Mike Tomlin had his weekly meeting with the media on Tuesday. Here are some of the talking points.
– Sepulveda will have surgery on Friday for his torn ACL and should recover. Jeremy Kapinos is the new punter, and Tomlin initially pronounced his name wrong. He’s a Penn State guy and has kicked in the NFL this season with the Indianapolis Colts. So here we are in Week 14 with a new kicker and punter.
– Flozell Adams has a mild high ankle sprain and could play on Sunday. Maybe. Ben had surgery on Monday, and the biggest adjustment for him may be the fact he could wear a shield. Heath Miller could be doubtful. The Steelers will go on the side of caution with him. Troy’s plan for the week will be the same as it’s been for the past couple of weeks, Tomlin pointed out that it’s worked out well for both he and the team. Aaron Smith had an MRI, looks good, and he’s going to start lifting weights. No setbacks and he’s ready to take the next step, which Tomlin described as “good news.” Matt Spaeth has been fully cleared to play, which is good, because they’ll need him on Sunday.
– “Significant win” says Tomlin, which is putting it mildly. They’re also going to keep it in perspective. Move on to a new week and a new AFC North opponent. Speaking of which…
– The Bengals have sustained a significant number of injuries on their defensive line over the course of the season, but Tomlin is impressed with the young players they have stepping in and playing, including Carlos Dunlap who has “come on like gangbusters.” Reggie Nelson is coming on strong in the secondary, and, of course, they still have good corner with Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall.
– Offensively Jermaine Gresham is “really coming on.” Same thing can be said about Jordan Shipley who is “playing beyond his years.” Rotating offensive linemen in and out because of injuries, though, I don’t think the Steelers will have much sympathy for that. Seeing a lot of guys participate out of the backfield catching passes.
– The punters holding ability was a part of the equation, but not a significant part of the equation. Tomlin wasn’t going to let that be a determining factor. Punting was the most important factor (which makes sense).
– Ben is a competitor, “we expect that from him, not that it goes unappreciated, but we just expect that from him and he expects it from himself.”
– If Flozell can’t play on Sunday Trai Essex would probably start, but Tomlin said “we’ll see where the week takes us.”
– Tim Benz asks if the Steelers blitzed more often or more effectively to which Tomlin responds, “Compared to what?” This happens at least once a week with Benz.
– Tomlin was then asked if it was nice to see another team having to answer questions related to hits as opposed to football, to which he says it’s not his concern, he wasn’t aware there were any questions and that it’s Cincinnati Bengals week.
– Tomlin referred to Emmanuel Sanders’ special teams tackle at the end of the game as one of the biggest plays he’s made this season.
– Regarding your weekly Ziggy Hood question: Young guy given an opportunity, taken advantage of it, doing the detail things, using his hands well, staying square and good pad level. Getting production, and production comes from all of the little things mentioned above.
– Suisham’s filed goal was actually two yards outside of their agreed upon range based on what happen in pregame warmups, but Tomlin took a shot and it worked out. His comfort level in that end of the field would have been with the ball on the 25-yard line and “45 was pushing it.” On whether or not he’s been a lift to the team, “he’s six-for-six, we’ll take it.”
– Matt Spaeth is a “starter in waiting as for as we’re concerned,” said Tomlin, and that he’s asked and expected to do the same things Heath does. Also, “it’s not his first rodeo.”
– When asked if Keenan Lewis didn’t know the rule about running out of bounds on punts, Tomlin laughed, “you’ll have to ask Keenan.”