Tomlin reassures Bell he is on right track

October, 22, 2013
10/22/13
3:00
PM ET
PITTSBURGH -- Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made sure to lavish praise on Le'Veon Bell a couple of days after the rookie running back rushed for just 34 yards in the Week 6 win over the Jets.

After Bell gashed the Ravens for 93 yards last Sunday, Tomlin, unprompted and with a noticeable edge, asked: "Any questions about Le'Veon Bell?"

Tomlin may not be sensitive to outside criticism but he acknowledged that it could affect younger players such as Bell. That is why he gave the former Michigan State star a public vote of confidence.

"I felt the need to assure him that he's doing the right things, that's he's doing what we're asking him to do in a manner of which we ask him to do it," Tomlin said Tuesday. "I don't want him listening to the elevator music. I want him to listen to what matters and that's the opinion of the people that evaluate him."

Here are other notable topics that Tomlin addressed at his weekly news conference:
  • The Steelers released running back Isaac Redman and signed Kion Wilson, Tomlin said, because the latter gives them more flexibility on special teams. Wilson also provides depth at linebacker with Jarvis Jones coming back from a concussion. Tomlin did not provide an update on Jones and said the team will know more about his status Wednesday.
  • Tomlin said the offensive line played well against the Ravens, but asked if it has jelled, he said, "It would be premature to say that. Largely how they do and how we do is going to be determined how we move forward." Tomlin said pre-snap penalties are a concern, and he attributed those to the struggles the Steelers' offense has had in the red zone.
  • Zoltan Mesko's only punt against the Ravens covered just 36 yards and ended up as a net kick of 24 yards. Tomlin said Mesko's inconsistency has been an issue and that he has had a "junior varsity punt" in each of the last three games. "We need more consistency there," Tomlin said.
  • The decision Sunday to dress Isaiah Green over Curtis Brown resulted from Tomlin wanting to get the latter's attention. "Curtis is a top-flight special teams player but hadn't been playing that way over the last several weeks," Tomlin said.
  • Tomlin said he was told there was no "mechanism" in place to review the kickoff return after officials ruled that Emmanuel Sanders stepped out of bounds on the way to the end zone. Had the ruling on the field been a touchdown it would have automatically been reviewed. Asked if the proper time was put back on the clock after the ball was placed on the Steelers' 34-yard line, Tomlin said, "I have no idea. I was too pissed to notice."

Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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