Mike Tomlin Press Conference: Steelers Injury Report, Highlighted LA Rams Roster
Mike Tomlin addressed the team's extended list of injuries, but says he's 'optimistic' about the team having a clean bill of health for Sunday. Ramon Foster (concussion) is scheduled to practice tomorrow. He remains under concussion protocol but will begin his process back on Wednesday.
James Conner (shoulder), Rosie Nix (knee) and Trey Edmunds (Ribs) will "start slow" but see how their progression goes throughout the week. Conner missed Week 9 because of his shoulder, leaving Jaylen Samuels as the primary back for Pittsburgh.
Benny Snell Jr. will continue to miss time because of a knee injury. His predicted timetable is 2-3 weeks after having surgery.
It's no secret the Los Angeles Rams are one of the more talented groups in the NFL. Mike Tomlin agreed, highlighting both sides of the football for Los Angeles. Starting with the offense, Tomlin pointed out the run game and how it all starts with the All-Pro they have in the backfield.
"On the offensive side, we have to work out tail off to minimize [Todd] Gurley," Tomlin said. "He's a really talented runner. I know that they utilize others like Malcom Brown and the rookie, Henderson, but Gurley is really really talented and when he's going they're tough to deal with so we better minimize that aspect of their game."
From there, the Rams have a number of receivers Tomlin is concerned with. Cooper Kupp has tallied 792 yards and 5 touchdowns this season, leading a group that brings more talent that you may think.
"I can't say enough about what I've seen of Kupp on tape in terms of his overall productivity," Tomlin said. "Particularly on possession downs, his ability to play change-oriented football - [he] leads the NFL in third down catches, I believe, with 21.
The strength is in the pack, they have a lot of impressive eligibles. Whether it's [Brandon] Cooks, or [Robert] Woods or others, they're tight ends. They do a really good job of distributing the ball and distributing the ball in a number of ways."
On defense, the Rams took an already star-studded group and added the best cornerback in the NFL - at least according to Mike Tomlin. But despite LA's newest Pro Bowler, the biggest defensive threat starts on the defensive line.
"Obviously any discussions starts with minimizing Aaron Donald and the ways that he can control and dominate a game," Tomlin said. "They move him around a lot, all you've got to do is look at his sack reel and it illustrates that. He's got sacks against right guards, against left guards, against left tackles, I mean this guy moves up and down the line of scrimmage, they're thoughtful about that."
Tomlin said the Steelers will need to work on ways to find multiple bodies on Donald. The former Pitt Panther has 5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss through eight games. Pittsburgh will look to double-team him on almost every play.
"Regardless of how much they move him, we're going to have to work to get two people on him, because that's the type of player that he is," Tomlin said. "But it's getting increasingly difficult because they supplement him with really quality players around him.
[Donte Fowler, [Clay] Matthews on the edge are a formidable tandem in their own right. They're dangerous people, Matthews is scheduled to play this week - he's got a bunch of sacks and he's missed some games. He's been an awesome addition to him. Fowler is dynamic, we're of course familiar with him from his time at Jacksonville."
Pittsburgh will have to worry about the entire unit as a whole. The Rams bring a ton of talent to Heinz Field, and if the Steelers are going to keep their winning-streak alive they'll need execute against one of the NFL's best.
"Collectively, they have a really formidable bunch," Tomlin said. "You've better stay on schedule, better be able to do that, if you're behind the chains you're swimming in shark infested waters, with this rush and the people I just mentioned that comprise the backend."