Five cuts must be made by 5 p.m. today for the Steelers to get down to the 75-player limit. While coach Mike Tomlin said Monday that nobody had been cut yet, poor performances in the loss Sunday night to the Denver Broncos likely will make the decisions easier.
The personnel moves come as the Steelers race to the final preseason game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at home against the Carolina Panthers.
"We judge on the complete body of work," said Tomlin, noting that evaluations are made on what players did at training camp, in preseason games and practices.
That said, the remaining hopefuls have one more chance to convince coaches that they are worthy of a roster spot. The cutdown to a maximum of 53 players will be Saturday.
"We've got a short week," Tomlin said. "This is a big game for a lot of men, not just on our team but around the league."
Generally speaking, Tomlin said his starters will play Thursday, but he did not say for how long or in what order because he had not gone over those details with his staff.
After arriving from Denver in the wee hours, Tomlin studied film from the 34-17 loss and met with the media at 1 p.m. Asked if he had slept, the coach said, "I'll sleep later."
Sifting through the rubble of the loss to Denver, Tomlin said rookie center Maurkice Pouncey "represented himself well" against nose tackle Jamal Williams but had to adjust to working on a silent snap count in a hostile environment.
He also was pleased with what he saw from linebacker Lawrence Timmons and rookie running back Jonathon Dwyer, who had been hampered by a shoulder injury. But overall, the Steelers left a lot to be desired in their third preseason game, which is often viewed as the best tune-up for the regular season.
"We took a step back. You shoot yourself in the foot, you're going to lose football games," Tomlin said. "Where there's pain, there's growth, hopefully. That's what the preseason is for."
Tomlin was especially incensed at the 93 yards in penalties on 11 fouls called against the Steelers, including an unsportsmanlike-conduct call on cornerback Keenan Lewis.
"Those types of things are out of bounds for us if we want to be a quality football team," Tomlin said. "I'd rather have to say 'whoa' than 'sic 'em,' but we have to say whoa."
The long, flowing black hair that tumbles out of Troy Polamalu's helmet and down his back has been insured for $1 million by Head and Shoulders, the shampoo brand that is endorsed by the Steelers safety. The insurance was obtained through Lloyd's of London.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.