Tomlin Takes

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'Tomlin's Takes' on PI challenge, Benny & more

Not affected the process: One of the biggest, and most talked about, rule changes in the NFL this year has been the ability for coaches to challenge pass interference calls.

It’s also been one of the most unsuccessful rule changes for coaches who have chosen to use one of their challenges to try and get a call overturned.

Coach Mike Tomlin said the lack of success coaches have had in challenging the call hasn’t affected his process in deciding what to do, and it’s playing out the way he thought it would.

‘It really has not affected my process. I think that is what I anticipated, is that people weren’t going to have a great deal of success,” said Tomlin. “I think the intent of the rule was to change the catastrophic play, the plays that call the credibility of the game into question. I think that was the bar. The bar was extremely high. That was made very clear in the spring.

“I think early in September that bar moved a little bit and so we all start challenging a little bit more than we initially anticipated. Once that bar got back to where it was intended, I think we all need to fade away from the challenges. I know that I have.”

Benny coming back: Benny Snell football could be back in play for the Steelers this week and the timing couldn’t be any better with James Conner’s status up in the air after re-injuring his shoulder against the Browns last Thursday.

Tomlin said Snell has been cleared to return to practice and there are a few things he needs to show in practice this week to be able to play on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“Health first and foremost,” said Tomlin. “He has to be able to protect himself. Secondary to protecting himself he has to be able to protect the football. If he is capable of doing those things, then we evaluate his level of detail and overall readiness from an assignment standpoint. So, there are a couple of things we are looking at.”

Practice means prepared: The Steelers have made a slew of roster moves over the past week, including adding several players who were on the practice squads of other teams. Over the weekend they signed receiver Deon Cain off the Indianapolis Colts practice squad and running back Kerrith Whyte Jr. from the Chicago Bears practice squad, both to the 53-man roster.

While they might lack in game experience, Tomlin said signing players off practice squads rather than veterans who are not on any roster, has its benefits.

“Most of the veterans that are getting off the couch lack a certain readiness from a physical standpoint,” said Tomlin. “Guys that have been on practice squads are working every day, have the conditioning and readiness associated with working every day. That is always an element of the discussion.

“We also like the upside. We like to coach, instruct and teach. We don’t hide from that. We’re always excited about getting somebody with some talent that lacks some experience because it challenges us as coaches and that is something we covet as well.”

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