Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, known for having a bark larger than his bite, today put some muscle into his post-game rant after loss No. 4 when he promised change. He announced two at his news conference:
• Defensive end Cameron Heyward, the team's No. 1 draft choice in 2011, will move into the starting lineup replacing Ziggy Hood, the No. 1 draft choice in 2009.
• At left tackle, Tomlin is certain he will replace Mike Adams, who has been several degrees below terrible. Either second-year pro Kelvin Beachum or veteran Levi Brown, who was acquired in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals last week, will get the start.
Hood has been well below the standard for a No. 1 draft choice and this kind of makes it official. The question is: Will Heyward, who has been unspectacular but somewhat promising, join Hood in mediocrity or will he establish himself as a player worthy of being taken in the first round?
The Steelers play the New York Jets Sunday, a game that once was viewed as a win. It still might be but it's being viewed in a different perspective these days in light of the Steelers start. The Jets are 3-2 and playing at home. The Steelers are 0-4 and playing on the road.
The ugly spectre of 0-5 looms.
The Jets are nothing great. Their three wins are against Tampa Bay, Buffalo and Atlanta, teams that are a combined 3-11. The combined record of teams the Steelers have defeated ...
The Heyward-Hood switch is not that big a deal. They had been splitting time and will continue to do so.
Tomlin said, "[Heyward] will play more and deservedly so. I think he's been really solid. Both guys will continue to play. We just want Cam to play more than he's been playing and to assure that we're going to put him in the starting lineup."
The man either Hood or Heyward was expected to replace, Brett Keisel, will continue to start at the other defensive end.
Brown is a former No. 1 pick of the Arizona Cardinals but was viewed with about the same level of respect as Adams is with the Steelers. He wasn't getting the job done. Sometimes a change of location can alter the course of a player's career. Sometimes.
"Levi Brown is a veteran, battle-tested," Tomlin said. "He's still working to establish a role. His presence is needed and valued."
Tomlin was asked about the future of Adams, a No. 2 pick in 2012. He said. "The most important thing is not what happened to him. It's how he responds and moves forward. I think it will define his career. It's time for Mike to roll the sleeves up and go to work."
Same for the rest of the team.
First Published October 8, 2013 10:10 AM