PITTSBURGH — Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett has a bone bruise in his left knee and will practice in some capacity Wednesday, coach Mike Tomlin said.

Tomlin said Pickett’s availability for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens will be determined as the week unfolds. The quarterback exited Sunday’s 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans in the third quarter after being sacked on fourth-and-1.

“The more functional and more comfortable he is, the more work he’ll get and then as we push forward toward the game, the quality of his work will be a determining factor on his availability,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “A quarterback is no different than any other position. … They need the in-helmet perspective on preparation. He knows and understands that he’s prepared to practice tomorrow.”

If Pickett can’t go, quarterback Mitch Trubisky will start in his place.

After spending the first 20 minutes discussing the team’s need to be more physical, Tomlin on Tuesday also acknowledged the coaching shortfalls that contributed to the 24-point loss in Houston and the team’s 2-2 start.

“Not good enough,” Tomlin said of his evaluation of the coaching. “… Forget win or lose. Whenever we don’t play well as a coach, man, you start there.”

But of the changes being made, none will directly impact the gameday responsibilities of the coaching staff, including heavily criticized offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

Said Tomlin: “Not at this juncture.”

For Pickett, Tomlin said, in addition to monitoring his health, the primary concern is making “fluid decisions.”

“I think as plays get extended particularly early in games, it increases the potential for offensive negativity and defensive positivity,” Tomlin said. “And so, I think a component of us getting off the more fluid starts is more fluid decision making and things happening more on rhythm. “That’ll be a focus for him — and for us, because it’s not just him.”

Pickett is at the top of a lengthy injury list for the Steelers, who are already without receiver Diontae Johnson (hamstring) and defensive lineman Cam Heyward (groin) — with both players on IR.

The Steelers will also be without left tackle Dan Moore Jr. (knee sprain), which paves way for rookie first-round pick Broderick Jones to make his first NFL start.

Tight end Pat Freiermuth (hamstring) is very doubtful, Tomlin said, while defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal is in concussion protocol. Punter Pressley Harvin (hamstring) and guard James Daniels (groin) both missed Sunday’s game and will continue working toward a return.

Though the Steelers are banged up, Tomlin emphasized a need to increase the physicality in the team’s preparation during the week.

“Houston, we thought, were more physical than us and played harder than us and that’s something that’s got to change immediately,” Tomlin said. “… We got to look at what we’re doing in an effort to make sure that that doesn’t reoccur. And specifically in terms of the structure of preparation, it makes us look at our practice attire the last couple of weeks due to a variety of circumstances.”

Part of that, Tomlin said, will be practicing in pads on Wednesday — something the team hasn’t done because of short weeks and West Coast travel.

Tomlin said he shared a similar message with the team on the sideline during the game and in the locker room after the loss. And, Tomlin said, it’s why Trubisky said after the game that the offense needed to play with “more heart.”

“He probably referred to his heart, but it was probably about playing hard, which is what I talked to the team about before we opened the locker room to the press,” Tomlin said. “It was probably an interpretation of that discussion. They played harder than us. We got to tip our cap to them for that, but we got to rectify that, and the quickest way to rectify that is to acknowledge it sooner rather than later.”


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