Tomlin: No Changes

Even though the 5-8 Pittsburgh Steelers are all but mathematically eliminated from the playoff race, Mike Tomlin won't be making any lineup changes just to suit the younger players.

Or the fans.

Markus Wheaton for Emmanuel Sanders?

No thank you.

Shamarko Thomas for Ryan Clark?

Not a chance.

Mike Adams might stay at left tackle in place of Kelvin Beachum, but only if Beachum's knee injury holds him back.

One incredulous reporter asked Tomin "Are you saying that you're not ready to play to get looks for next year? You're just going with the best guys in the starting lineup?"

"There's no question about that," Tomlin said. "I didn't lead any of the discussion in that direction at all, so that would be very clear, yes."

In spite of two recent down-to-the-wire losses, Tomlin likes the way his team has responded from its 0-4 start and wants it to finish strong.

"Let me say this," Tomlin said. "I am continually evaluating young talent in the midst of doing the things we desire to do, which is prepare and win this week. It's not like it's a one or the other proposition. The evaluation of young talent is not only within stadiums but it's also within this building in terms of some of the things they do on the practice field. That's forever. It's always ongoing. I really think it's kind of naïve and not realistic to assume that you either do one or the other. I am always in continual evaluation of the talent. And I also put preparing and winning this week at a premium."


Tomlin thought the 34-28 loss Sunday had more to do with the Steelers making fewer splash plays that the Miami Dolphins than it did the following decisions:

* On letting Troy Polamalu return a missed field goal attempt rather than taking the ball at the Pittsburgh 42 --

"That situation and that structure is one of the purest scoring opportunities in football because you've got non-runners and non-tacklers on field goal units. So, when given an opportunity to search for a splash play like that, we'll be aggressive, particularly at the end of the half. ... We were extremely close to getting seven. We were an ankle tackle away from some open grass and a probable touchdown."

* On Le'Veon Bell getting only 10 touches in the final three quarters after receiving 10 in the first quarter --

"I am comfortable with how the game unfolded. We ran the ball effectively in the first half of the football game. It was an asset to us. I would have liked to have scored more than seven points. We scored 21 points in the second half. That was better than the first half."

* On passing instead of punting on fourth-and-10 from the Pittsburgh 10 with 2:33 left --

"I liked the way our offense was moving the ball, quite frankly. We had scored 21 points in the second half and we had kind of stopped ourselves in instances, as opposed to them stopping us. ... I was comfortable with those guys. They had delivered in a similar circumstance a week ago in Baltimore. Ben, putting the ball in his hands is always a good approach for me and us. I think there's a great deal of comfort in that. So, I utilized a timeout."


Can't let a week go by without this section header.

But Tomlin did receive agreement from the NFL director of officiating that Ben Roethlisberger's lateral -- one of several on the game's final play -- was backward, and that the touchdown would've stood had Antonio Brown not stepped out of bounds unprovoked at the Miami 12.

"It wasn't a lack of judgment or anything on Antonio's part. That's silly," Tomlin said. "It was a tough surface to play on. I think it was exhibited not only in terms of his inability not to stay in bounds but the ability in which he had to sit that last defender down as he faked the cutback. It's just an element of football. The elements are part of the equation. It was in the game and it was on that play."


* LT Beachum (knee) could play this week, but will be limited during the early portions of the week.

* Same for DE Brett Keisel (foot), who had an extended workout Monday and will be watched closely over the course of the week.

* Tomlin said he expects "no steps backwards" from RG David DeCastro, NT Steve McLendon and OLB LaMarr Woodley, who recovered from injuries to play last week.

* DE Ziggy Hood sustained an ankle injury during the game, but he was able to return. He may be limited early in the week.

* WR Jerricho Cotchery has a shoulder contusion and may be limited early in the week.

"From a health standpoint, we anticipate having most if not all of our guys available," Tomlin said.

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