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fordfixer
01-06-2010, 02:26 AM
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin's Take

By The Tribune-Review Wednesday, January 6, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 60843.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_660843.html)

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin weighs in on a number of different issues, as his team heads into the off-season:

What he told his players when he met with them as a group:

"The central point that I made to the football team in evaluation of this season and this thing's going to have so many layers first and foremost is we're a team that was 2-4 in our division. To me, to us, it starts there. That is the only guaranteed ticket to this dance that we're not participating in. If you want to be world championship caliber, it starts with division dominance and we weren't that by any stretch."

Whether effort was an issue during the Steelers' five-game losing streak:

"The only time that I was legitimately concerned about our level of fight or our level of energy was in Cleveland when it was below the line. We got out-hit and out-hustled, and that was a concern. In the other games, I thought we were out-executed, at times, and I didn't think we made timely plays in significant moments."

The significance of finishing the season with a three-game winning streak:

"I think there's value in that I learned a lot about the guys, their mental make-up, their willingness to fight, their willingness to stick together. I think that is useful. I think that is something to build upon in that the guys you continue to work with you've got an intimate knowledge of in the midst of adversity. But to assume that's going to carry over in any form or fashion to (2010) I think would be naive, and I don't want to be that."

Whether the Steelers didn't always play as a team this season:

"Any time you've got a collection of men and I'm talking about 53 players, practice-squad players and staff there's going to be issues and things of that nature. There's going to be personal agendas and so forth. We had similar issues when we won the Lombardi (Trophy). Any time you're working with a large number of people, it's going to be very tough to have a pure environment, a utopia if you will."

The give-and-take he has with players during their one-on-one interviews:

"Sometimes, I sit across from guys and they tell me what they think I want to hear. Some guys tell you the truth. I quickly try to decipher what I'm working with and try to make the meeting as productive as I possibly can. It's a natural process for me, and it's something that I enjoy and it's something that, more importantly, is very necessary."