Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Tomlin Tuesday


Who’s ready for some AFC North road action? The Steelers are coming off of a loss at home to the New Orleans Saints and preparing for the final quarter of the season to go up against the AFC North division leading Cincinnati Bengals. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media in his usual Tuesday spot to review the previous game, update injury statuses, preview the upcoming game and answer questions.

Tomlin got right into it when it came to reviewing what went wrong against the New Orleans Saints.

"“There weren’t enough positives to secure the victory in the game.” – Mike Tomlin"

As far as how the offense struggled in the first half of the game and then the defense struggled to stop Drew Brees and the Saints offense Tomlin described it as the team being unable to complement each other.

"“Once we got going offensively and moving the ball well so did New Orleans.” – Mike Tomlin"

On the injury front, naturally there had already been the announcement that Brett Keisel’s season is done and the team had signed Clifton Geathers to replace his spot on the roster. Tomlin explained that Geathers’ availability this Sunday in the game remains to be seen as they have to determine his readiness and ability to adapt to the Steelers defensive schemes.

Elsewhere on the defensive line Steve McLendon’s status remains questionable with his shoulder injury and he will be evaluated this week based on his ability to work through practices. Cornerback Brice McCain injured his hamstring in the game but the injury isn’t considered severe and he will be evaluated in practice this week. Ryan Shazier has a chance to return this week as will Marcus Gilbert. Ike Taylor had a minor shoulder “discomfort” in the game that shouldn’t limit him this week or this Sunday. And James Harrison will have his knee looked at and will potentially be limited in practice but is expected to be able to play on Sunday.

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There is promising news for the second-year linebacker Jarvis Jones to return from the injured-designated to return list.

"“We will continue to march Jarvis Jones back. I thought he had a very positive week last week. We have a window to identify when he’ll be able to participate, and we’re comfortably within that window. We’re comfortable with the things we’re seeing from him. We want to see him take another step when we go out on the practice field and we’ll see if we have a decision to make regarding him this week. He possibly could be an asset to us in this football game.” – Mike Tomlin"

On previewing the Bengals Tomlin described the Cincy defense as a “very good and stable defensive unit.” He said their secondary is very strong. You know, so the opposite of ours. And that they don’t give up big plays or make mistakes. So definitely the opposite of the Steelers’ secondary.

On the Bengals offense Tomlin was complimentary as he usually is when previewing an upcoming opponent.

"“They mix the run and play action pass. They’re capable of changing the pace on you. They have a balance rushing attack and it makes them difficult to defend because of that balance.” – Mike Tomlin"

Tomlin also addressed the special teams of the Bengals, particularly with Adam Jones returning punts as a unit that has the ability to create “splash” plays.

When Tomlin was questioned about Ben Roethlisberger’s performance in Sunday’s loss he explained that the quarterback had issues with his accuracy.

"“He hasn’t been as accurate as he has been. Some of it is due to some pressure created in the pocket. Some of it is due to game circumstance. Some we lacked cohesion in some stances. None of those things happen in a vacuum when you’re talking about quarterback play. It’s usually unit-play oriented. He can play better, we all can play better, and we’re looking forward to doing it this week.” – Mike Tomlin"

Tomlin was also asked about if there are worries about the workload for Le’Veon Bell considering the lack of depth behind him at the running back position and how quickly running backs in the NFL can “burn out” after seasons with a ton of carries.

"“I’m not overly concerned about that. He has the pedigree for it. That is one of the things that attracted us to him in the draft. He played on a talented offense up there at Michigan State his sophomore year, but then his junior year a number of those guys were in the NFL. A lot of the football went through him his last year at Michigan State. All you had to do was watch him over the course of that season and gain a level of comfort with his ability to tote the load.” – Mike Tomlin"

Mike Tomlin also addressed the play of players like Ike Taylor and Cam Thomas, who were exposed in the loss to New Orleans and made costly errors as players of whom much improvement is expected. He didn’t think it was a mistake to bring Taylor back after his two-month injury rehab and when it comes down to it in the game, after Brice McCain went down, the team was really out of options but to keep Taylor on the field in the secondary.

Tomlin explained that there has been a combination of breakdowns in coverage and guys just plain getting beat to account for the giving up long touchdowns over the course of the last three games. He also explained that the multiple 80+yard touchdown drives the Steelers defense has also given up this year is due to giving up those “splash” plays and getting penalized, pointing to the second sack Jason Worilds had late in the game that could have gotten the defense off of the field on third down but was called back due to a penalty in the secondary.

It was a long pressure this week as Tomlin spent the majority of the time answering questions.

Obviously Count = 26

You can listen to Tomlin’s entire presser right here.

Here we go Steelers! Here we go!