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Tomlin Acknowledges ‘Step Back’ on Offensive Line, Doesn’t Rule Out Changes



Kendrick Green

PITTSBURGH — Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged that his offensive line took a step backward against the Chicago Bears on Monday night, and did not rule out making changes to that unit moving forward.

Speaking with the media on Tuesday, Tomlin said that the Bears wreaked havoc on his five-man front and that was especially evident in terms of the running game, where Najee Harris averaged 2.8 yards per carry on 22 attempts.

“In terms of controlling the line of scrimmage on offense, I thought we didn’t do that,” Tomlin said. “That was a step back relative to recent weeks. But you’ve got to give the Bears credit. …

“We still very much have young guys working in that space and so, I’m not shocked. Sometimes when I look at tape I see incremental steps backwards as we move forward, but largely I think the trajectory of our group has been one that’s positive. But we’re not being realistic or are true to ourselves if we didn’t acknowledge that that was a step back last night.”

In response to that step back, Tomlin said that his unit will have to get to back to work on improving, but also that the team will continue to evaluate the best players to play every week. Former starting right tackle Zach Banner has been inactive the last three games.

“We’re going to put our best group on the field every week that we believe gives us the best chance of winning that particular game,” Tomlin said. “The guys that we had on the field last night were reflective of that. We’ll see what this week holds. Zach will be included in that mix this week, just like some others, and at the end of the week, we’ll decide who gives us the best chance and that’s who we’ll go with.”

Whether or not the team makes personnel changes, the focus this week will be preventing the same thing from happening again next Sunday in Detroit.

“The most important thing is how do we use utilize it as a catalyst for growth individually and collectively?” Tomlin said. “We’ve got to watch the tape. We’ve got to learn from it, and then we’ve got to plot, a course to minimize the possibility of that happening moving forward.”

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