Pittsburgh Steelers

Stadium: Heinz Field | Coach: Mike Tomlin
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense4th104.2 (19th)273.8 (3rd)
Defense5th105.8 (9th)201.1 (7th)

Steelers report: Inside slant

The Sports Xchange
Inside slant · Strategy and personnel · Notes, quotes

Coach Mike Tomlin, who promised to "unleash hell" last week, now promises to unleash some of his backups and send some starters to the bench after his Steelers lost their fourth consecutive game to fall to 6-6.

"We can't continue to do what we've been doing and assume that that pattern of behavior is going to change and those outcomes are going to change," Tomlin said. "So we're analyzing all aspects of what we're doing here, specifically this week, and are going to be aggressive in terms of looking at potential changes in not only what we do schematically, but who we have do it in all three phases."

Attention immediately focused on the secondary, where the Steelers could see anywhere from one to three new starters for Thursday night's game in Cleveland. Tomlin mentioned both of his rookie cornerbacks as possibilities and included veteran starter Ike Taylor as someone who could lose his job.

Joe Burnett is likely to start at one cornerback, but fellow rookie Keenan Lewis also should see more action.

"We want to see both of those guys," Tomlin said. "They're young guys; they've been working. We want to see both of those guys play."

Another rookie who has played all season in a reserve roll could get promoted, defensive end Ziggy Hood, the team's top draft pick.

Speculation also swirled around the safety position, where Ryan Mundy could supplant either free safety Ryan Clark or strong safety Tyrone Carter, who has played for the injured Troy Polamalu the past three games.

Ramon Foster could move into the starting right guard position for Trai Essex.

"Whatever we think's appropriate in terms of giving ourselves a chance to win based on the matchup with the Cleveland Browns," Tomlin said about the number of changes and where they might occur. He said they will be "so subtle in some areas, maybe not so subtle in others. But I am acknowledging that I am very open to that."

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