Learning process: Coach Mike Tomlin has been using a rotation system at the cornerback position, moving guys in and out to keep them fresh, and to have one step up and convincingly take the job across from Joe Haden. Tomlin said he isn't sure what the plan will be going into this Sunday's game against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium as of yet, as he hopes it plays out in practice this week.
"We have work to do in terms of looking at our practice plan and how guys perform and letting that be our guide in terms of those decision making things in terms of division of labor," said Coach Mike Tomlin.
One player who is holding his own out there is rookie Terrell Edmunds, who has started at strong safety with Morgan Burnett out of the lineup the last three weeks.
"The journey is sometimes a learning process and is sometimes on the job training," said Tomlin. "When you think of a guy like Edmunds, he is getting on the job training and having to deliver a winning performance at the same time. I believe he is up to the task. He is a talented, young guy. He is hard-working. But at the same time he respects his lack of experience. You see that in terms of his preparation, in the way that he leans on the veteran players.
"The other guys are simply just trying to take advantage of reps given and put their hand in the pile and be a positive contributor to our efforts. Guys like Coty (Sensabaugh), Mike Hilton, Artie Burns, Cam Sutton and others. We are getting a chance to play a lot of people. But those are some of the challenges and opportunities the NFL gives us, and defensive backs in particular, because on possession downs there are a lot of those guys employed in a lot of different ways in today's NFL."
Credit all around: T.J. Watt and his brother, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, are in a three-way tie in the NFL for the sack lead, and T.J. jumped into that lead with a three sack performance against the Falcons on Sunday.
Tomlin was asked how disruptive Watt, who had a total of eight tackles and a forced fumble, was in the game. His answer was simple.
"The stat line says it all. Very," said Tomlin. "But he was not alone. It was a collective rush, and that is usually the case."
Making the call: Tyler Matakevich and L.J. Fort combined on Sunday to make the calls for the defense, a job normally handled by Vince Williams. But with Williams out with a hamstring injury, the job fell on the two and could again depending on Williams' availability this week.
"I thought they did a good job," said Tomlin. "We'll continue to work that if the opportunity presents itself. Both guys are probably new to that circumstance, but not new to us. I just thought their experience in terms of being a part of the program made it less significant than maybe it appears to be."