The Pittsburgh Steelers will make their 2015 season debut at Heinz Field on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. Coach Tomlin addressed the media in his usual Tuesday spot to recap the previous game, update injury statuses, preview the upcoming game and answer questions.
In review of the opening night loss to the Patriots, a game where the Steelers offense left a lot of points on the field and the defense missed some key opportunities to make stops Tomlin explained that how the team finished, or didn’t finish rather, their opportunities defined them in the game.
"“How we finished was going to define us, really, in all three phases. They finished better than we did. They were a little bit better than we were on third-down. They were a little bit better in the red zone. Consequently they were able to finish some drives with touchdowns. We finished too many drives with field goals or field goal attempts. You just can’t do that when you are playing good people, particularly the type of people they are in terms of what they can do on offense.” – Mike Tomlin"
We knew the Steelers defense was going to be the big question mark going into this season. Unfortunately, the Steelers offense went up against an equally questionable New England defense and failed to capitalize.
Tomlin noted that the red-zone unsuccessfulness is still an issue, and unfortunately, so is the kicking game.
"“When we put drives together in the manner in which we did, with field goals or field goal attempts, obviously we missed a couple field goals on special teams. That’s not good. But obviously we are looking for touchdowns. When we can’t get touchdowns we need field goals. We didn’t get two of those, and really it kind of changed the complexion and the way the first half of the game unfolded.” – Mike Tomlin"
Tomlin was asked later on in the presser to assess the red-zone offense and he described the frustrations.
"“Not what we would have liked, particularly when you’re playing a team like New England. If you’re settling for field goals, it’s tough to win the game. We have to be better for obvious reasons. When we put together drives we need to finish with seven.” – Mike Tomlin"
The Steelers were fortunate to come away from the first game without any significant injuries, so far.
September 14, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) passes the football against the Minnesota Vikings during the third quarter at Levi
"“From a health standpoint, really it’s just some bumps and bruises associated with playing. I don’t anticipate any of that being a real issue at this point. But obviously we will have a practice opportunity tomorrow that will provide more clarity in that area.” – Mike Tomlin"
As far as the San Francisco 49ers, who are coming off of a 20-3 Monday Night Football victory over the Minnesota Vikings, Tomlin realizes that the mobility of Colin Kaepernick is something the Steelers are going to have to prepare for.
"“They have a nice personality to complement their run game, with the corresponding misdirection or play-action passing game. Colin Kaepernick’s mobility is obviously something that is going to be an issue for us. It’s something that we have to work to minimize. This guy can create issues for you from a design run standpoint but also his ability to improvise as plays break down and he finds escape lanes, that’s a critical element of the game.” – Mike Tomlin"
Good thing for the Steelers defense is that they signed Michael Vick in the offseason. Tomlin explained that Vick, who is the OG improvisational and mobile quarterback, will be mimicking Kaepernick against the defense in practice this week.
"“It’s our job to provide quality looks throughout the week, regardless of who we play. Sometimes you play unique people. I imagine it’s going to be difficult to reflect Vernon Davis’ speed and Colin Kaepernick’s speed, rather than Tom Brady’s speed. Those are normal things you go through. It’s everybody’s job to provide the best look they can provide. Largely, I’ve been pleased with the looks our scout teams have provided.” – Mike Tomlin"
Tomlin was asked and addressed the timing and decision behind the trick play involving Antonio Brown during the Steelers’ first offensive possession in the Patriots game.
"“We like putting the ball into Antonio Brown’s hands for obvious reasons. He is a dynamic playmaker and in general a good decision maker. Obviously he didn’t make a good decision in that circumstance. They had the play covered. He had an opportunity to throw the ball away and he didn’t. We lost eight yards on the play. But it won’t stop me from having a desire to put the ball in Antonio Brown’s hands in unique ways moving forward, because he is that type of dynamic playmaker.” – Mike Tomlin"
Tomlin was also asked about cornerback Brandon Boykin and his comments about being confused on why he didn’t play more for the first game and if Tomlin expects to give Boykin more snaps going forward.
"“We’ll see. We’re putting together a plan that will allow us to play the type of ball we want to play. He’s a guy who is under strong consideration.” – Mike Tomlin"
Tomlin explained that he didn’t see any issues with the clock management at the each of each half for the first game.
"“I didn’t see any real issues there. I know there was a quick discussion about potentially using a timeout as we drove late in the second quarter. I thought a running clock and allowing Ben Roethlisberger to stay at the line of scrimmage would minimize what they would give us and would get us an opportunity to get a touchdown. Obviously, it didn’t work out. You move on from those things. But no real issues from our perspective.” – Mike Tomlin"
Tomlin explained that he wasn’t a part of the decision-making process by the organization to not file an official complaint with the league when it came to the issue with the headsets in New England during the first half of the Thursday game.
"“I wasn’t part of any discussion. I made the comments that I made after the game and we cooperated with the league, in terms of them looking into the incident. That’s really it for us.” – Mike Tomlin"
To round out the day Tomlin was asked if he had learned anything about his team after the first game of the season.
"“I think that’s going to be evident. I think you learn a lot about yourself after having fielded a team inside a stadium. We will get an opportunity to see our responses to the things that transpired Thursday night as we step into this one. We are going to know a lot more in that regard as we make the necessary adjustments after having played 60 minutes of football.” – Mike Tomlin"
On to the 49ers! Here we go Steelers! Here we go!
Obviously count = 15
You can listen to Tomlin’s entire presser right here.
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