Mike Tomlin says Steelers’ RB rotation based on player “availability”

8/23/13 in NFL   |   BrianMaddock   |   1429 respect

FanIQ | Sports Rumors, Gossip, Blogs, News & Discussion ForumsSince rookie running back Le’Veon Bell is out of action due to a mid-foot sprain/Lisfranc Injury, the third preseason game against Kansas City Chiefs comes with more than its share of problems for the Pittsburg Steelers’ coaching staff. Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin is faced with a crisis regarding the choice of running back. During his press conference on Thursday, Tomlin acknowledged he didn’t have the running back rotation quite down yet for when the Steelers host the Kansas City Chiefs at Heinz Field this week.
He said that availability of players will be the biggest factor on how he goes around the Steelers’ running back rotation. For Saturday’s preseason game, Tomlin is expecting to have both LaRod Stephens-Howling and Isaac Redman available, after the veteran running backs didn’t play in Monday’s loss to the Washington Redskins.
“We’re going to have an inclusive-type mentality. We’re going to leave the door open for people that are nursing minor injuries or are working themselves back,” Tomlin said of the Steelers’ currently injured players. “Guys like Isaac Redman, who experienced a stinger, well leave the light on for him. LaRod Stephens-Howling, who has a minor MCL sprain, who is participating today, we’ll see what that participation looks like.”
Running back Baron Batch (stinger) and fullback Will Johnson (rib) also sustained injuries in Monday’s preseason game. Tomlin did not update on both player’s health status for the game. He did however provide an update on David Johnson’s status after the tight end was removed from the team’s active PUP list on Wednesday. Johnson’s position on the Steelers’ depth chart at tight end is still in question at this point.
“I don’t have the answer to that, because I’ve just seen him work for one day,” Tomlin said, when asked about Johnson’s projected role with the Steelers this season. “I really don’t have an understanding of how his body’s responding to that work, so it’s hard to etch out a role or a division of labor for him without that understanding of what he can get done in a functional manner.”
“We’ll be watching him close and count his reps over the course of the next couple of days and seeing how he responds to the work and how he performs within the work,” Tomlin added. “And that’s just something we’ll have to answer over the next couple of days.”
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