Steelers notebook: Tomlin doesn't regret picking Bell instead of Lacy
By Alan Robinson
Published: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, 9:06 p.m.
Eddie Lacy was widely considered the top running back available in the April draft, but the Steelers chose Le'Veon Bell — a decision coach Mike Tomlin said was “easy.” The Steelers will meet up Sunday with Lacy, who has 1,028 yards rushing and eight touchdown runs for Green Bay. Bell, who missed the first month of the season with a foot injury, has 646 yards rushing and six TD runs. Bell also has 43 catches for 388 yards, while Lacy has 31 catches for 236 yards. Bell went in the second round, 48th overall, and Lacy went 61st. “It was an easy decision for me,” Tomlin said. “Probably it's just a matter of preference. Just like I am sure Cincinnati went through the same discussions and thoughts when they took Giovani Bernard in front of both of them.”
• Ben Roethlisberger has played in every NFL city except Green Bay and Seattle. Now he'll scratch the NFL's smallest city off his list. “I'm excited to go up there, all of the tradition and history,” he said on his 93.7 FM show, referring to Green Bay's Lambeau Field. “The tradition, you walk in and you're going to feel (the aura of) the past players and all the people that have played on that field. It's going to be an awesome honor.”
• Defensive end Brett Keisel will attempt to get back on the practice field Wednesday and go through a full practice Thursday. Keisel has been limited to eight snaps in five games by a foot injury, but hopes to play in what might be the final two games of his NFL career.
• Nose tackle Al Woods played more than half the game Sunday in place of the injured Steve McLendon, and he graded out positively. “He's getting better with it,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “I thought that this performance was better than the last (against Miami).”
• Tomlin isn't concerned about a predicted game-time temperature in the teens Sunday that will feel like zero and will drop throughout the game. Sunset will occur at 4:15 p.m. local time. “It's less about temperature and more about weather conditions,” Tomlin said. “The temperature is irrelevant. I imagine it's going to be the same temperature on their sideline as on ours.”
• Defensive back Cortez Allen, who lost his starting job earlier in the season, has been on the field for all but 13 plays the last three games. Allen was bothered by an ankle injury after missing part of training camp with a knee problem. “As he's played and played continually, I think his play has gotten more consistent over the course of the season,” Tomlin said.
• Tomlin also said outside linebacker Jarvis Jones is showing marked improvement, even if it's not showing up on the stats sheet. Jones still has only one sack. “(He's) playing harder and faster and displaying understanding at an increased rate every week,” Tomlin said. “I think that's an element of playing well and producing plays. You've got to know what to do.”
• The Steelers will play in Green Bay for only the second time since 1995. They won, 20-10, in 2005 behind backup quarterback Charlie Batch. Troy Polamalu returned a fumble 77 yards for a touchdown.
• Tomlin wouldn't absolve linebacker Terence Garvin of blame for the helmet-to-chin hit that broke Bengals punter Kevin Huber's jaw. “What he's coached to do and what transpired are two different things,” Tomlin said. “The position he was in ... is what he's coached to do. The nature in which the block unfolded, obviously, is not what we're looking for. But the play hit pretty quick.” NFL officiating chief Dean Blandino told NFL Network that the league wants hits such as that penalized. “Even though he (Huber) is pursuing the play, he still gets defenseless-player protection,” Blandino said. “You can't hit him in the head or neck, and you can't use the crown or forehead parts of the helmet to the body.” Garvin likely will be fined.
• Roethlisberger said the second-half upswing by the offense is proof that coordinator Todd Haley's system is working. The Steelers are averaging 28 points over the past seven games, fourth most in the league. Roethlisberger would dislike having to adjust to a third offensive coordinator in four seasons in 2014. “The points we're putting up, the production, I would think that that would be enough for people to be like, ‘Relax a little bit,' and to see that our relationship is more than fine,” he said on his 93.7 FM radio show.
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