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hawaiiansteel
02-21-2011, 07:59 PM
Ed: Q & A with Mike Tomlin

MONDAY, 21 FEBRUARY 2011 15:29 WRITTEN BY ED BOUCHETTE


Three of us had a sit-down interview with Mike Tomlin this afternoon. Here is the Q & A from that.


Q: What have you been doing since season ended?

A: ďMore than anything weíve been wrapping a bow around the season, reviewing our playersí performances and having exit interviews with those guys, specifically rookies and guys whose contracts are up. I visited with all of those guys and really just starting the preparation for the Combine, starting to get a snap shot of what this class is about, starting first and foremost with the 60 guys Iím scheduled to interview in Indy.Ē

Q: Have you hired a secondary coach?

A: ďNo, really Iím just still in the information gathering process. Iím in no hurry to be honest with you. I want to make sure that we hire the right man and that has no timetable.Ē

Q: Have you interviewed anyone and is Chuck Cecil one of them?

A: ďI know that that was reported but I have not interviewed Chuck.Ē

Q. Do you expect all of your coaches [except Ray Horton] back?

A. I do.

Q: Any veterans that youíve talked to that have let you know theyíre not coming back? Flozell Adams specifically

A: ďNo, and not that Iíve even asked those questions at this point. Itís probably too early in the process to have those discussion. I know veteran players go through the decision making process every year, and a lot of it has to do with health and just time away. Iím sure there will be an appropriate time for those discussions but at this time Iím going to assume that theyíre all in.Ē

Q: Do you want Flozell back?

A: ďYeah, I think he did a nice job for us. Heís a good teammate, we had a very productive year.Ē

Q: Did he get better as the year went on?

A: He did but he was a pretty quick study. He was a quicker study than one would anticipate but thereís no question you saw that he got comfortable as the season went on and I imagine that there is a learning curve as far as swapping sides.

Q: What do you want to get accomplished in Indy?

A: ďFor me, Iím looking at pedigree that jumps out at me, things you canít coach. And just start the process of getting to know the draft class personally, what makes them tick, their issues and things of that nature. Just start the information-gathering process in terms of putting together a profile on these guys. But in terms of the physical activity Iím just simply looking at pedigree.Ē

Q: What does that mean?

A: It means their God-given athletic ability. Their ability to control their body, their ability to move through awkward movements, the things that arenít necessarily football related but are athlete or pedigree related.

Q: What are you looking for in the meetings?

A: Most of the time itís just information gathering and itís just the beginning process of building a profile on each individual player and thatís about all that you can get accomplished in 15 minutes. Sometimes they go in other directions based on information that you have about them going into it, if somebodyís had an off the field incident or if somebodyís had an highly publicized on the field incident or academic issues or what have you. If thereís some background that needs to be discussed up front, sometimes thatís capable of taking over the meeting.

Q: Do you look at cornerback as a position of need?

A: At this point in the process Iím trying to, more than anything, get a sense of what the class is about, the strengths of the class. No question weíre going to have an interest in corner but I donít know that thereís been a year that Iíve been here that I canít say that.

Q: Is it strong for corners?

A: I donít go on what I hear, I go on what I see and I havenít gotten to corners yet.

Q: What are you looking for when looking at cornerback prospects?

A: Pedigree, it starts there. It is a physically taxing position. You have to have a great deal of God-given ability and belief in that. Now how do you measure their belief in their ability? Not by what they say but by what you see on tape: how they play, how they respond to positive things, how they respond to negative things. All of that helps you build a profile if you will.

Q: Are there young cornerbacks on the roster that can help you, specifically Keenan Lewis and Crezdon Butler?

A: Absolutely. I donít view those guys any differently than I view any of the young guys that we have in other positions. We expect those guys to improve, to be better players in 2011 and take the necessary steps to do so. That doesnít mean that we might not present them with some competition. Thatís part of it. Same things can be said for Jason Worilds and Stevenson Sylvester.

Q: Keenan seemed to have a good camp and then fell off. Have you put a finger on what happened to him?

A: Probably more than anything else itís opportunity-oriented. He didnít get a bunch of opportunities. He did some down the stretch and the playoffs and did OK with it. By contrast a guy like Ziggy Hood had a good opportunity and got better with snaps. I expect all of these guys to improve when given an opportunity. When and how they get that opportunity is sometimes out of their control. I have no issues with how those two young men work and how they prepare themselves.

Q: Does uncertain labor situation change any of your plans?

A:Iím hanging loose like everybody else in football.

Q: If everything is normal when will offseason workouts start?

A: I havenít even begun to discuss the potential possibilities. I have a skeleton of a calendar and Iím in wait-and-see mode like everyone else.

Q: Will you treat it like the last time you had a Super Bowl, where you bring in the veterans later?

A. It just depends on when we start.

Q: How long did it take you to get over the Super Bowl loss to starting work on 2011 season?

