He also suggested they will not look outside of their team for help, such as signing a free-agent linebacker. They have no linebackers left on their practice squad after signing Mortty Ivy from there Saturday. He said they still have flexibility on defense.
"We might be capable of playing with four defensive linemen," Tomlin said. "We are not going to leave anything out. What we do know is that our answers generally are in-house. So, if we are out of in-house linebackers, then some of those answers might have to be in the D-line."
They have several options available:
• Versatile end Brett Keisel could move to linebacker with rookie Cameron Heyward taking his spot at end.
• They could turn to a six-man secondary, which they used often against New England.
• They could form a four-man line of tackles Casey Hampton and Chris Hoke/Steve McClendon and ends Keisel and Ziggy Hood and play a 4-3 defense with Foote at inside linebacker and Timmons and somebody on the outside.
"Or 4-2," Tomlin suggested. "Or one of the many variations we have. We are very multiple defensively, usually in response to offensive packages, but, sometimes, your personnel may dictate otherwise.
"I am just saying that, at this juncture, we are open to all potential possibilities in terms of dealing with our situations and that we are not going to go grasping at straws outside of our building in terms of addressing it."