Archive

ShareThis Page
Kevin Gorman’s Take 5: Mike Tomlin has ‘no reaction’ to Le’Veon Bell deadline | TribLIVE.com
Steelers/NFL

Kevin Gorman’s Take 5: Mike Tomlin has ‘no reaction’ to Le’Veon Bell deadline

Jason Black
| Tuesday, November 13, 2018 2:48 p.m
4401761052140178
Getty Images
Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates as he walks off of the field after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 28-21 at Paul Brown Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Mike Tomlin showed up for his weekly news conference on Tuesday with every intention of talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers and Sunday’s game at the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Tomlin might as well have announced that there will be no Christmas music allowed until after Thanksgiving.

There was a Le’Veon Bell Watch party at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side, as the deadline for the All-Pro running back to report to the Steelers and sign the franchise tag tender expires at 4 p.m.

The questions reflected that.

1. Positives and negatives: Tomlin opened up by talking about how he liked the way his offense didn’t have to warm up to the action but “came out firing” in the 52-21 victory over Carolina.

After allowing a touchdown on the first drive, the defense settled down quickly. The special teams provided a “splash play” in the forced fumble by Roosevelt Nix, as well as Chris Boswell’s 50-yard field goal (not to mention going 7 of 7 PATs).

“There’s a lot of positivity to build upon,” Tomlin said, “but there’s some negativity, too. We’ll learn from the negativity.”

That comment could be directed at how effective Christian McCaffrey was, as both a rusher and receiver, against the Steelers because Tomlin talked up both Leonard Fournette as the lead back and T.J. Yeldon as a “formidable third-down back” that allows the Jaguars to use their vertical pass game.

“We’ve got to keep a lid on it.”

2. Don’t say his name: Tomlin was asked many times in many ways about Bell, but I don’t believe he uttered his name.

When asked for his reaction to all signs pointing to Bell being a no-show by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline to sign his franchise-tag tender with the Steelers, Tomlin wouldn’t budge.

“I have no reaction,” Tomlin said. “I’ve told you guys and I’ve told you guys consistently, a reaction comes from me if and when he walks in the door. Until that happens, I’m business as usual, focused on those that are here and working – and appropriately so. That way I don’t waste my time or theirs.”

What if Bell never walks through the door?

“So be it.”

That doesn’t sound like someone expecting Bell back.

3. No backfield blues: Bell would have made a significant upgrade to the Steelers’ running back room, a position group on which Tomlin said he was “singularly focused.”

Tomlin considers it a waste of time to adjust the temperature in that room, or for the coaching staff to consider a role for Bell if he does indeed return to the team.

Tomlin said the Steelers wanted to use backup running backs Stevan Ridley and Jaylen Samuels against Carolina because of the short week, even before James Conner went into the concussion protocol in the second half. Ridley and Samuels combined to carry the ball 12 times for 33 yards, although Samuels also had three catches for 22 yards and a touchdown.

“I like his arrow,” Tomlin said of Samuels. “It’s been continually pointed up.”

4. Negative feedback: Tomlin had a telling comment when talking about why the Jaguars have struggled in turnover ratio (minus-11) this season, if you read between the lines.

Tomlin pointed to Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette only playing three games because of an injury.

“When you lose your featured runner, particularly one of his caliber, it affects you and affects you in a negative way,” Tomlin said. “That’s been one of the ways they’ve been affected by it.”

Keep this in proper context, as Tomlin wasn’t talking about his own team, but it was an admission that the absence of a star running back can affect a team in a negative way.

5. Road warriors: Asked about the Steelers having a 14-1-1 record in their past 16 road games, Tomlin refused to “paint with a broad brush” but paid his players a compliment.

“With this group, with each passing week, they’ve shown an ability to get singularly focused,” Tomlin said. “I’m looking for that to continue when they walk through the door tomorrow. That allows you to roll out a consistent effort. Usually, it gives you a chance to be successful and win.”

That’s true, but it doesn’t explain why the blemishes on the road came against the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns. Or why the Steelers have five losses, including the playoff loss to Jacksonville, in their past 16 home games.

Hey, Steelers Nation, get the latest news about the Pittsburgh Steelers here.

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

Categories: Steelers
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.