A: When youíre in my position, thereís not a lot of time to lick your wounds. It just isnít. I made sure the staff is getting ample time to refresh but Iíve got to turn the page and catch up to what Kevin (Colbert) and his group has done. The information theyíve given me has helped and been good but I enjoy it. Itís new and different for me. Itís a new challenge and this process kind of helps me turn the page.

Q. On poor record of SB losers the following season. Do you believe in that?

A. You know I donít. Weíll be there. Weíll be there.

Q. If Flozell comes back, is Willie Colon a candidate to play guard?

A. You know, I thnk thereís a lot of questions, a lot of unanswered questions involving that. First and foremost, of course, is Willie Colonís presence. Heís scheduled to be a free agent and we have labor agreement issues and things of that nature. Those are problems Iíd like to consider at some point.

Q. Will he be healthy and can you update us on the health of your team?

A. Health is not going to be an injury with Willie Colon, it really isnít. He sustained that injury last summer. So when you talk about is it a concern or is it going to be an issue, you put your eye toward training camp and the regular season and itís going to be a non-factor.

All of those guys who sustained injuries, thereís nothing that gives us an indication that theyíre going to be an ongoing issue or problem moving forward in terms of getting in the way of football. and those are all of those guys who got injured, dating back to last summer and through the season.

Q. Can Limas Sweed still compete?

A. Ė Certainly, certainly. His competition is getting stiff. I think weíve acquired some guys since weíve acquired him that have proven that theyíre capable of playing NFL football. So from that standpoint, Iím sure itís not a comfortable situation but it is a competition.

Q. Is it now or never for him?

A. Ė I donít live in that world, man. Iím interested in the guys who are capable of helping us win.

Q. Other sugeries?

A. Ė I havenít seen a surgery that hasnít been a success, you know what I mean? [James Harrison had surgery] this morning. Again, it was a success. James got done. Hines got cleaned up. We had some minor stuff Ė bone spurs and things of that nature. Nick Eason, bone spurs on his foot.

Q. Is Aaron Smith good?

a. Yes.

Q. Was that worth the gamble, even though he did not play?

A. Absolutely. Thatís just a level of respect that we have for what heís capable of as a player, and probably equally as important what he is as a man or member of this team. I think there is intrinsic value in that, thereís an element of it you canít measure. If I had to do it over I would do it again. What am I going to do replace him with a guy that Iím going to have inactive? No, Iím not doing that. If ever there ever were a situation where I thought someone that we acquired had an opportunity to help us and be put in a uniform then I would have considered it. But I wasnít going to put himdown for an inactive type.

Q. Aaron tell you he wants to come back?

A. Yes.

Q. You want all 4 QBs back?

A. Yes. Why not? Thatís a good problem to have, isnít it? We needed all 4 of them. We did, unfortunately. I donít fear competition and I donít think any of those men do either. It was a really good experience. Of course, itís not a slam-dunk that thatís a good experience when youíre in those situations, but I think that group and who they are as people and how they interact and realte I think makes it fun and special. All of those guys have been awesome.

Q. did losing Ben those first 4 weeks have positive effect on team?

A. You know anything that doesnít kill you makes you stronger. So in hindsight, you can say a lot of things in hindsight. To me thatís one of those hindsight examples of things you can point to and take it in whatever direction you want to take it. It was an obstacle. And something we had to deal with if we wanted tob e successful. We found a way to navigate the waters and it was one of the many reasons, in my opinion, why we were successful.

Q. Can you keep Harrison and Woodley long term?

A. I donít want to get into speculating with free agency and so forth. Obviously we have a franchise tag on LaMarr, so weíre going to have both of those guys for 2011. But to say anything other than that would be a stretch.

Q. No. 3 favorite to win Super bowl, will you be back in it?

A. Our intentions have not and will not change. We have a desire to compete for a world championship each and every year. Weíre going to be unwavering in that pursuit.

Q. Anticipate much in free agency?

A. It could be interesting, and the only reason I say that is because it always is. Itís just too early in the process of our team building as we sit here today for me to kind of forecast or speculate on the necessary moves that are going to have to happen. Those things are going to occur over the course of many meetings over the next several weeks, two months, particularly with the questions of when that process is going to happen. Weíll see.

Q. Are you optimistic you will have Ike Taylor next season?

A. Iím optimistic about a lot of things. Iím just an optimistic guy.

Q. What about your offensive line regarding the draft?

A. Any position you name Iím going to look at really hard.

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Djfan
02-21-2011, 08:38 PM
One of the great leadership skills he has that I admire is his ability to give a pointed non-answer.

feltdizz
02-21-2011, 08:53 PM
Pedigree

StarSpangledSteeler
02-21-2011, 09:15 PM
It's very hard to trap Tomlin into saying something stupid. Actually i take that back. It's very hard to trap him into saying something that offends another person directly (either his own players or another teams). He has been known to let an "unleash hell" comment slip out on occasion when he's feeling emotional, but even then, he's still pretty good.

eniparadoxgma
02-21-2011, 09:23 PM
Weíll be there.

