- Not professional:* *Safety Mike Mitchell has drawn criticism from Jets Coach Rex Ryan for a play at the end of Sunday's game. The Jets' offense was in the victory formation when Mitchell leaped over the line to try and make a last-ditch attempt at possibly causing a turnover after the Steelers scored a touchdown just seconds earlier. Ryan called the play "bush league."
Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin was not pleased with it either. While safety Troy Polamalu will often try to make a similar play, trying to prevent a quarterback sneak on a short yardage play or the like, he has never done so in the same circumstances that Mitchell did.
"It was not professional. I'll say that," said Tomlin. "Mike is an emotional guy, new to us, learning how we do business and so forth. He came over and said something to me prior to that sequence on the sideline and to be honest with you I couldn't hear what he said, I just kind of acknowledged him and nodded and I guess he assumed that I gave him those instructions or okay for him to do that. We don't want to play football like that. We had many snaps in with to secure victory in that game and didn't.
"We'll educate Mike and move forward. I showed that play to the team yesterday and wanted to be clear about how we play and what we value. That is one to grow from."* 2. Position Flexibility: *It's something the Steelers have practiced for weeks, putting linebacker James Harrison at fullback in short yardage and goal line situations, but against the Jets it didn't work out the way it was planned. Harrison was inserted in the fourth quarter on a first-and-goal from the one-yard line, something that shouldn't have come as a surprise to any of the players even though there was confusion.
"James has been practicing at short yardage and goal line fullback for a number of weeks," said Tomlin. "We actually ran it out there at a home game a couple of weeks ago but there was a stoppage in play, we chose to go to another play and didn't execute it. James is a talented guy. He likes running down the center of people. That's an asset that can be valuable to us in short yardage and goal line and is. We're going to utilize it.
"That scenario and play or plays he was in there specifically didn't unfold in a positive manner like we intended for it to do. That's why we work. We'll keep working to utilize these guys in areas where they can help us even if it's outside of the norm."
- Veterans Day: The Steelers don't have to look far to say thank you to a veteran of the Armed Forces, as Army Captain Alejandro Villanueva is a member of the team's practice squad. Villanueva served three tours of duty in Afghanistan and is currently serving in the Army Reserve.
"I speak for the organization when I say that we are very appreciative of our men and women in the Armed Forces and the blanket of protection they have and continue to provide us as Americans," said Tomlin. "This year it hits very close to home for us because one of our teammates is a serviceman. West Point grad, Villanueva, we acknowledged him yesterday in our team meeting. We'll honor him not only today but all week. We'll carry him with us to Tennessee when we play this game this weekend, just as a sign or a token of our appreciation for not only the sacrifice that he had made, but all of the servicemen and women in our country.
"It's truly a humbling thing and it's great to have him be a part of us. If it makes it more personal in terms of understanding that sacrifice, what a great opportunity."
Making a mark:* *Wide receiver Martavis Bryant has made a huge impact since he started to see playing time beginning four games ago against Houston. Bryant, who started against Baltimore and the New York Jets, has 14 receptions for 310 yards and six touchdowns. Bryant was inactive the first six weeks of the season as he learned the offense and made adjustments to playing in the NFL, similar to the way receiver Antonio Brown was slowly worked into the passing game his rookie year.
"We're using him in package football," said Tomlin. "We're very cognizant of the things that we're asking him to do. We're keeping it simple so that he can play fast so he can utilize the skills that he has. He's a talented guy. He was a third-year junior when he came out. We've had quite a few of those over the years. We feel pretty comfortable about the ability to grow and develop those guys. That was Antonio Brown, who missed about nine games or so his rookie year, but was a critical part of our playoff run in his rookie season. I have an image of him running down the field with the ball attached to his head in the playoffs his rookie year. He did a lot of watching in a similar manner. Hopefully Martavis can ascend the way Antonio has. Not only during the course of that season, but over the course of his stay here."