PITTSBURGH -- Even though Art Rooney II, Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger have refuted and given no validity to an NFL Network report that Roethlisberger will seek a trade after the season, the questions continued on Wednesday.
In fact, Roethlisberger became upset when asked about the report by the Detroit media during Wednesday's conference call.
"What report?" Roethlisberger said. "It’s so ridiculous. I just got done talking to our guys. I am not even addressing it because it takes away from what we are trying to do and that’s win this football game. That’s all that matters to me. It makes me so mad I don’t even want to address it anymore.”
RED ZONE WOES
The Steelers reached the red zone five times against the Buffalo Bills and scored two touchdowns (and three field goals) to lower their TD success rate to a 28th-ranked 44.8 percent.
"That’s why I think I was so disappointed after the game," Roethlisberger said. "We won, and I am happy about that, but we should have been better."
The touchdowns were scored by Jerricho Cotchery via pass and Le'Veon Bell via run.
"I just think when we get down there we need to keep staying aggressive and not get too conservative and bring in the extra lineman and play that conservative role," Roethlisberger said. "We have great weapons. We can still spread them out and run the ball. So we will take a look at what we can continue to do to get better down there."
BIG MAN BLUES
There are many excuses being made in Pittsburgh for Roethlisberger's poor season, but the most valid might be that Plaxico Burress still hasn't been replaced.
Roethlisberger and the 6-foot-5 Burress became an explosive pairing by the end of the 2004 season, and then Burress left. Roethlisberger has never been shy about his desire for another big receiver.
"It doesn’t hurt to have the big boy (Calvin Johnson)," Roethlisberger told the Detroit media about Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's successful season.
Stafford has been sacked only 10 times, or 25 fewer than Roethlisberger, and Stafford has two rookies and a second-year player on his offensive line. But Tomlin didn't mention the lack of a big target when asked why Roethlisberger's taking so many sacks.
“Protection issues, not having continuity in the offensive line, us trying to throw the ball vertically down the field because of down and distance situations, him trying to create and maximize opportunities. Pick one," Tomlin told Detroit reporters.
The Steelers practiced without their starting offensive line Wednesday, when LG Ramon Foster (ankle) and C Fernando Velasco (knee) did not practice at all, and LT Kelvin Beachum, RG David DeCastro (ankle) and RT Marcus Gilbert (ankle) were limited.
The Steelers' only healthy linemen were Mike Adams, Guy Whimper, Cody Wallace and practice-squad players Chris Hubbard and Joe Long.
Also missing practice were S Shamarko Thomas (ankle), DE Brett Keisel (foot) and OLB LaMarr Woodley. TE Heath Miller was limited.