:Beer :Beer :Beer

jj28west
02-21-2011, 09:37 PM
I know I have said this before but he really does not give up much of anything. Its like his press conferences. The few times he chooses to make a point or statement it could really hurt like the comment he made to the reporter trying to make a name for himself.
I swear Bellicheck and Tomlin could talk a lot but never reveal any insight whatsoever.
Cowher sometime had his emotions and you could sense his opinion on things, decisions, etc.

Chadman
02-21-2011, 10:09 PM
When he's finished coaching, he should take up politics.

Ask yourself this- from that interview, what did we learn?

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
02-21-2011, 10:56 PM
When he's finished coaching, he should take up politics.

Ask yourself this- from that interview, what did we learn?

Exactly what we should learn from an interview with the head coach......nothing about his thought process.

It is great to learn about the inner workings of a team, but it is not in the best interest of the team.

feltdizz
02-22-2011, 10:31 AM
When he's finished coaching, he should take up politics.

Ask yourself this- from that interview, what did we learn?

I learned that he isn't going to point out the Revis in this draft :wink:

Lebeau and BA will return. That sucks :roll:

We haven't picked a DB coach, Flozell is returning, Aaron Smith is our Duce Staley and Sweed has a slim chance of making the team.

hawaiiansteel
02-22-2011, 03:45 PM
Tomlin expects another run at Super Bowl

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Mike Tomlin expects the rest of his coaches to return, he expects all his injured players to return to health, and he expects his team to compete for another Super Bowl berth.

"We'll be there," Tomlin said in an interview Monday afternoon. "We'll be there. ... Our intentions have not and will not change. We have a desire to compete for a world championship each and every year. We're going to be unwavering in that pursuit."

Two weeks after the Steelers lost to Green Bay, 31-25, in the Super Bowl, Tomlin said he has "been wrapping a bow around the season" and will now concentrate on the NFL Scouting Combine that starts in Indianapolis this week and the draft April 28-30.

He has one opening on his staff after secondary coach Ray Horton accepted a job as defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals. He has been in no hurry to fill it.

"I'm just still in the information gathering process."

He expects the rest of his coaches to return for 2011, which would include coordinators Bruce Arians and D!ck LeBeau.

Tomlin said five players who have had more serious surgeries over the past year should have no residual problems come training camp, including linebacker James Harrison, who had surgery on his lower back Monday morning.

Harrison was scheduled to have the surgery a week earlier but it was delayed when he came down with a fever.

Dr. Joseph Maroon performed what's known as a discectomy to remove a piece of herniated disc off a nerve that had been bothering Harrison all season.

"Everything went great," said Bill Parise, his agent. "The consensus was no one could figure out how he could play through the season. It was significant but textbook. The surgery went exactly as they wanted it to. James' recovery should be complete."

Other players the coach expects to be back at full health are offensive tackle Willie Colon and wide receiver Limas Sweed, both of whom had ruptured Achilles tendons in June, and offensive tackle Max Starks (neck surgery) and defensive end Aaron Smith (triceps surgery).

"All of those guys who sustained injuries, there's nothing that gives us an indication that they're going to be an ongoing issue or problem moving forward in terms of getting in the way of football."

Among other topics Tomlin touched on Monday:

ē He wants tackle Flozell Adams to return for a second season at age 36, and he's not sure where Colon, a potential free agent, will play if he returns to the Steelers.

"I think [Adams] did a nice job for us. He's a good teammate, we had a very productive year."

As for Colon: "There's a lot of questions, a lot of unanswered questions involving that. First and foremost, of course, is Willie Colon's presence. He's scheduled to be a free agent."

ē Sweed, drafted in the second round in 2008, will get a chance to compete for a job after spending part of '09 on injured reserve with depression and all of last season with his Achilles injury.

"His competition is getting stiff," Tomlin noted. "I think we've acquired some guys since we've acquired him that have proven that they're capable of playing NFL football. So from that standpoint, I'm sure it's not a comfortable situation but it is a competition."

ē He will welcome all three veteran quarterbacks behind Ben Roethlisberger to training camp to compete: Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon, who spent the rest of the season on injured reserve after a knee ligament was sprained in the second game.

"Why not? That's a good problem to have, isn't it? We needed all four of them. We did, unfortunately. I don't fear competition and I don't think any of those men do either. It was a really good experience. Of course, it's not a slam-dunk that that's a good experience when you're in those situations, but I think that group and who they are as people and how they interact and related, I think makes it fun and special. All of those guys have been awesome."

ē Keeping Smith on the roster the rest of the season after his Oct. 24 surgery was worth it, even though he never played again and they lost rookie linebacker Thaddeus Gibson, their fourth-round pick, because of it.

"Absolutely. That's just a level of respect that we have for what he's capable of as a player, and probably equally as important what he is as a man or member of this team. I think there is intrinsic value in that, there's an element of it you can't measure. If I had to do it over I would do it again."

Smith has told Tomlin he plans to return next season.

UP NEXT

Wednesday: Scouting combine begins in Indianapolis.

April 28: NFL draft weekend starts in New York. The Steelers pick 31st.

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