Tomlin was excited to come out and get a big win in the division. He said if you want to win the division, you have to win some division games. It’s big the Steelers could get this win against the surging Bengals, especially since the game was on the road. No small victory. It came at a price, some injuries to key players, and a battle for playing time between Hines Ward and Jericho Cotchery makes this one helluva Bye week.Something very interesting to me was Tomlin’s talk about Cotchery’s position on this offense. When asked why Ward sat most of the game, Tomlin said it was purly a coaching decision and had nothing to do with Ward’s previous injury. Tomlin said Ward was ready to go, but they held him back because they liked Cotchery in there against the Bengals. This is so interesting to me because it might signify a slight change in the direction the Steelers are headed with their WR core. We all know Ward is getting older and has been hurt here and there this season, but when he’s healthy, he’s always sure handed.
Cotchery has shown a great deal of awareness and great rout running to make some big catches in the last couple of games. I was actually discussing this with Jim Wexel (Author of Steeler Nation) via Twitter and he was saying that Ben and Cotchery are actually out of sinc, and the Steelers should lean towards Ward. I am not so sure Jim is right on this one. I realize that Ben and Cotchery may not be totally in sinc yet (Cotchery stopped his rout in a scramble play and Ben threw it to him in stride. Would have been a TD…), but in reality, Cotchery has only seen significant playing time in two games so far. For the whole beginning of the season he was injured. It stands to reason that the chemistry between Cotchery and Ben will only get better.
I’m not saying Cotchery should replace Ward, I’m just saying. Tomlin’s explaination of Ward sitting just sounds promising for Cotchery and not so promising for old faithful.
Injuries: Right now injuries include Ryan Clark’s shoulder contusion and Max Starks’ stinger. Tomlin says neither should be problematic coming out of the bye. The big news, that came out after the press conference, is that Ben Roethlisberger has a fractured thumb. At some point during the Cinci game Ben fractured his thumb, but luckily has a bye week to heal a little before Kansas City. He says he will play against KC, obviously that is not quantifiable right now, but we’ll see how that shapes up moving forward.
Tomlin seems impressed with Antonio Brown’s overall game and his ability to make plays consistently. Tomlin says AB works very hard day to day, and you can see it in the stadiums.
Tomlin says some of the injuries have been blessings in disguise because they are finding out about other players that can be in there and playing winning football consistently. That way, when these guys come back from injuries they don’t have to play 70 snaps in a game any more. It’s all in the name of keeping all of the guys as fresh as they can at all times.
Bengals did a nice job running the ball on us, per Tomlin. They were often able to rush 5 or 6 yards on a first down putting the Bengals in position to convert on 2nd down or very short 3rd downs.
This week’s press conference was short and sweet. I am sure Tomlin will have more next week on our next opponent.
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