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Tomlin Bringing Referees into Steelers Practice to Help Penalty Issues

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Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin thinks his team took too many penalties in their Week 2 win over the Denver Broncos at Heinz Field on Saturday, and he’s going to do something about it.

Tomlin said on Tuesday that he’s bringing referees into practice this week in order to help his team remain in compliance with the NFL rulebook on gamedays.

“It hurt our efforts on both sides of the ball,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “It hurt our efforts in terms of possessing the ball on offense. We had two critical holding calls in the first half that put us behind the chains and essentially stopped drives. Ball possession and drives, there’s too much scarcity in that discussion to get major penalties and throw yourself behind the chains. We’re just not good enough to overcome those things at this juncture, and quite frankly, I would imagine not many of us in this game are that good at this juncture.

“On the defensive side of the ball, we didn’t play clean enough on the back end on possession downs. 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.”

Special teams were also part of the problem, Tomlin said, as the Steelers had a Diontae Johnson punt return touchdown called back due to a block in the back. In total, the Steelers were penalized 10 times for 89 yards.

“We are not only analyzing and openly talking about the penalties, but we are working hard to rectify it,” he said. “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. Again, I just thought that was a catalyst for a lot of negativity in the game for us.”

Steelers cornerback Joe Haden said after the game that the team felt that “some of the calls weren’t going their way,” but Tomlin said they don’t consider whether or not they think a call should have been made when assessing and evaluating team performance.

“We coach. We don’t officiate the game,” he said “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 said the team is still working through the procedures to have the officials they want to use tested and able to be on the practice field at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex when the team returns to work on Wednesday.

Steelers

Highlights from Steelers Practice 10/22/20

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Stephon Tuitt practices his footwork and Minkah Fitzpatrick works on his ball awareness as the Steelers defense prepares for their upcoming matchup with the Tennessee Titans.

Footage courtesy Pittsburgh Steelers

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Steelers

Highlights from Steelers Practice 10/21/20

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Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson returns to practice and joins star rookie Chase Claypool by running routes and catching passes on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. The Steelers hope to show off their dynamic offense at full strength during the team’s game this Sunday against Tennessee.

Footage courtesy Pittsburgh Steelers

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NFL

Le’Veon Bell Says He’s Never Played with an MVP-Caliber QB

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Kansas City running back Le’Veon Bell spoke with the media Wednesday for the first time since signing with the Chiefs and expressed excitement about the chance to play with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but he may have taken a shot at his former teammate Ben Roethlisberger in the process.

“Patty Mahomes, I’ve never played with a player MVP-wise, so it’s gonna be fun,” Bell said. “I think it’s a lot of weapons, it’s gonna be fun for me.”

While Bell could just be propping up his new teammate, it does appear that the three-time Pro Bowler has already forgotten just how good he had it as a Pittsburgh Steeler.

Roethlisberger has never won an MVP award, but the future Hall of Famer did post MVP-caliber numbers over the five seasons they spent together in Pittsburgh.

From 2013 to 2017, Roethlisberger passed for 21,221 yards and 138 touchdowns, as the Steelers went a combined 48-24 when he was under center. Bell was a clear beneficiary of Roethlisberger’s production. Not only did he rush for 5,336 yards and 35 scores as a Steelers, but he also caught 312 passes for 2,660 yards and seven touchdowns.

Bell signed with Kansas City last week after being released by the New York Jets following a disappointing 17 games with the franchise. The two-time All-Pro rushed for just 863 yards and three touchdowns as a Jet. He had no rushes over 19 yards while playing under head coach Adam Gase, and did not post a single 100-yard rushing performance in New York.

Pittsburgh selected Bell in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, but the two sides were unable to agree to a long-term extension following a productive five years. Bell sat out the entirety of the 2018 season before signing a free agent contract with New York. He is fourth in Steelers history with 5,335 rushing yards and 35 rushing touchdowns

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