The Pittsburgh Steelers once again have what Mike Tomlin calls "a laundry list" of injures heading into Sunday's game against the 1-3 New York Jets.
But, he said, if the replacements and those with "expanded roles" perform as well as they did against the Kansas City Chiefs, the coach will be happy.
Such players "were probably some of the key reasons we had the type of night we had," Tomlin said of the 43-14 win. And he went down that list:
* B.J. Finney "did an outstanding job for us" at left guard in his first career start.
* Vince Williams had 15 tackles and Tomlin will "let his stats speak for themselves." Tomlin said the inside linebacker "did an excellent job of communicating and getting guys in correct calls and making necessary adjustments at the line."
* Jordan Dangerfield started at strong safety in his first career start and "His tackling was very consistent. He wasn't out of place. He was high energy."
* Artie Burns and Justin Gilbert, the new cornerbacks, "are consistently growing." Tomlin pointed out that first-round pick Burns played 85 percent of the snaps and is "quickly making up a lot of the ground he missed with injury." Gilbert, the acquisition from Cleveland, "played a little package football for us. ... Maybe he'll get an opportunity to do that again."
With that backdrop, Tomlin dropped his "laundry list" of injured players this week:
* RT Marcus Gilbert is "highly questionable" with an ankle injury.
* Reserve OT Ryan Harris is questionable with a lower leg injury.
* Reserve OG/C Cody Wallace is out with a knee injury.
* Slot WR Eli Rogers is out with turf toe.
* Reserve CB Senquez Golson remains out with a foot injury.
* LG Ramon Foster (chest) "has a chance this week" and will be evaluated by his practice participation.
* Reserve WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (shoulder) "is probably available" but he'll be evaluated in practice.
"It's a good thing that we responded well to those circumstances a week ago," Tomlin said, "because we're going to be challenged more so in that area this week. We've got to be thoughtful as coaches. We've got to put these guys in position to perform. It's less about who we're playing and more about dealing with these things and making sure we lean on the strength of the men available to us, that we work to minimize potential weaknesses, that we stay out in front of some of these things, some of the sub-packages and special teams trickle-down things associated with some of these things. We've got to be razor sharp from a planning standpoint."
Except to say that Chris Hubbard is the next (and final) offensive tackle on the roster, Tomlin didn't want to discuss potential replacements until he sees what's available for practice, which begins Wednesday. Tomlin did admit that roster moves are a possibility.null