Steelers Rallying Around Vick

Mike Tomlin set the tone at his weekly press conference, and more.

PITTSBURGH -- Mike Tomlin didn't want to discuss the time frame for his injured quarterback, who's expected to miss four to six weeks with a sprained MCL.

Tomlin believes such talk would take away from the right-here/right-now mentality of beating the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night.

"We'll be excited about rallying around Mike and working within his comfort zone," Tomlin said of replacement quarterback Michael Vick.

The 35-year-old lefty will make his first start with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he'll do so against the archrival Ravens on a short practice week.

"We've got an adjustment in terms of starting Michael Vick," said Tomlin, who said that process involves "bringing the game to him and allowing him to play and finding what his personality is and our personality is with him."

Tomlin was asked if Vick is "fully conversant with the entire offense."

"He is," Tomlin said. "But that doesn't mean we're going to ask him to execute our offense in the manner that we would ask Ben to. Ben and Coach (Todd) Haley have been together for three years now. Ben has been in Pittsburgh for over 10 years. There's a certain comfort in that continuity. We're not going to assume certain things because Mike is a veteran player and he's up to speed on a large body of work. We're going to work in his comfort zone and bring the game to him to allow him to put us in the best position to win the football game."

Vick was signed Aug. 25 after Bruce Gradkowski was placed on Injured Reserve. In preseason action, Vick completed seven of 10 passes for 130 yards and was sacked four times. Sunday in St. Louis, he completed five of six passes for 38 yards and fumbled while being sacked by Robert Quinn. It was recovered by Le'Veon Bell but Vick was sacked on the next play.

The NFL's all-time leading rusher as a quarterback made three starts last season with the New York Jets, including a win over the Steelers in which Vick had a passer rating of 116.0.

Vick has made three career starts against the Ravens and is 2-1 against them. His last start against the Ravens was in 2012 when Vick led the Philadelphia Eagles to a 24-23 win. He drove the Eagles 80 yards late in the fourth quarter and capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown run.

On Monday, Tomlin was asked if he had a message for Steelers fans concerning Roethlisberger's injury and the effect it may have on the rest of the season.

"I'm not worried about the rest of the season, to be honest with you," Tomlin said. "I'm worried about our preparation today in an effort to win the game Thursday night. As far as the message to the fans, I'll see them on Thursday night."

SHAZIER'S A MYSTERY

It looked like the basic bump a linebacker would put on a receiver late in the 49ers game, but Ryan Shazier hasn't been right since. He left that game, was given a brief exam, flexed his hand on the sideline and then missed a week of practice before sitting out Sunday's game against the Rams. Tomlin didn't shed much more light on the injury Monday.

"He's experiencing some weakness in his shoulder and until he gets that weakness above the line we're going to hold him out," Tomlin said. "He's been working hard with our medical staff in terms of regaining that."

In Shazier's place, Sean Spence started and rotated with Vince Williams. Spence made five tackles, including one of the game's key tackles in the fourth quarter when he stopped Tre Mason behind the line for a two-yard loss on first-and-goal from the Pittsburgh 7. The Rams had to settle for a field goal.

"We're going to continue to utilize both of those guys to replace Ryan," Tomlin said. "Both guys have played for us in the past. Both guys are capable of playing good, above-the-line ball. Both guys are high-energy guys, good communicators. We're comfortable with our depth at that position."

QUICK HITTERS

* The other injury concerns at Tuesday's practice include DT Daniel McCullers (knee), CB Cortez Allen (knee), OLB James Harrison (thumb) and TE Matt Spaeth (hand fracture). All will be monitored for availability on Thursday night.

* Tomlin was asked for his opinion of Mark Barron's hit on Roethlisberger. "You guys know we got a letter a week ago stressing us not to (criticize officiating), so I'm not."

* Did Tomlin have any words of comfort for Roethlisberger? "Ben's a been-there/done-that guy," Tomlin said. "No words needed."

* Does Tomlin believe backup QB Landry Jones is ready to play if needed? "I do. If I didn't I wouldn't have kept him on our football team."

* Bell and DeAngelo Williams opened the Rams game on the field together. Will Tomlin use the two running backs together again? "It just depends on the circumstance of the game," he said. "We have that package available to us. You saw a glimpse or two of it the other night. I would imagine it's going to continue to grow as we move forward."


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