View Full Version : Tomlin PC transcript

12-07-2009, 06:54 PM
note his words about Ike Taylor

Mike Tomlin By SteelCityInsider.com

Posted Dec 7, 2009

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Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin talked in detail about some of the mistakes during Sunday's loss to the Oakland Raiders, and he assured he will consider changes for Thursday night's game in Cleveland.

Mike Tomlin, coach, Pittsburgh Steelers
Good afternoon. Very disappointing defeat of course yesterday. I think itís appropriate at this point to acknowledge we have an undesirable pattern of behavior, which produces a series of outcomes that are not what weíre looking for. Moving forward this week and beyond, we canít continue to do what weíve been doing and assume that that pattern of behavior is going to change and those outcomes are going to change. So weíre analyzing all aspects of what weíre doing here, specifically this week, and are going to be aggressive in terms of looking at potential changes in not only what we do schematically, but who we have do it in all three phases, because itís appropriate. I think that is evident. We have some things from a personality standpoint that are occurring continuously that are not acceptable. Weíre not making plays at the end of the game, particularly defensively on the back end Ė opportunities to close the game out from an interception standpoint, allowing people to get big plays on us. Offensively weíre squandering scoring opportunities. We had two opportunities in the red area that were unsuccessful yesterday. We got stopped on fourth and half a yard on a quarterback sneak. We threw an interception on first down in the red area that took other points off the board. We were in very reasonable field goal range, got sacked on a third down that put us on the outer perimeter of field goal range, which of course we missed. When youíre squandering scoring opportunities offensively, youíre giving up plays and not making plays at critical moments defensively, you have a pattern of behavior thatís unacceptable thatís going to produce losses, which is what has happened. We acknowledge and accept responsibility for that. Weíre going to take appropriate action. At this time I think appropriate action is looking at doing some things differently and potentially with different combinations of people. So, it gets increasingly difficult because weíre working with a short week Ė we understand that Ė but so are the Cleveland Browns. Weíre going to proceed and prepare and ultimately try to find a formula that produces a win for us, which is what we desperately need.

From an injury standpoint, in the game William Gay sustained a concussion. Weíll take him through the procedures we take guys through coming off a concussion. Heíll take a battery of tests which will determine whether or not heís able to practice. If heís able to practice, weíll check him for levels of discomfort and see where it takes us here early in the week. Hines Ward had a mild hamstring strain on the second-to-last play of the game when he caught that out around midfield. So, heís going to be very questionable for this game. The hamstring is mild but weíre working on an extremely short week. Weíll see where it goes, but not favorable for him. Some existing injuries, weíre going to size Charlie Batch up for a soft cast and I think weíre going to get some participation out of him at practice, or at least attempt to. Travis Kirschke appears to be ready to go from the calf strain that he sustained a few weeks back and was able to play, and then wasnít able to play in this game. Hopefully thatís one thatís behind us. Rashard Mendenhall has a minor ankle sprain or swelling. It may limit him tomorrow but heís going to be fine and ready to play in the football game. Troy (Polamalu) is continuing to be evaluated. I donít think heís going to play in this football game. Questions.

Q: Who starts at cornerback in place of William Gay?

A: Itís going to be Joe Burnett. Keenan Lewis is going to get an opportunity to play. We want to see both of those guys. Theyíre young guys; theyíve been working. We want to see both of those guys play.

Q: You want to leave Deshea Townsend in the dime?

A: Yes.

Q: What about some of the other changes?

A: You know, itís very early in the week. If we were at the normal Tuesday press conference Iíd probably have more information for you in that regard, but weíre in the early stages of development of our plan as I sit here right now, but I assure you there are going to be some.

Q: Will there be many?

A: Whatever we thinkís appropriate in terms of giving ourselves a chance to win based on the matchup with the Cleveland Browns, so subtle in some areas, maybe not so subtle in others. But I am acknowledging that I am very open to that.

Q: On defense?

A: All three phases.

Q: Could you talk about the mental wounds that need to be healed?

A: Youíve got to acknowledge that the potential that this can be kind of a shaken group. Weíve swallowed a lot of late. Weíre going to have to become one with ourselves, if you will, individually and collectively. Iím going to be looking very closely at these men and itís going to provide quality information for me in terms of who legitimately is mentally tough and who can stand the test of some adversity, because we have some, and whoís going to lead the charge more than anything, in terms of getting us out of this and winning a football game. Iím going to be very interested in who those people are, and who those people arenít.

