Tomlin: Steelers to put Vick in 'comfort zone' while Roethlisberger out

Steelers can make the playoffs, but they're in trouble (1:52)

First Take's Stephen A. Smith breaks down the Steelers' chances of reaching the playoffs with QB Michael Vick as their starter. (1:52)

PITTSBURGH -- Mike Tomlin on Monday declined to put a timetable on when Ben Roethlisberger will return from his knee injury, other than to say it will be "a number of weeks."

But the Pittsburgh Steelers coach expressed confidence in backup quarterback Michael Vick, whom he thinks has plenty left.

Vick will start for the Steelers (2-1) on Thursday night when they host the Baltimore Ravens (0-3), a job Vick will hold indefinitely while Roethlisberger is out. A team source told ESPN's Chris Mortensen on Sunday that Roethlisberger also suffered a bone bruise and will miss four to six weeks as he recovers.

Vick completed 5 of 6 passes for 38 yards after Roethlisberger's exit with a sprained MCL in his left knee. He wasn't asked to do much other than avoid mistakes while the defense preserved a second-half lead.

The challenge will change considerably at home against a winless rival, though Tomlin is hardly worried about Vick's ability to get prepared in the 100 hours in between games.

"This isn't his first rodeo," Tomlin said.

Vick won't be given as much latitude as Roethlisberger, who has spent the past three-plus seasons working with offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Vick, by contrast, has been in town less than five weeks.

"We're going to work in his comfort zone and bring the game to him and put us in position to win football games," Tomlin said.

Tomlin declined to take issue with St. Louis Rams safety Mark Barron's hit on Roethlisberger, pointing to a letter coaches received from the league about being critical of officials.

A half-decade removed from his last truly special season -- when he won the comeback player of the year in 2010 while with Philadelphia -- Vick is less game changer and more game manager. If Vick's job is to simply help Pittsburgh's two stars do theirs, that's fine by him.

"I won't put it all on my shoulders," Vick said. "I'll take sole responsibility of everything that happens, but I'm just going to prepare myself and get myself in the position to help this football team."

The Steelers can sell optimism on the practice field this week, with playmakers eager to carry the load left behind by Roethlisberger.

Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey told Roethlisberger as he was carted off the field Sunday: "We're going to make plays for you."

Said Heyward-Bey of the offense: "I believe we're the hardest working group in football. ... We'll be fine. ... I don't think we should change at all."

Heyward-Bey and defensive tackle Stephon Tuitt agree Vick's athleticism and arm strength are still intact.

"When it's time for him to get up there, I know he's going to do his thing," Tuitt said.

The biggest offensive adjustment could come in the no-huddle, which Roethlisberger loves running and has mastered. The Steelers might need to scale that back because of Vick's newness to the system, though Heyward-Bey said Vick made a few calls at the line Sunday, which is encouraging.

"He's a guy that's in the building; he was in there today getting ready," Heyward-Bey said. "He's a pro."

ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler and The Associated Press contributed to this report.