Cowher calm while those around him wonder

Plaxico Burress wants to know why he's not seeing more passes. <br><br> Joey Porter wants to know why he's not blitzing more often. <br><br> Reporters want to know what's being done about the secondary and offensive line. Fans want to know what's up with the quarterback and why make a change at running back and then not do anything with it. <br>

Immediately after the Steelers' fourth consecutive loss dropped them into last place in the AFC North Division on Sunday, Bill Cowher admitted "the only answer I have is to keep working." On Tuesday, Cowher met the media and re-affirmed that he had no solutions.

"There aren't a lot of answers right now," he said. "There aren't a lot of answers to questions. As I told (the players), right now we have to make our answers be done with our deeds. We've just got to go out there and play."

The same group that's been getting kicked around for the last month will have at it again Sunday in Seattle, where the Steelers haven't won in 20 years. They are 1-5 at Seattle, 2-5 on the season and no changes are in the works.

"Not at this point, today," Cowher said, the last word a hint that changes may develop later in the week.

"Sometimes those changes may be necessary before a game, they may be necessary after a game, they may be necessary during a game," Cowher theorized. "I try to be very objective about it and also be subjective to see what indeed your options are in regards to that. So that's where we are again today."

One possible change looms along the offensive line, where injured starter Marvel Smith could move back to right tackle when healthy.

Smith (neck) and tight end Jay Riemersma (knee) are again doubtful this week. Both missed last week's game, the second missed game for Riemersma and fourth for Smith.

To replace Smith, the Steelers initially tried Oliver Ross, but moved guard Alan Faneca, who improved greatly in his second start at left tackle Sunday. Is he there to stay?

"Well, he's our starting left tackle right now," Cowher said. "That's where we're looking at him and he's a good football player. I think he'd excel no matter where you put him."

Is there a possibility Smith will move back to right tackle?

"A possibility? Yeah. We've just got to get him back," Cowher said. "We'll look at the possibility when the time comes."

Of Smith and his pinched nerve, Cowher said: "He's getting stronger, there's no question. He's better than he was last week at this time. We've just got to be very careful that when we do allow him to hit that he's at full strength, otherwise we'll be back to where we were before and it could even be worse. It could be the rest of the year."

As far as the secondary is concerned, the Steelers rank fifth in passing yards allowed per game, but a more telling 27th in passer rating allowed. The Steelers allow a passer rating of 89.5, ahead of only two other 2-5 teams, Arizona and Houston, and three 1-6 teams, San Diego, Detroit, Atlanta.

The Falcons announced yesterday they will have four new starters in their secondary Sunday after experimenting through a bye week. The Steelers have no such plans, even with well-regarded youngsters Chris Hope and Ike Turner sitting on the bench.

Cowher did make one change last week and Porter responded with two sacks upon returning to rush end in the dime package. Those were only the 12th and 13th sacks of the season for a team that had 50 last season. While Porter publicly questioned the lack of blitzes being called, Burress, on the other side of the locker room, questioned why he caught only one pass and why so few were thrown his way. Reporters wondered if Jerome Bettis would complain about carrying only 12 times in his first start of the season, but he did not.

"You have to be careful about looking into too many things that are said after a game when you're going through the emotions that losing can bring out," Cowher told reporters. "So I don't look too much into what's being said, particularly when it's done within an hour after the game." Cowher was asked whether "the system" he employs may be too well known by opponents.

"I don't think so," he said. "This is the third year with it. We've had a lot of the same coaches and to a large degree a lot of the same players who've won two divisions. You know the system can be successful, has been successful, but certainly what you have to do is make sure you're not tweaking it to the point of … worry(ing) about trying to make the perfect call. You start to worry about things instead of attacking an offense or attacking a defense. You've got to be careful you're not more concerned with what you aren't able to do on a side of the ball and I think you start to get into a very tentative mode from a play-calling standpoint. … It's true with players, it's true with coaches. We just have to be careful we don't fall into that."

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