Tomlin opened up his normal Tuesday press conference with the injuries. He stated the only preexisting injury was David DeCastro. Tomlin said he was in the building yesterday and today. The Steelers will have DeCastro practice this week and let the quality of his participation be a guide for his availability on Sunday against the Texans. Tomlin stated there are many guys who have bumps and bruises, but he doubts it will be significant in terms of their availability.
"Tyson Alualu has a knee contusion. Bud Dupree has got some discomfort in his shoulder. Diontae Johnson has a toe issue that he’s been dealing with."
"Some veteran guys, a cumulative effect of their careers, require less physical preparation in an effort to be ready to play. That aids in the preservation of their bodies, but it also provides quality reps for a younger guy who could need those reps and use those reps
for game preparation and growth. We feel like we get two things done when we take that approach, and we will continue with that this week."
Tomlin says the Steelers were far from perfect against the Broncos but says it was a great win while learning at the same time. He recognized penalties and third-down situations being the Steelers' biggest issues against the Broncos.
"A couple of things had our attention after the game continue to have our attention some 48 hours later. We were too highly penalized in the game."
"They were able to extend drives through DPI and things of that nature. When you get people to that point to where you have them in a third-down situation and you have the ball snapped and you’re executing the rush, there’s just too much ground covered to start over and give them a new set of downs. We have to get better in those areas."
Coach Tomlin said they're analyzing and openly talking about the penalties issues. The Steelers are also bringing in officials to their practice this week to help bring a point of emphasis in that area.
"We are not only analyzing and openly talking about the penalties, but we are working hard to rectify it. We intend to bring some officials to our practice work this week in an effort to make a point of emphasis in that area. That’s important for us."
The press conference then turned to the Steeler's next opponents; the Houston Texans.
"We have a hot team coming in here, and by that, I mean a team that has a lot of energy, a team that’s playing with some urgency, the Houston Texans. We have a hot team coming in here, and by that, I mean a team that has a lot of energy, a team that’s playing with some urgency, the Houston Texans."
"They’ve got continuity in their coaching staff in Coach O’Brien. He’s got wise council with guys like Romeo Crennel. They’ve got big-time continuity and core critical players like their franchise quarterback, (Deshaun) Watson, or their defensive captain in J.J. Watt. They have our attention. We realize the type of battle that we are going to be in."
Tomlin went through the entire Houston Texans offense and said they have a quality running game with David Johnson complimented with great wide receivers in Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks. He also said he has a lot of respect for Randall Cobb. Then Tomlin moved onto the defensive side of the ball and complimented JJ Watt saying he is the catalyst of the defense.
"On defense, it starts with J.J. Watt, three-time Defensive Player of the Year, five-time First-Team All-Pro. This guy is a catalyst for a lot of what they do on that side of the ball. He’s a quality rusher, and he’s capable of rushing from anywhere on the field, over your center, on the edge, and he does routinely in the same games, in the same drives."
"He’s a big-time ball disrupter who’s extremely mobile. He bats a lot of passes. When he breaks, he causes fumbles. We have to do a great job of ball possession versus this group."
For the Steelers and Coach Mike Tomlin, they're focusing on the maturation process of their group, individually and collectively to win football games. Tomlin acknowledges they will be challenged this week by the Houston Texans.
Tomlin is not concerned in regards to Ben Roethlisberger only throwing the football to Eric Ebron 7 times in two games.
"It’s early. Keep watching. That is all I can say to that. At this juncture in the season, you can ask a lot of those types of questions. A two-game body of work is not a big enough sample to assess. We are pleased with the development of Ebron and his role within our system and time will tell that story as we proceed."
The Steelers Coach is not concerned about the quality of officiating on Sunday against the Broncos. He said they're coaches and not officials.
"You know we are not doing that. We coach. We don’t officiate the game. We are not assessing judgment based on what’s called. We are simply acknowledging what is called and we are making whatever necessary change in our behavior to make sure that it is not called moving forward. It’s as simple as that for us."
Tomlin was asked how he thought Ben Roethlisberger has played so far and he seemed pleased by his progress.
"I like where he is. I think there is more meat on the bone. I’m excited about him continuing to knock the rust off and finding his All-Pro form if you will."
Finally, the Social Justice question came from Brooke Pryor with ESPN in regards to helmets and why the Steelers decided to let the players choose what they wanted to put on their helmets.
"Some guys wanted to support some other people or other causes. Like I have mentioned earlier, as long as our guys are thoughtful and classy about how they choose to participate in any area of social justice, whether it is things that they do in-game, that is less of an issue for us and we are more concerned about supporting them and making sure that they are positive contributors to the cause outside of the ball. Whatever they choose to do, we are going to support and thus the change."
The last question that Tomlin was asked was, "Do you notice the Watt brothers motivating each other in practice and how much did you lean on T.J. Watt when you were thinking about bringing in Derek Watt in free agency?"
"We didn’t lean on T.J.Watt at all. These guys are professionals and Derek Watt has to make the very best decisions for his family. He is married with a child, so I’m sure he didn’t come to Pittsburgh to play with his brother. Although, I’m sure that was an exciting element of it. It was a great business opportunity for him. I don’t notice a lot of interaction in a practice setting from those guys, particularly from T.J. T.J. is a lone wolf from a preparation standpoint if you will. I don’t know if he talks to anyone other than Bud Dupree in a practice setting."