Fresh off the Steelers road victory on Sunday in Jacksonville, head coach Mike Tomlin took to the microphone on Tuesday to speak about the upcoming road matchup in Cleveland. Tomlin updated the injury statuses, reviewed the previous game, previewed the upcoming game, and answered questions.
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On the injury front, things are looking up. Ryan Shazier is progressing and is likely to join practice this week, although his status for Sunday is still undecided. Shamarko Thomas exited the Jaguars game on Sunday with a hamstring injury that is less severe than initially thought. Tomlin also explained that Ike Taylor is progressing nicely in his rehab from forearm surgery.
Tomlin reviewed the Jaguars game and commended the defense for putting together what he described as their first complete game of the season.
"“The defense put together two halves of football – the first time we did that. That’s encouraging. Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come. We did the things necessary to close the game out in the waning moments.” – Mike Tomlin"
Along with the praise of the defense, Tomlin specifically mentioned how Brad Wing was able to bounce back from his bad punt in the previous game to punt a 41-yarder in the fourth quarter. Tomlin commended the team for decreasing the amount of penalties called against them but added that he was disappointed in the special teams penalties. The Steelers special teams accounted for four of the seven Steelers penalties and 30 of the 50 yards.
In previewing the upcoming matchup against the Cleveland Browns Mike Tomlin explained that the Browns have been doing a good job protecting Brian Hoyer through their first four games citing how Hoyer has been sacked only five times. Also, the Browns have committed only one offensive turnover through their first four games, as well as their running backs are averaging over 4-yards-per-carry. These things will definitely present challenges to the Steelers in the series finale.
In answering questions Tomlin had to inevitably address the pass to Antonio Brown that’s being so heavily criticized as it was done when the Steelers could have just kneeled down for the win instead. Tomlin explained that not only was the play a low-risk option, but that Ben Roethlisberger was fully able to call out of it if the defense had presented something that would have made it more of a difficult play. He also explained that had the play not been a completed pass, they would not have attempted it again to help Brown extend his streak of 21 consecutive games with at least five receptions and 50 receiving yards.
"“He’s got a significant record that kind of exemplifies what he’s doing in his career. We want to support him in that. Obviously we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about that during the course of a work week or game. It came up during the discussion of the two-minute (drive). We had a low-risk play that had an opportunity to get the ball in his hands and we wanted to assist him in that. I think the guys were just as excited about doing that for him as he was.” – Mike Tomlin"
When asked what he thought of those who criticized the play Tomlin responded quite appropriately, in my opinions. He said he simply doesn’t care. I can’t, for the life of me, wrap my head around why there have been so many complaints about a completed pass. Seems to be a faction of the local media who find the need to whine and criticize just for the sake of criticizing about something.
Tomlin also addressed the red zone struggles in saying that the play selection will be looked at during this week of practice. The Steelers are scoring touchdowns on less than half of their trips to the red zone so far this season.
"“We have to execute better, we have to look at our play selection and we’ll do both.” – Mike Tomlin"
You can listen to Tomlin’s entire presser right here.
Obviously Count: 15
Here we go Steelers! Here we go!