Mike Tomlin was more forthcoming than normal Tuesday, probably because his players had already revealed items after an unusual "bonus" practice on Monday.
Tomlin confirmed at his weekly press conference that:
A. Isaac Redman will start at running back.
B. Fullback Will Johnson is iffy this week with a hamstring injury.
C. Tackle Kelvin Beachum is still working at tight end.
D. First-round pick Jarvis Jones won't start at OLB, but "Jones is going to play," Tomlin promised.
Redman had told reporters Monday that he "assumed" he was going to start Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, and Tomlin said Tuesday, "He will. We know what Isaac is capable of. He's answered the bell for us in the past and we expect him to do it in a big way moving forward."
And "a big way" is possible against a Titans defense that finished 24th against the run last season and 30th this preseason. The Titans allowed 5.1 yards per carry this preseason, 31st in the league.
Redman has been listed as a co-starter with rookie Le'Veon Bell on the Steelers' preseason depth chart, but Bell was ruled out of Sunday's game with the mid-foot sprain suffered Aug. 24.
"Young guys like him have got to practice in order to participate," Tomlin said of Bell, who hopes to return the following week.
Johnson, the fullback who hurt his hamstring covering a kickoff in the final preseason game, will try to practice Wednesday, but Tomlin is hoping for a practice later in the week and said "we'll leave the light on."
David Johnson would've been the replacement two years ago, but he's still working through knee issues and David Paulson has played the position lately.
As for the tight ends, Heath Miller worked in a very limited capacity Monday and remains highly doubtful for Sunday. But Tomlin confirmed that Beachum is back working at tight end a day after Beachum said, "I'll be playing it a lot this week."
As for Jones, the first-round pick, Tomlin mistakenly said he would return kickoffs with LaRod Stephens-Howling. Tomlin wasn't asked to correct himself since it was assumed he meant to say Felix Jones.
Tomlin wasn't mistaken when he said "Jones is going to play," after confirming that Jason Worilds would start at right outside linebacker.
Tomlin also answered "yes" when asked if "(LaMarr) Woodley might come out on some snaps?"
That flew in the face of what Woodley said about a potential three-man rotation on Monday. Woodley took umbrage to the question and said "That was preseason. You can't go by what you saw in preseason. ... No. You'll see. No. That was only preseason."
Tomlin also said that Antonio Brown and rookie Markus Wheaton would return punts.
WORKED FOR THE BUCS
The Steelers went out and got themselves a little Zoltan power Monday when they claimed former New England Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko off the waiver wire and said goodbye to Drew Butler.
Mesko and his family left Romania when Mesko was 11. They won a 1-in-345 lottery and young Zoltan was able to grow up playing soccer in Ohio.
He went to Michigan, then to the Patriots, and four years later he's in Pittsburgh.
Butler had just won a hard-fought competition, so Tomlin explained why he suddenly switched to a punter with similar statistics.
"He's a high-pedigreed guy," Tomlin said of Mesko, a 2010 fifth-round pick. "He's a long guy, a left-footer. He's no stranger to the elements, having kicked in New England and the University of Michigan. He's an Ohio native. All those things were attractive to us."
WVU'S GARVIN SIGNED
The Steelers placed Matt Spaeth on injured reserve/designated for return. He can begin practicing after the sixth NFL weekend and return to active duty after the eighth weekend.
To take Spaeth's place the Steelers signed rookie linebacker Terence Garvin, the former safety/rover/linebacker at WVU.
Garvin wasn't drafted, nor signed immediately after the draft, but was invited to rookie camp and the Steelers liked what they saw and added him to their roster.
Garvin had 12 tackles in preseason, and even began working at OLB in the final two games -- a sign the coach is attempting to add versatility for some long-range plans. And Tomlin obviously had such plans for Garvin, who'll probably play special teams in the opener Sunday.
The Steelers filled Garvin's spot on the practice squad with WR Kashif Moore.