Tomlin Digs In

Understanding the importance of top-down messaging, Mike Tomlin took advantage of the cameras and microphones ...

... at his weekly press conference to set the tone for his wobbly and winless players:

"Frustration doesn't solve the issues," said the coach of the 0-3 Pittsburgh Steelers. "Work does."

Tomlin came away from watching the tape of the 40-23 loss to the Chicago Bears determined to "build on the positive" and "eliminate the negative." He mentioned three building blocks, and one was the performance of some of the young players.

"There was some growth," Tomlin said, and pointed in particular to Jarvis Jones and Shamarko Thomas.

Tomlin was also pleased that the Steelers started "moving the ball with more consistency" and received "solid contributions from the kicking game."

The Steelers outgained the Bears 459-258 and held Devin Hester to 26 yards on 2 kickoff returns and to a fair catch on 2 punts.

"Hopefully with work and an approach to our business this week, we can turn the negative into a positive," Tomlin said.

The negatives, of course, have been an inexperienced offensive line and injuries at tight end and running back. But Tomlin was pleased with the way Pro Bowl tight end Heath Miller came out of his first action.

Miller caught 3 passes for 35 yards while working under what Tomlin called "a pitch count." Tomlin said this week Miller will have "no restrictions whatsoever."

The running game not only got a boost from the play of Jonathan Dwyer on Sunday, it'll have rookie second-round pick Le'Veon Bell available for his first NFL game. Bell is a 6-1 1/2, 231-pounder who'll at least help the passing game.

Tomlin was asked how much Bell would play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings in London. "We'll let practice dictate that to us," he said. "But we do have a better sense of his overall conditioning than we did Heath a week ago."

Tomlin also expects cornerback Cortez Allen to return after missing two games with an ankle injury. Defensive end Brett Keisel and nose tackle Steve McLendon will miss early practices with hamstring injuries, but both are expected to play.

As for that final "negative," the poor play of the most inexperienced offensive line in the NFL, Tomlin said "I see improvement in the group. I see improvement in the unit -- obviously not enough."

To that end, Tomlin met with left guard Ramon Foster, the most experienced player since the injury to Maurkice Pouncey, and Tomlin said Foster "is committed to leading that group through these tough times."

As for the rotation of backup Kelvin Beachum at left and right tackle during Sunday's game, Tomlin said, "I think that was positive, not only for him but for the other two guys as well."

Tomlin answered a few questions about London and the horrible closing of the ping pong table to the younger players and was asked to identify some of the specific trouble spots.

"We're going to roll our sleeves up and keep our mouths shut," Tomlin said. "We're all falling short right now. And I mean that. Coaches included. So we're not trying to throw anybody under the bus or identify anybody as an Achilles' heel. The reality is we all need to continually work collectively together to solve our issues."

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