division-rival Dallas Cowboys, according to multiple sources. A final diagnosis will come on Tuesday, but Shepard's season is likely over. It was a non-contact injury late in the fourth quarter of the Week 3 game, and his teammates and Cowboys players were consoling the 29-year-old pass-catcher as if his season were already over as he was being carted off the field. Shepard was limited to just seven games in 2021 due to multiple injuries, the big one being a torn Achilles. It will be a big loss for the team's receiving corps, as Shepard had been their most productive receiver through three weeks with 13 catches on 24 targets for 154 yards and a touchdown.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott's fractured right thumb no longer has any swelling and is healing properly after he had his stitches removed. He told NFL Network's Jane Slater that the Week 5 game against the Los Angeles Rams is a game that he could possibly start. Slater gets the sense that Prescott would go in Week 4 against the Washington Commanders if he could, but the Cowboys will be smart with their starting signal-caller. The 29-year-old hasn't played since the season opener when he fractured his right thumb, but he's made excellent progress and his return is on the horizon. However, Dallas is now 2-0 with Cooper Rush taking over and they won't be in a rush to bring Prescott back too soon. Prescott should be stashed in all fantasy formats, as he'll most certainly be back as the starter under center when the Cowboys deem he is ready.
Dynasty | Cooper Rush was 21-of-31 for 215 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptionis. Dynasty Analysis: Rush was good, not great but notched his second straight victory as a starter. It was an efficient performance. Dak Prescott owners shouldn't be too concerned yet, but if the veteran continues to miss time and Rush continues to log victories, the seat may get a little warm down in Dallas. Prescott currently sits as our QB9 but could see a bit of a dip if the winning trends continue for the backup and rumors continue to swirl.
Dynasty | Tony Pollard was outstanding Monday night, rushing for 105 yards on 13 carries. Dynasty Analysis: Pollard showed more burst than his 27-year-old running mate, Ezekiel Elliott averaging 8.1 yards per carry. Pollard wasn't heavily involved in the passing game in this one, seeing just one target. Elliott looked good as well, carrying the ball 15 times for 73 yards and a touchdown. Pollard continues to close the gap in our rankings and is currently just three spots behind Zeke as the RB27. This could be the week he leapfrogs the veteran for good.
Dynasty | Noah Brown hauled in five of seven targets for 54 yards. Dynasty Analysis: Brown continues to be involved in the offense with Cooper Rush at the helm and Michael Gallup on the mend. Week four will be the true litmus test of his value going forward as Gallup is set to return. Brown has out snapped rookie Jalen Tolbert, who ranks as our WR55, may continue to fall down the ranks if Brown continues to impress. The return of the Dak could quickly flip the script.
Dynasty | Kenny Golladay had zero catches on three targets Monday night with a crushing late drop. Dynasty Analysis: Golladay had already been on thin ice with the new regime in the Big Apple and the drop on Monday night will probably relegate him back to inactive status on gamedays, especially with Kadarius Toney (WR53) and Wan'Dale Robinson (WR58) on the mend. Richie James also isn't going away as he caught four of five targets. Currently the WR93, expect the former Detroit Lion to disappear for good after the poor performance.
Dynasty | Daniel Bellinger set new season and career highs in snaps, targets, and receptions. Dynasty Analysis: Bellinger was involved early and often Monday night, showing why many analysts were high on the rookie this offseason. The 60% snap rate was 2% higher than last week and the five targets were easily the most he has seen. The Georgia alum was able to convert that into four catches for 41 yards. Currently the rookie TE7, expect him to climb after the solid performance.
Updating previous reports, Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett (undisclosed) was discharged from the hospital Monday, Sept. 26, with non-life-threatening injuries. Garrett's accident occurred when he swerved to miss an animal on a wet road, and his car flipped multiple times.
Fantasy Spin: Garrett sounds like he could miss some time, which hurts IDP owners of the DE1. Plan to replace him for at least the next week or two.
Free-agent CB Xavier Rhodes (Colts) is visiting the Buffalo Bills Tuesday, Sept. 27.
New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (knee) suffered a serious knee injury Monday, Sept. 26, and his season is likely over, according to sources. He'll have tests to confirm Tuesday, Sept. 27.
Fantasy Spin: The Giants have some decisions to make with Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton rarely being used. David Sills has had four targets in each of the two games he has played with five catches for 57 yards to show for it. He'll gain some traction and be someone worth consideration off waivers for depth.
Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen (hamstring) is expected to practice this week.
Fantasy Spin: That sounds like he has a good chance to play in Week 4 against the Houston Texans. He'll be a great WR2, but he and his quarterback are still banged up with some re-injury concerns.