No fear of rust:** Coach Mike Tomlin choose to rest several starters against the Browns, including Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, Cameron Heyward, David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey. Tomlin said he isn't concerned about rust with the two-week layoff, which includes having a first-round playoff bye, but was more concerned with the potential of injuries in the season finale.
"There are always things that are capable of concerning you this time of year," said Tomlin. "You are capable of being concerned about rust. You are capable of being concerned about injury if we played a game this week. I prefer the rust equation. We get an automatic pass to the second round and we get to do so with all the people on our roster. We will deal with the rust element of it. We'll work and prepare and hopefully get better in the process.
"I don't buy into (the rust factor). We have been playing ball since July, every day. We will be fine."
Staying on schedule: The Steelers have a first-round playoff bye this week, but other than the fact that they are off for the weekend, the schedule is the same as it normally is during the regular season. The practice schedule for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mimics what it's like for a normal Sunday game, and that is just what Tomlin wants.
"The structure in which we work, it's good to have continuity in that area, rhythm," said Tomlin. "Guys know what time their cars need to pull up in that lot. What time we will be walking through those doors to take the field. What we do will be very specific to our given state and where we are. The structure in which we work, I did strive for continuity in those areas."
No ordinary Joe: Tomlin can't help but light up when he talks about Joe Haden, who the Steelers signed in the preseason after he was released by the Browns. Haden has shown what he can do on the field this year, but what Tomlin said really stands out is what he brings to the locker room.
"Joe is really good, man," said Tomlin. "We spend a lot of time talking about how significant his addition is. The thing that probably stands out to me and his teammates, is the teammate he is. We knew he was a quality player. We knew that before we acquired him. That has played out in games, on playing fields. He is a quality guy. He is a good teammate. He is good to the younger guys at his positon. He is a positive energy bringer. He is a lot of things you didn't know as well that are really positive. We will spend a lot of time in the future talking about how significant that pick up was for sure."