Coach Tomlin says Roethlisberger could play Sunday
Coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers expressed confidence that Ben Roethlisberger, his injured quarterback, and center Maurkice Pouncey, have a chance of playing in the regular-season finale this Sunday at Cleveland.
Tomlin said on Tuesday that if the two guys proved to be healthy enough for practice, they will play.
Of course, the sprained left ankles may not have to be rushed, considering how backups Trai Essex and Charlie Batch led the team to a 27-0 win in versus the Rams. The 37-year0old Batch threw for 208 yards at the St. Louis game on Saturday.
Tomlin described Batch as doing some really good things, but said that his performance had no bearing on how the decision would be made for this week. He said that the decisions revolved mainly around the health of the players.
“But I like the way Batch… led and communicated,” he confirmed.
If the Steelers win in Cleveland and Baltimore loses in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh stands a chance to win the AFC North. It can also grab the top seeding in the conference with a loss by New England.
The last two games had had Pouncey sitting out, while back-up Essex, despite not having had a chance to play center throughout the season, managed to assist the Steelers at picking up 169 yards running against St. Louis.
Meanwhile, Roehtlisberger had gone down with a high ankle sprain back in December 8 during the second quarter of a game against Cleveland, and since then, Coach Tomlin had apparently played yoyo with him. The quarterback had come back to play in the second half, and then started and played an entire game against San Francisco the week after that, which ended with a 20-3 loss.
Tomlin reportedly wants Roethlisberger to get some work before the start of the playoffs.
Tomlin confirmed that along with the quarterback and Pouncey, LaMarr Woodley and Emmanuel Sanders also had chances of playing.
Woodley had also missed five out of the last seven games, and had only played briefly in another game owing to a hamstring injury that lingered.
Sanders had also missed three of the last games due to a foot injury, and also missed two more games after having meniscus surgery back in early November. He had begun the season as the number 3 receiver.
Meanwhile, Doug Legursky, who had become the starting left guard in November and played center for Pouncey in the last two games, also has an injury on his shoulder, and is confirmed not to play in Cleveland. Essex or Chris Kemeoatu would stand in Legursky’s place at left guard, despite Essex also being backup to Pouncey.
Tomlin described Essex as having to make himself available at both the guard and center positions, which was apparently what he had done too in recent weeks. He would reportedly be required to prepare as a guard, but for this game, he will get some center work with Pouncey back.