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fordfixer
11-23-2011, 02:03 AM
Mike Tomlin press conference
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/local ... 0f31a.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/local_sports/mike-tomlin-press-conference/article_4db4f59a-1543-11e1-983e-0019bb30f31a.html)

Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Excerpts of today's Mike Tomlin press conference:

OPENING STATEMENT FROM THE STEELERS' COACH

"It's been a restful bye week for us. Now it's time for us to get back into the world of competition. We are excited about doing that. It's been a productive bye week for us. We take a simple approach to that. We wanted to provide all the men with what they need to move forward. In some instances, it's simply rest. In other instances, it's recuperation. In some instances, it's snaps. We had an opportunity to get some work in, particularly in situational football areas, red zone, third downs and so forth last week, particularly with some of our younger, less experienced players. I think it was a very productive week from that standpoint. You know how we measure production though. It's how we move forward with it. We are excited about doing that this week as we prepare for this week's challenge in the Kansas City Chiefs.

"From an injury standpoint, we are moving closer to health, not that we are looking for perfection in that area. We understand what this journey is about. We are simply going to assess the health of the men from week-to-week, and formulate a plan accordingly. Troy Polamalu was slowed, somewhat, during the bye week with some rib discomfort. We will see where the week takes us in terms of him. But we fully expect him to participate in the game. Ben Roethlisberger has a right thumb fracture. It's not the extent of say, Jay Cutler's. He's going to be able to play. Right now, it's unknown of how it's going to affect him and his play. We are going to sort through those things as we practice. He practiced in a limited capacity yesterday but those of us who know Ben, we know he is going to show and show for his teammates. The standard will be the standard in terms of his performance. LaMarr Woodley has worked in a limited capacity this week thus far, coming off his hamstring injury. We will continue to take his participation day-to-day. You can say the same thing about Arnaz Battle and his right hamstring injury. Emmanuel Sanders appears to be working his way back to us. I thought he had a productive day yesterday, but again, we will see how he responds to the work moving forward. We will make him available accordingly. We will continue to watch all these guys throughout the week. We are not ready to characterize any of these guys as out at this juncture."

When you look at what is happening with quarterbacks around the league, how important is it to have solid depth at that position?

"I can't speak to everyone else's intentions. But it is an important component of team building for us. We acknowledge of course that injury is a part of the game, and unfortunately it occurs quite a bit at the position. We are comfortable with the men that we have at that position, that we are capable of playing winning football regardless of who is under center, and we consider ourselves fortunate in that area."

In practice Monday, did Ben let it go or was he just tossing? How did he throw?

"I thought he threw it pretty well. There is a pain tolerance issue. A comfortability issue. All of those things I think will be sorted out over the course of the week. To be honest with you, I am not overly concerned about his ability to be affective in the midst of this."

Is there a concern with him taking snaps under center?

"Not at this juncture. No."

How has Antonio Brown come along in your view?

"I think, like I expect of all second-year men, he is improving in all areas. In route-running, coverage recognition, being quarterback friendly and just an overall understanding of the game and how he fits in the big picture. That's what we expect of all second-year men, to grow by leaps and bounds in all areas and he has done that to this point."

Re: Hines Ward and his playing time in this game:

"That is to be determined. Of course that is what we are doing on days like today, as we formulate our game plan and try to play to our strengths and minimize our weakness. I am not in a position to answer that at this time. Obviously, Hines is a very capable man, as are some others. We will do what is best in terms of giving us an opportunity to win this game."

How did the meeting go las week with the NFL commissioner?

"I thought it was very productive. We exchanged some ideas. I think the meeting was born out of a conversation between Art and the commissioner. They thought it would be productive for all of us to sit down and talk. I thought it was very productive. It was my first opportunity to see the new offices. They were impressive. It is good bye week stuff. That is in my rear view as I sit here today, and I am solely focused on the preparation and our challenge that awaits us this week in the Kansas City Chiefs."

Is there a problem that you think there are certain hits you think are clean and then they get fined, like Ryan Clark? How do you get on the same page?

"It's not a problem. It really isn't. There are frustrations that present themselves in every season, at least in every season that I have been a part of in this league. That's what comes with competing. You communicate, you learn from it, you move forward. That is what we have done and that is what we continue to do."

After that conversation do you look and think that maybe that hit was illegal?

I'll leave the conversation I had with those guys between them and myself. I think that's appropriate. I'll say this: I appreciated having an opportunity to visit with those men and get their perspective on some things and be able to give mine."

With the bye week being so late, do you have a greater body of work for self-analysis? Are there any areas of concern?

"There are a lot of areas that are on my radar. I think the most obvious thing is that we are probably fortunate to be a 7-3 football team being minus 10 in the turnover ratio. That is what jumps out at me. We have to continue to do a better job of getting the football, particularly in significant moments defensively. We also have to do a better job at protecting the football offensively. What is in our rear view is in our rear view. We are not going to tote the minus 10 like luggage, don't get me wrong there. But when you look at it, it is pretty amazing that we are 7-3 with that little bit of information. We understand how significant turnovers are for winning football games."

How do you crank up turnovers on defense and do you do anything in practice?

"Certainly you do. I think it's about continuing to grow, continuing to be on the details. It's part of being opportunistic or productive. Being where you are supposed be, seeing what it is you are supposed to see and doing what it is you are supposed to do, individually and collectively. Also doing it with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm. We are still a team in development in some of those areas. Hopefully we will continue to grow in those areas. We have had some production in regards to turnovers as of late, but it needs to continue."

Re: Jason Worilds' play in place of LaMarr Woodley:

"He has been above the line."

Re: Cameron Heyward seems to be getting fewer snaps:

"I think more than anything it is that Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood are highly conditioned and playing well. I have no reservations about playing Cam. He is a positive young-man. He is working extremely hard. He has a bright future. But in regards to snap count and so forth, we have been playing a lot of sub-package football, of course, and that includes two defensive linemen as opposed to three. We are not worried about where he is from a snap-count standpoint or development standpoint I think all of those things are positive. I think if there are only negatives in regards to it in recent weeks it is because of those facts."

Re: Steve McClendon's play at nose tackle:

"Solid."

Is McClendon the top backup for Casey Hampton?

"He is at this juncture. Yes."