TUESDAY’S STEELERS BUZZ
By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — For those concerned that the Pittsburgh Steelers, 0-3 so far in the preseason, are headed for a disastrous 2013 regular season it’s crucial to note that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger expressed none.
“I’m so worried,” Roethlisberger said with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. “Can’t you see it on my face? It’s the preseason, and we’re taking this time to work on things and get better, but we’ll be ready to go when it’s time.”
The Steelers’ general lack of scoring and limited ability to run the football during the opening three preseason games are what makes fans fret the most, but it didn’t seem to bother Coach Mile Tomlin Tuesday.
“I like where we are from a development standpoint in ’13,” Tomlin said. “I don’t worry about our past rankings. That’s really irrelevant as we build this team. … We’ve done some good things. I like the work of our offensive line, collectively, the spirit with which they work.
“They’re continually improving with every effort, and that’s what we need. Of course, we’re running out of those opportunities. So, it’s time to really put the finishing touches on it from that standpoint. I like the rapport that’s being developed between our quarterbacks and wide receivers, particularly some new guys that are showing that they’re capable of helping.
“Guys like Markus Wheaton,” Tomlin added. “Obviously, we’re working through a situation at the tight end position due to circumstance, but it also has given us a chance for some people to show versatility and availability. … But, largely, we’re a group in development. And we need to continue to be that. Obviously, we’ll be tested here soon enough.”
Roethlisberger mentioned how confident he still was in the offensive line, and he echoed that sentiment about the wideouts.
“We’re putting in some good work in practice,” Roethlisberger said. “We’re getting some good things done, and I like the growth and development of that group and me working with them.”
Roethlisberger also was asked about his improvisation ability and if he eventually wanted to get away from scrambling around on nearly every play just to make a play. He wasn’t amused.
“Um, well, it’s worked so far for me,” Roethlisberger said. “I’ve been semi-successful in my career. So, I’m just going to keep doing what I have to do to try to win games. It’s just playing ball, so I go out there and do what I have to do.”
Heath on the Mend
Tomlin noted that Miller would be held out this week as well, which seemed odd since it was clear to most that he also was expected to miss several regular-season games while rehabbing his surgically repaired right knee. When pressed, Tomlin explained his comment.
“He’s doing great,” Tomlin said. “He really is. We’re going to look at him more hard-core after we get back from Carolina, obviously, but the fact that I mentioned his name would give an indication that he’s progressing and progressing nicely.”
Miller said Tuesday that he has not asked when he would be taken off the PUP list, but when that happens he wants to be “ready to play and ready to play at a good level.”
Miller was fitted for a brace to support the knee, but he hasn’t used it much lately.
“I don’t prefer to use those things,” Miller said. “I’m sure, at the appropriate time, we’ll decide if I need to use it or not. … It’s been a long process, and the hardest part probably is the ending part. But I try not to focus on how long I’ve been doing it (about eight months), but I want to focus on getting stronger each day and getting stronger mentally.
“The best I can do is to stack positive days together, but I’ll be happy whenever that day comes. This is our job. No one likes to sit down and watch your teammates play, while you’re kind of left out a little bit. But that just gives you more motivation to put into your rehab and put into getting better and getting your body where it needs to be.”
Beachum as Heath’s Replacement
“Well, he’s definitely a better blocker than me, but they didn’t give him a chance to get down the field, though, so that’s still a question mark,” Miller said. “(But) we’ve got to work on his stance a little bit.”
Beachum also was praised by Tomlin.
“Obviously, we’re working through a situation at the tight end position due to circumstance, but it also has given us a chance for some people to show versatility and availability,” Tomlin said. “I like what Kelvin Beachum did as an eligible lineman playing the tight end position in the last football game.”
The regular season-opener is against the Tennessee Titans Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field.