Tomlin talks personnel, discipline

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin explained why he benched one player earlier in the year and not another for similar incidents. That decision leaves kicker Jeff Reed available to kick against the Vikings on Sunday.

Kicker Jeff Reed will not be benched Sunday following his arrest for allegedly fighting with police, and Rashard Mendenhall has won the Steelers' No. 1 halfback job.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin explained that while he benched receiver Santonio Holmes for a game after his arrest on a marijuana possession charge last year, Reed will kick seven days after Pittsburgh police charged him with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, simple assault and public drunkenness.

It's all in the timing, according to the coach.

"Probably the only difference in the situations is the time of the week in which it occurred," Tomlin said Tuesday. "Santonio's incident occurred on a Thursday evening. It basically became something we had to deal with on a Friday leading up to a football game. We chose to deactivate him to minimize the distraction and continue preparation for the football game, and really dealt with his situation the following Monday."

Holmes was inactive for Pittsburgh's game against the New York Giants on Oct. 26, a game the Steelers lost 21-14 at Heinz Field.

The Steelers play the unbeaten Vikings on Sunday at Heinz Field.

Mendenhall will make his fourth consecutive start in that game after Tomlin finally acknowledged that he will go with him indefinitely. Mendenhall averages 5.1 yards per game and has run for 304 yards in the past three games since he replaced an injured Willie Parker at halfback.

Parker missed two games and returned in a backup role last Sunday.

"Rashard has earned the right to take the majority of snaps as we proceed," Tomlin said. "I think that's how we approach a lot of what we do. Who's going to give us the best chance to win on a week-to-week basis? Rashard has had the hot hand the last several weeks."


  • WR Hines Ward has caught two touchdown passes in the past two games and had a third called back after getting none in his first four games.

  • WR Mike Wallace has three of the team's six longest pass plays, and his 16.4-yard average gain is best on the team.

  • QB Ben Roethlisberger has been calling more plays out of the no-huddle offense as the season progresses, and he's having his best season. He leads the NFL in passing yards and is fourth with a 104.5 passer rating.

  • TE Heath Miller's 34 receptions rank eighth in the NFL and second among tight ends. His team-high four TD catches have come in the past three games.

  • RB Rashard Mendenhall has scored four times in the past three games on short goal-line runs, something the Steelers have had trouble doing for several seasons.

  • LB Lawrence Timmons had one of his two sacks taken away and given to James Farrior. That leaves Timmons and Farrior each with two sacks this season.

  • DE Travis Kirschke started Sunday for injured Aaron Smith and had three tackles and a quarterback pressure against Cleveland.

  • SS Troy Polamalu bruised his left knee in the game, the same knee with the MCL sprain. He should be OK for this week, although he'll be limited in practice early.

  • FS Ryan Clark intercepted his second pass to tie Troy Polamalu for the team lead. His 37 solo tackles lead the defense.

  • P Daniel Sepulveda has knocked eight of his 20 punts inside the 20 and has just one touchback while carrying a 45.8-yard gross average.

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