Share This Page

Tomlin: Starting lineup changes possible for Steelers

Major changes could be coming to the Steelers as they try to snap a four-game losing streak and salvage their season.

Coach Mike Tomlin said today he will evaluate all aspects of his team and strongly hinted that changes will be made to the starting lineup and particularly at cornerback.

"We can't stay status quo in terms of how we're approaching this thing and expect the pattern of behavior and outcomes to change," Tomlin said today at his weekly news conference. "That's unrealistic, that's hoping. I'm not a hope-mentality person."

Asked how changes would go over on a veteran-laden team, Tomlin said, "I think they understand it and I think to a degree they'll agree with me."

The 6-6 Steelers will likely be without veteran wide receiver Hines Ward Thursday night in Cleveland.

Ward sustained a mild hamstring strain near the end of the Steelers' 27-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders, and the injury will probably sideline him because of the short week.

"He's going to be very questionable for this game," Tomlin said.

Strong safety Troy Polamalu (knee) has been all but ruled out for Thursday's game though Tomlin said he expects defensive end Travis Kirschke (calf) to return to action.

Cornerback William Gay will take a battery of neurological tests this week after sustaining a concussion against the Raiders. Tomlin has not ruled him out of the Browns game.

Even if Gay is able to play in Cleveland, he may not start.

Tomlin said rookie cornerbacks Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis will be given long looks as the Steelers try to shore up their shaky secondary. Tomlin acknowledged that even veteran cornerback Ike Taylor's job isn't safe as he ponders significant changes.

"I don't like where we are," Tomlin said. "Obviously we are a very average football team as we sit here today."

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.