Steelers notes: Roethlisberger has no problems with coaches
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he enjoys working with all members of the offensive coaching staff, denying an NFL Network report to the contrary.
“(Todd) Haley and I have a great (relationship),” the quarterback said Tuesday on his radio show. “Our relationship has grown so much. It's becoming a really good relationship. ... I'm excited to work with coach Haley and the rest of the offensive coaches.” He was especially effusive in his praise for QBs coach Randy Fichtner.
Roethlisberger also insists he's spent no time thinking about a possible contract extension once the season ends. The Steelers are likely to extend him to create more salary cap room.
“I'm so ignorant when it comes to that stuff,” he said. “I do what my agents tell me, (but) I'll have my input for things. My job is to go play football, and that's what my focus is and (what) I try to do.”
• Their 136 yards rushing Sunday against the Bills were their second most all season, but the Steelers average only 80 yards per game and 3.63 yards per carry. Their only worse season in the past 73 years came in 1966, when they had 691 yards and a 2.94 average per rush through nine games.
The Lions are ninth in rushing defense, and coach Mike Tomlin said, “(They) trample the run on the way to the pass. Their line are playmakers. ... They get off the ball, up the field. They create disruption. They create negativity in the run game, minus yardage plays.”
The Steelers have lost yardage on 21 of 200 runs; the Lions have 25 such stops in 203 opponent attempts. The Steelers don't have a 100-yard rusher this season, and the Lions haven't allowed one. Eddie Lacy's 99 yards for Green Bay are the most against them.
• The Steelers (3-6) are below .500 after nine games for only the second time in 10 years, but Tomlin said that's not being reflected in their work or demeanor.
“I think our attitude has been fine,” he said. “I like the approach we take day-to-day in terms of how we come to work. I like the energy, but what we need are results. I expect the attitude to be what it is. It's not like I am throwing a pep rally because the attitude is appropriate. We have a lot of challenges ahead of us.”
The last time the Steelers were 3-6, in 2006, they won five of their last seven.
• Rookie safety Shamarko Thomas (high ankle sprain) won't play Sunday, and left guard Ramon Foster's Grade 1 high ankle sprain could keep him out. Brett Keisel (foot), LaMarr Woodley (left calf strain) and Fernando Velasco (bruised right knee) might be limited in practice Wednesday.
• A.J. Green of the Bengals is second to Antonio Brown in receptions among AFC receivers, but coach Tomlin suggested Green isn't in Lions receiver Calvin Johnson's league. “There is no comparison,” Tomlin said. “This guy (Johnson) is probably 235 pounds. He's big. He's strong. He's fast. He's a big dog.”
• Backup running back Jonathan Dwyer, cut earlier this season, has seven carries for 68 yards and two receptions in his past two games. “I would imagine unemployment does that (motivate him),” Tomlin said.
• Mike Adams is being used frequently as a second tight end, and his pancake block created running room on Le'Veon Bell's TD run Sunday. But Haley is using multiple tight ends much less frequently this season. The Steelers are on pace to run 71 such plays, down from 126 last season. They're also on pace to run 144 plays with four wide receivers, compared to 67 last season. They're also using two wide receiver sets far less frequently.
• Jerricho Cotchery's six TD catches match his career high; he didn't have any last season. Tomlin said the No. 3 wide receiver is benefitting from the attention defenses give tight end Heath Miller, who made only one catch Sunday. “They work to minimize Heath, that provides opportunities for Jerricho and vice versa,” Tomlin said. “I don't think there have been many weeks where both guys have outstanding numbers because they essentially work in the same spaces, the interior of our formations.”