Burke / USA TODAY Sports Images

Takeaways from Tomlin

Updates on Joey Porter, Ben Roethlisberger, Ladarius Green and much more, with takeaways from the news by SCI publisher Jim Wexell.

News items from Tuesday's press conference with Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin press conference, in chronological order:

* "Before I get into my normal procedure, I will start with a comment regarding Coach Porter’s situation. ... disappointing ... unfortunate ... we're dealing with it in an appropriate manner ... breached ... consequences to be suffered ... no timetable ... we are treating this with the attention it deserves."

Take: While I believe Joey Porter's arrest Sunday night to have been over a minor transgression that's being overblown, consequences are necessary. But unless he's been warned about unknown incidents in the past, I don't see this costing the OLBs coach his job.

* "We're not overly concerned with it being a distraction. ... Last week, our defensive quality control coach, Steve Meyer, had a death in the family. That made his availability at the early stages of the week and the development of the game plan strained and difficult. As a defensive staff, we closed ranks. We did what needed to be done. It allowed him to pay his respects and we went about our business. But that wasn’t common knowledge so it wasn’t viewed as a distraction. This is common knowledge and a public issue. So I see how it could be viewed as such. But inside this building it won’t be."

Take: Had not heard about this and am sorry for Coach Meyer's loss.

* "Ladarius Green is still in the concussion protocol. ... If he's cleared, he'll participate, provided he gets an opportunity in some form or fashion to prepare. If he doesn't, he won't."

Take: Green was in the locker room Monday but remains a mystery. If he can play, consider it gravy. But no one should be watchful, worried or hopeful. Everyone's used to it.

* "Some in-game things worth mentioning: Le'Veon (Bell)'s got some bumps and bruises associated with play. He touched it a few times so I may give him a day on Wednesday. Ben (Roethlisberger) aggravated his foot but it doesn't appear to be an issue."

Take: Both players can be expected to miss Wednesday's practice with the designation "not injury related."

* "Fitz Toussaint reported concussion-like symptoms yesterday. He's in the protocol."

Take: The designated "blocking back" on kickoff returns, who's instead become the primary return man, will likely give way to another return man this week. This has been a move for which most of us have called, but no one wanted him to suffer a head injury.

* "Travis Kelce is as dynamic as any tight end in football right now. ... In October we utilized Justin Gilbert to cover him some on possession downs. We may do that again. We may not. We may add to it."

Take: Gilbert, the fleet-footed cornerback, missed practice time with an injury last week so he wasn't active and therefore couldn't help the Steelers' woeful kick-return team. That will likely change this week.

* "Tyreek Hill's contributions to their team have evolved. The last time we played them we talked about him in the return game and he was kind of a gadget guy offensively. Now he's very much a part of their routine offensive attack. He plays wideout, running back. He's an impactful guy. His speed and burst are unique. He needs no endorsement from me. His splash-play reel is all the endorsement he needs."

Take: Hill came out of West Alabama a 5-8, 185-pound bullet train with pro day numbers of 4.29 40, 6.53 3-cone and 40.5 vertical. In spite of his late fifth-round status, he was well known from his Oklahoma State days. He had been kicked off the OSU football and track teams after pleading guilty to domestic assault and battery by strangulation in an incident involving his pregnant girlfriend. In quelling fan protests, the Chiefs claimed to have vetted Hill thoroughly. The rookie has become one of the team's best players with 12 touchdowns, including a 10-yard TD reception against the Steelers in the fourth quarter Oct. 2 which cut a deficit to 36-7.

* "Andy Reid is like 19-2 coming off a bye week. I get that. But you're faced with daunting challenges this time of year. You don't need stats like that to wake you up to it."

Take: Reid is 16-2 following a regular-season bye and that extra week no doubt helped him deconstruct what the Steelers have been doing with their defensive fronts and the offensive variances that swing from a massive jumbo look to slick little wideouts cutting all over the field. No doubt Reid spent more time on the heavily favored Steelers last week.

* "We felt Ben's presence in the game would aid us in terms of closing the game out via the run. We had every intention of working to close the game out with DeAngelo (Williams). (Ben's) presence on the field would aid with that, not only because of his presence but a lot of our run game was check-oriented. Based on what we saw from the defense and he had a better part of the game to see those checks and to put us in the appropriate calls in an effort to do it. I take responsibility for throwing it on third down. I got a little overaggressive there. ... I made the call, so don't ask Todd (Haley) about it on Thursday. I made the call. I take responsibility for that."

Take: With so many people squabbling about this on every form of media, I feel good in not caring about it. I like Tomlin's accountability, too, but will definitely ask Todd about it on Thursday.

* "We're not ready to say (Porter)'s not going to be a part of it. I said there's no timetable on the leave. If he's unavailable then Keith (Butler) is going to do that."

Take: With all due respect to law enforcement, and my own 18 years of sobriety, I hope Porter's back tomorrow. He may just want to consider a lifestyle adjustment.

* "I don't have to be. He did some good things, but if you ask Jesse, his better days lie ahead. He's a really cerebral young guy. He's always in control of his emotions. He takes an analytical approach to preparation and getting better and I think that approach is going to aid him. He did some good things in that game. But, boy, he's continually evolving, as are we all."

Take: I only used the above quote to repeat the reporter's question: "You have to be satisfied with Jesse James. You HAVE to be."

* "We've got to do a better job. We've not been special on special teams. When I read the injury report I said guys like (Anthony) Chickillo, (Rob) Golden and others, Shamarko Thomas, some of our most dynamic teamers. But in some of those instances, like Shamarko, those guys aren't coming back. We've got to put guys in better position and they have to execute."

Take: Got anyone with more speed to cover kicks? After watching opponents routinely tackle Toussaint at the 15, Steelers fans watch opposing kick returners reach the 20 without a black-and-gold jersey in sight. Or so it must seem.

* "Twelve months before he came out in the draft, I was at the Michigan State pro day watching Kirk Cousins, B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin, the three tight ends that got drafted. I said, 'Boy, that back they have is going to have a problem next year with all these guys coming out.' And then to watch his tape the subsequent year with all those guys in the NFL, it speaks to his competitive spirit and mental toughs. I'm sure he was a target in scouting reports that last year but it didn't stop the storm that is Le'Veon Bell.

Take: Mike Tomlin would make a great sportswriter.

* "(Stephon Tuitt), number one, has a lot of talent but, number two, he works hard every day. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that he's followed the lead of Cam Heyward in that area since the day he got here. Cam has continued to be an asset to him and others even though he's on IR. Cam's a great leader and his presence is still felt even though he's not participating."

Take: Let's leave Mike Tomlin where he's at. He's a natural born leader of men.


Steel City Insider Top Stories