Mike Tomlin talks injuries, third-down conversions and special teams as Steelers prep for Raiders

The Steelers are dealing with a number of injuries this week as they prepare to travel to Oakland for the game against the Raiders Sunday.

Coach Mike Tomlin said today at his weekly news conference that receiver Markus Wheaton (finger) will miss a third consecutive game. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who had 17 tackles against the Ravens, has a fractured bone in his left hand. Has has been fitted with a cast and is expected to play this week.

Others have injuries that will be monitored throughout the week. Left tackle Kelvin Beachum (ribs), right tackle Marcus Gilbert (quad), outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (knee), defensive end Brett Keisel (ribs), defensive end Cameron Heyward (illness) and receiver Jerricho Cotchery (abdomen) might be limited in practice.

Tomlin talks about Timmons' injury, running game

At his news conference today, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin talked about Lawrence Timmons' broken hand, the release of Isaac Redman and other topics. The PG's Ed Bouchette puts it all in context. (Video by Steve Mellon; 10/22/2013)

Tomlin was also critical of pre-snap penalties on the offense that he believes are contributing to the team's woes in the red zone as well as the defense's inability to get off the field on third downs.

The Steelers beat the Ravens, 19-16, but settled for four field goals.

"When you're playing good people, pre-snap penalties kill drives," Tomlin said. "We had a third-and-4 that went to third-and-9 that we didn't convert. When you play people like that and have an opportunity to get seven you have to do that."

Tomlin also was bothered that the defense allowed so many third-down conversions on the Ravens drive near the end of the game that tied the score.

"Defensively, we did some good things, stiff when we needed to be, but their ability to convert third downs was troublesome at times," he said.

Tomlin also explained the decision to release veteran running back Isaac Redman. He said it mostly had to do with special teams.

Linebacker Kion Wilson, the player activated to the 53-man roster, is a "viable" special teams player and Redman had been inactive for the past few games.

Tomlin also said former third-round pick Curtis Brown was deactivated in favor of rookie free agent Isaiah Green because Brown had not been playing well on special teams.

"I chose not to play Curtis," Tomlin said. "Curtis is a top flight special-teams player but hadn't been playing that way."

Tomlin's patience with punter Zoltan Mesko also might be running short. He referred to some of his punts as "junior varsity punts."

"We need more consistency there," Tomlin said.

The Steelers and Raiders both enter the game with 2-4 records.

First Published October 22, 2013 12:44 PM

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