Q: Did they lose equity they may have earned after winning a Super Bowl?

A: Certainly, but I didnít carry the equity into this season. I think Iíve been pretty clear about my mentality in regards to that. Iíve said since day one that each season is one thatís very different and that what we do stands alone, even if a lot of the people are the same people. Nothing stays the same in this game. Players are ascending players or descending. People catch up with schemes; schemes evolve. Playing and coaching, this thing is ever changing. We acknowledge that, so youíre always slow to talk about equity from season to season in terms of some of the things that lead to discussions of decision-making. Iím more concerned with the equity thatís built over the course of a season.

Q: Are you satisfied with the leadership youíre getting?

A: Weíve got quality leaders. We do. Weíve got quality guys. Itís not about the type of leadership that we have, the type of people that we are, or the type of football character that we display, itís about making plays. Itís about the performance. Who we are and what we do are two different things. Iím going to call on that leadership and really look for others outside of those known leaders to provide quality leadership. At times such as this, everybodyís capable of being their best selves and positively affecting an environment or work situation.

Q: How is Mike Wallace progressing? And is he capable of taking on an expanded role if Hines canít go?

A: Mike is a reliable young guy. He doesnít blow a lot of assignments. Heís proven repeatedly that the situation isnít too big for him. I imagine that will continue and, I imagine that if Hines doesnít play, his role will be expanded in some form or fashion, but I also acknowledge that we may use Limas Sweed in some of the big-body things that Hines Ward does, because Hines Ward is a unique guy in terms of what he does for our football team in both the run and the passing game. It may require more than one person to fill that void.

Q: Why is the fourth quarter the problem after three good quarters? What changes?

A: I donít know if anything changes other than the fact weíre not making the necessary plays to close out games. I think that that is the story of the National Football League. I think most games are close or move in a certain fashion for three, three and a half quarters, and I think the cream rises at the end. Obviously weíre a very average football team as we sit here today, and our recent record might indicate thatís a kind assessment of it. Iím just being very realistic about where we are and I think we all need to do that because thatís going to give us the necessary clarity to change it.

Q: Will you go with three wide receivers or add a fourth?

A: Weíll possibly add a fourth depending on Hinesís availability.

Q: Do you get involved a lot schematically? And will you increase that?

A: I do and I will because itís appropriate at this time.

Q: What was the cause of the miscommunications in the secondary?

A: I think there were maybe one or two instances, which is probably normal for a 65, 70-play football game. Iím not going to let that be an excuse for our inability to close out or finish games. Weíve got to put guys in better position to make plays. Weíve got to do that.

Q: Will the lineup changes be finalized shortly?

A: Maybe Thursday 6:30. The hayís not going to be in the barn this week. Weíre going to keep baling it until the 11th hour and some change if possible.

Q: Will Troyís availability depend on playoff possibilities?

A: No, his availability is based on his health and weíre not going to let circumstance change that approach. Thatís not the right thing to do, so when he is ready to play weíll play him.

Q: Would you consider not playing him the rest of the year depending on how his health coincides with playoff chances?

A: (Shakes head sideways, chuckles) I play to win. I play to win. If that scoreboardís on, weíre playing to win. Last I heard theyíre going to have it on.

Q: As defending champs, have you seen more determination from opponents, particularly in the fourth quarter?

A: I think itís something that comes with being a Steeler, that people understand how we play the game. I donít know that itís necessarily championship-driven. Iíve always felt that way. I know when I worked with other teams, the week you played the Steelers you knew what kind of football game you were going to be in. Itís something that you canít put a price tag on. Itís legacy. So I donít know how much the championship itself weighs into that. We always prepare with the anticipation of people being at their very best and us getting their best shot. Ultimately we like to think that that doesnít determine the outcome of football games, that our plays does. Iím a believer in that.

Q: Did Limas have a chance at that last catch?

