By Teresa Varley
The Steelers ground game got off to a slow start this season with the team managing just 36 yards rushing in the season opener against the Tennessee Titans.
They took giant steps against the Bears, with a combined 22 carries for 105 yards, but the numbers mean nothing to Coach Mike Tomlin when there isn't a "W" in the win column, because for him, wins and losses are the bottom line.
"I wasn't pleased because we didn't win, and ultimately, that's going to be the approach that I take," said Tomlin. "I think the longer that I have this job, I'm less concerned about storylines or personas and I'm more concerned about winning. I think that the great teams are capable of winning in many forms or fashions and playing to their strengths on a week-to-week basis based on the matchup.
"I thought a great deal about that this off-season. You study a team like New England, and you watch them walk into a stadium offensively week-to-week; they can be whatever they choose to be. They can beat you with four wides, three wides, three tight ends, and it makes it very difficult for them to prepare for and ultimately beat. We have a desire to win a bunch of games. We have some guys who are capable of making plays. We have three or four wide outs that we're comfortable with, two or three tight ends that we're comfortable with, two or three backs that we're comfortable with. We want to kind of create that same persona."
Linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who had an ankle injury, was not part of the injury report on Tuesday and when asked if he is fine now, Tomlin's answer was a simple, "Yes he is."
That likely means that Timmons will see more action against the Bengals on Sunday after missing the Titans game and being eased back into action against the Bears.
"We wanted to keep a snap total on him," said Tomlin of Timmons play against the Bears. "The way we chose to monitor that was to let Keyaron Fox play in base and (Timmons) played in nickel. Then we balanced it out by playing Lawrence some in base if we wanted to get him some work.
"I thought it went relatively well. He played a decent amount of snaps. Both men were able to contribute on special teams. I think with another week of work he is going to be ready to go and we will be able to proceed with no worries about watching his snap total."
Tomlin said he is not concerned about kicker Jeff Reed's psyche following his performance against the Bears, which included two missed field goals. Tomlin said he talked to Reed a little bit, but knows he doesn't have to worry about the veteran kicker.
"I chit chat with Jeff, but kicking is not in my area of expertise," said Tomlin. "I'll leave that to him. I'm extremely confident that he's capable of doing the job and doing it at a high level. I think we carried him off the field a week before. But that's the story of the National Football League, isn't it? If he's a professional, and I know that he is, he'll bounce back and deliver winning performances for us again."