Ringing the Bell: Coach Mike Tomlin went to bat for running back Le’Veon Bell, bringing him up after Sunday’s win against the Baltimore Ravens when the rookie rushed for a career-high 93 yards. During his post-game press conference Tomlin asked the media, who have been critical of Bell, “Any questions about Le’Veon Bell today? No?” On Tuesday he revealed why.
“You guys know I don’t care what you say or write, but I realize he is a young guy and he may,” said Tomlin. “I felt the need to assure him he is doing the right things, he is doing what we are asking him to do in the manner we are asking him to do it. I don’t want him to listen to the elevator music. I want him to listen to what matters and that is the opinion of the people that evaluate him.”
Roster move explained: The Steelers decided to activate linebacker
Kion Wilsonfrom the practice squad and waive veteran running back Isaac Redman to give them help on special teams and depth at linebacker. Wilson opened the season on the active roster, but was waived on Oct. 9 and re-signed to the practice squad.
“I thought that Kion Wilson provided more flexibility for us as a teamer,” said Tomlin. “Isaac has been inactive the last several weeks. Kion is a linebacker and viable special teams-like body. Given the things that have transpired over the last several weeks with Jarvis (Jones) missing time and others, I thought it was best to get him up on the 53 (man roster) and available to us.”
Time to step it up: Cornerback
Curtis Brownwas inactive against the Ravens in favor of fellow corner Isaiah Green, a player who has been on and off the active roster throughout the season. Tomlin said it has nothing to do with injury, but was just a decision he made.
“Curtis is a top flight special teams’ player but hasn’t been playing that way over the last several weeks,” said Tomlin. “I chose to play Isaiah.”
Another player who Tomlin would like to see improvement from is punter
Zoltan Mesko, whose only punt against the Ravens went for just 36 yards.
“It’s been a mixed bag until this point,” said Tomlin. “It’s been inconsistent. Just about every game over the last three games he has had what I call a junior varsity punt. Thankfully we only punted once in the game, negatively he didn’t get an opportunity to redeem himself from the punt. We need more consistency there.”
And while Tomlin liked what he saw from the offensive line against the Ravens, he still thinks it is too soon to say they are gelling.
“It would be premature to say that,” said Tomlin.
- Not an issue: When you start a season off 0-4 a team’s confidence can definitely take a hit, but Tomlin said that was never an issue.
“I never sensed a lack of confidence in our guys,” said Tomlin. “I sensed some frustration and rightfully so based on how it was we were playing. I can’t say I ever sensed a lack of confidence in our guys.”
On the injury front: Rookie receiver
Markus Wheatonwill miss his third straight game with a finger injury, but he is the only player Tomlin has ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.
Linebackers Lawrence Timmons (broken left hand) and
LaMarr Woodley(right knee), tackle Kelvin Beachum(ribs), defensive end Brett Keisel(ribs), tight end Richard Gordon(toe sprain), tackle Marcus Gilbert(quadriceps), receiver Jerricho Cotchery(abdominal strain) and defensive end Cameron Heyward(illness) are on the long injury list and all could be limited in practice to start the week. Linebacker Sean Spence, who returned to practice last week for the first time since the 2012 preseason, has a hand injury and his availability to practice is not known.
Levi Brownhad surgery in Birmingham, Alabama after tearing his triceps in the pregame warm-ups against the Jets.