A: I thought he did. Of course, the play wasnít made. Given the circumstances, thatís about as reasonable an opportunity as youíre going to have to make that play. When you talk about Hail Marys, if you will, a bunch of bodies coming to a point in the end zone, we had a 6-4 guy at the point with a pretty clean look at it. You like your chances under the circumstances, but letís face it, those arenít very good circumstances when youíre doing that.

Q: Why havenít we seen Keenan Lewis earlier? Howís he progressing?

A: He played in our opener and sustained an injury, missed the next several games due to that injury, worked his way back into another opportunity to play, and really, in recent weeks, he hadnít dressed the last two games because we wanted big-bodied special teams guys available and suited Ė Carey Davis, for instance, who we thought was critical as a punt-protection guy to block Ed Reed and his up-and-under punt rush. Each week we evaluate the matchups in all three phases. Some of them are special teams. Sometimes the nature of the matchup dictates that we have a big-bodied special teams man suited as opposed to a little-bodied special teams man. We like some of the things Keenan has done. Heís been consistently on the rise since coming back from that injury, but due to matchups he hadnít been suited the last two weeks. Obviously, if William Gay doesnít play that wonít be a factor in determining whether or not he plays this week. Heíll have an opportunity to play.

Q: Even if Williamís healthy and plays, is that position open?

A: You know, I think at this point we need to see what those young guys are capable of doing and see if they can make a play for us. Of course, Joe had an opportunity to make a play that shouldíve finished that football game, and he didnít. But weíll give him some more opportunities.

Q: Were there missed assignments on the winning touchdown? If so, what happened?

A: Yeah, we did. We had a couple guys out of place in terms of applying pressure to the quarterback with a blitz package. We did have all the eligibles covered. It wasnít anything from that structural standpoint, but we didnít get what we want from blitz-entry standpoint, and it created an opportunity for the quarterback to step up in the pocket and find Louis Murphy in the left corner of the end zone.

Q: Should one of those corners have been back with Ryan Mundy?

A: Certainly. Yes.

Q: Ike Taylor also has had a chance to make some plays and has not. Will he also be part of this equation of possible changes as well?

A: Certainly. Certainly. I think thatís appropriate that we look at giving guys some opportunities to see if they can play. What that means or to what extent that means changes will be made I think is a little premature, but I acknowledge that thatís taken place.

Q: You used David Johnson more at fullback. How did he do?

A: Itís been good. I like how he finished the game. Iíd like him to start faster. Heís a young guy that I think early on in the game appears to be testing the waters, if you will, and he just needs to jump in. Thatís part of youth at times, but heís got to grow up. Heís got to come out of the tunnel with a higher tempo than maybe he did yesterday. It got better as the game wore on, and I think our results got better because of it, but early on not enough of what weíre looking for. The third-down play before the fourth-down quarterback sneak being an example of that. Heís got to punch holes in fronts, particularly in third-and-one situations to allow us to move the chains. We donít see any reason why we canít always move the chains on third down and one.

Q: Is it possible that Troyís presence is that important?

A: Iím not going to make excuses for my level of expectation. I think that weíre capable of playing winning football with or without Troy. Are we different? Yes, because Troyís a unique individual. He brings a unique skill set. Maybe the ceiling is different, but the floor, the standard of expectation, is the same, that weíre capable of playing winning football. Weíve played winning football without him. We went and played winning football in Denver without him [?] on the back end. So, I donít worry about that. I tend to focus my energies on the guys that do play and their level of preparation and their level of play, as opposed to the guys who are unavailable. You can waste a lot of time on guys who are unavailable. I donít want to waste that kind of time.

Q: How will this group respond if there are changes?

A: Theyíre pros. I think they understand it and I think to a degree theyíll agree with me. Thatís the nature of this thing. We canít stay status quo in terms of how weíre approaching this thing and expect the pattern of behavior or outcome to change. Thatís unrealistic. Thatís hoping. This is not a hope business. Iím not a hope mentality person. I think our guys are of the same mindset, so I donít expect any surprise or discontent in regards to this approach, to be quite honest with you

NW Steeler
12-07-2009, 08:04 PM
I think that for the most part Tomlin's responses had a lot more "meat" to them than usual. The fact that they are not going to let things remain status quo and expect it to get better is encouraging. Whether or not we have the young horses to step in remains to be seen, but I'm sticking with the optimists through this thing.