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PITTSBURGH – Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said there will be changes to his 5-5-1 team after its skewed loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
“We just kicked the place up,” he said. “When you play like we played and the result is as skewed as it is, then it’s just the reality.
“… What you can not do is continue to do the things you have done and expect a different result. We are open to some schematic changes. We are obviously open to some staff changes. They won not be drastic by nature, probably more subtle by nature, but hopefully significant. Significantly in a positive way. “
Tomlin said the changes will come in both what the Steelers do and who they do it with, using last year’s Week 8 win over the Baltimore Ravens as an example. In that game, the Steelers often used a pack of three outside linebackers leaning up from their depth at the position.
“It could be repositioning people, or it could be leaning on depth as a strength,” Tomlin said of how he could implement change. “We do not overcomplicate things, but we are open to change when change produces or has a chance to create a desired result.
“When you have red paint, you paint your barn red. It’s a kind of motto or a cliché that we sometimes live by. That’s what I mean when I say we’re open to change. Is it people and deployment of people? Yes, if it potentially makes us better, but not solely for the purpose of change. some areas where we do not. “
Some of these changes will probably be visible in front – on both sides of the ball. Offensive tackle Zach Banner, who spent the first half of the season on injured reserve, has slowly earned more playing time in jumbo packs and he may be in line to regain the starting spot he lost after tearing his ACL last season. And on the defensive line, the Steelers signed the former Green Bay Packers selection in the third round, Montravius Adams of the New Orleans Saints training team, giving them much-needed depth in the tackle.
One change, however, that will not happen in the near future is the return of defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt, who has not participated in any team drills going back to training camp. Still recovering from knee surgery, Tuitt remains on IR, and Tomlin did not have an update on a schedule for his return.
“He will not be available to us this week, and so the people who have my attention are the ones who will be,” Tomlin said. “We will continue to monitor his progress and when he gets close, I will have an update for you.”
After players like Minkah Fitzpatrick said the team needed to change how it practices, suggesting more reps and more up-tempo walk-throughs, Tomlin said they could also use pads this week in preparation for Sunday’s fight against the Ravens. But Tomlin also declined to say whether some players, like quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who often misses Wednesday and has been a limited participant in some Thursday drills, specifically needed to get more work done in training.
“Some people need physical work, some people need mental work, some people need to get well,” Tomlin said. “We do not paint with a broad brush. We make individual decisions based on the individual men that enable us to carry the strongest unit into a stadium on the weekend, and the philosophical approach will not change.”
One change that does not come down the pipeline, however, is one proposed by second-year wide receiver Chase Claypool. On Monday, Claypool offered that playing music for training could be a positive change.
“I think some music would help,” Claypool said. “We had music in the warm-ups and it’s fun. People dance, have fun, so I think maybe music would make the workout a little more fun and a little more up-tempo, that’s my only suggestion, but Coach T has done this much longer than I have. “
Tomlin agreed with Claypool – so to speak.
“Claypool is playing wideout and I let him do that,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “I want to formulate the practice approach. And I think that division of labor is probably appropriate.”