Steelers notebook: DeCastro, Foster, Whimper could play vs. Patriots
• Mike Tomlin said offensive linemen David DeCastro (ankle), Ramon Foster (concussion) and Guy Whimper (hyperextended knee) could be ready to play Sunday against New England. DeCastro might be limited early in the practice week, Tomlin said, “maybe with an opportunity to play.”
• Seven Steelers offensive linemen have been injured, and Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey is out for the season. The ongoing run of injuries baffles Ben Roethlisberger, who said, “It seems like our offensive line gets hurt more than any other team's, and I don't know why. It's just crazy, freaky things.”
• Tomlin doesn't believe the Steelers need “convincing” their season isn't over at 2-5. “They're here every day. They know what we're capable of,” he said. “They see why we are successful, and they see why we are unsuccessful. And they realize they have control over that.”
• Tomlin wishes Roethlisberger had taken a five-yard penalty rather than a timeout in the fourth quarter Sunday, after the quarterback mistakenly thought a penalty would be assessed for a horsecollar tackle on Le'Veon Bell. By burning a timeout, the Steelers had only 18 seconds left when they got the ball for the final time. “We didn't do a good job of handling those circumstances,” Tomlin said. “We would have preferred to have all three timeouts.”
• Mike Tomlin again sent a public message to a player, saying first-round draft pick Jarvis Jones was demoted to second team partly because of a lack of attention to detail.
Jones, a starter until getting a concussion Oct. 13, played only 11 snaps against Oakland.
“He's got to play better from an assignment standpoint,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “He's just not doing enough detailed work right now, and Jason Worilds is. That's just the reality of it. Part of playing really good defense and playing really good football, period, is having detail with your work.”
Jones has 19 tackles to Worilds' 17, but doesn't have a sack and has only three quarterback pressures.
• Wide receiver Antonio Brown dropped two balls and, for the second successive season, lost a fumble in Oakland.
He's a player known for showing emotion on the sideline, and Roethlisberger said “that's fine.” But, the quarterback said, “If you're going to get upset and frustrated, you need to make the big plays when we need you to. I'm going to hold you to a higher standard because we expect you to, and we've seen you make those plays before.”
Brown caught nine passes for 82 yards.
• The Steelers did not make a trade before the 4 p.m. deadline Tuesday. They haven't made a significant trade deadline deal since sending former first-round draft pick Tim Worley to Chicago for conditional draft picks in 1993.
• Tom Brady is an uncharacteristic 27th in passer rating (Roethlisberger is 16th), but the Patriots average 120.6 yards rushing to the Steelers' 68.7. That's a reversal in form; since 2001, the Steelers are No. 6 in rushing to the Patriots' No. 16, and the Patriots are No. 4 in passing to the Steelers' No. 13.
• As for the Steelers' 0-8 record since 2011 outside the Eastern time zone, Tomlin said, “We have to change that.” They play only one more such game this season.