Steelers vs. Ravens: Tomlin Monday


It’s Ravens Week! Well, it’s a short week but it’s Ravens Week nonetheless. The Steelers are coming off of their road win over the Rams and Mike Tomlin took to the podium on Monday afternoon to review the previous game, update injury statuses, preview the upcoming matchup and answer questions.

The day started with a statement released by Tomlin prior to his press conference regarding the status of Ben Roethlisberger, who sustained a knee injury that took him out of the Rams game in the third quarter.

"“The MRI on Sunday night revealed Ben Roethlisberger had an MCL injury to his left knee. There is no timetable for his return, but Ben is a competitor and we are confident he will do everything in his power to return at the appropriate time.” – Mike Tomlin"

At the beginning of the presser Tomlin made it known that he would not be addressing timetable questions and what-if scenarios when it comes to Ben’s injury and potential return.

"“We released a statement regarding Ben’s health. He had an MIR and he has an MCL sprain. He’s going to be out for a number of weeks. I don’t have great detail about what that length of time might look like or might be, to be honest with you. I know he’s out this week, and under the circumstances of us having to deal with a short week and get this group ready to play, that’s all the information I need. I’ll fall back and get more details regarding him and what the rehab is going to look like and what the process is going to look like and when we can start anticipating his return. I’ll address that when we come out of this game.” – Mike Tomlin"

Tomlin acknowledged the importance of the team being able to top their last winning performance with another winning performance. If you’ll remember, the Steelers didn’t win consecutive games for the first time till Week 8 last season.

He remarked that the team was able to win the game in a multitude of ways, getting contributions from players on all three phases, something that the team will definitely need to build upon going forward without Ben Roethlisberger.

Tomlin noted how penalties were a problem, stopping and hindering drives. Penalties overall are up by a large margin, something that was noted by the announcers during the game, across the league, but something a team can still work on preventing, especially the pre-snap penalties.

Elsewhere on the injury front the team is still awaiting the return of linebacker Ryan Shazier, who was seen wearing an arm sling on the sidelines against the Rams for his injured shoulder.

"“Ryan Shazier is still nursing his shoulder. I don’t know what his availability is going to be. As soon as he gets above the line from a strength standpoint, he’ll be allowed to return to participation. He’s experiencing some weakness in his shoulder, and until he gets that weakness above the line, we’re going to hold him out. He’s been working hard with our medical staff to regain that, and we’re going to hold him out until he does.” – Mike Tomlin"

Daniel McCullers is still working on a knee injury and his participation this week might be limited, the same goes for Cortez Allen, who hasn’t practiced for the past few weeks with his knee inflammation. James Harrison has a thumb injury that is being evaluated, according to Tomlin, but shouldn’t keep him out of action.

"“Matt Spaeth has a hand fracture that’s being casted. We’ll look at his ability to function with that cast and let that be our guide for the football game.” – Mike Tomlin"

Tomlin then went on to preview the Ravens and he did his usual talking up the opponents but the reality is that the Steelers can’t look at the 0-3 Ravens and think they’re going to be a pushover because they’re playing crappy and lost to bad teams like the Oakland Raiders.

"“These guys are 0-3, but 0-3 doesn’t define them. I would imagine they are not demoralized; I would imagine they are angry. Having been in that circumstance in the past I can honestly say that is probably more the reaction when you have the type of them they have than to be demoralized. They have been in some tough football games. They are 0-3. That is what their record says, but we all acknowledge that they are a dangerous group, a talented group, one we have to get ready to do battle with on Thursday night.” – Mike Tomlin"

Did he mention the Ravens are 0-3? I think it’s important to emphasize that.

The team moves forward this week working with Michael Vick under center and Tomlin seems to have a lot of confidence in the 15-year veteran.

"“We have an adjustment in terms of starting Mike Vick and bringing the game to him and allowing him to play and finding what his personality is and what our personality with him is.” – Mike Tomlin"

Tomlin was asked if Vick was up to speed with Todd Haley’s offense and how quickly can he transition into it.

"“He is (up to date with the offense), but that doesn’t mean we’re going to ask him to execute our offense in a manner in which we would ask Ben to. Ben and Todd Haley have been together for three years now, and Ben has been in Pittsburgh for over 10 years, and so there is a certain comfort with that continuity. We’re not going to assume certain things because Mike is a veteran player and is up to speed on our large body of work. We’re going to work in his comfort zone and bring the game to him to allow him to put us in the best position to win a football game.” – Mike Tomlin"

Tomlin was asked his opinion on whether or not he thought the hit that injured Ben Roethlisberger was a legal hit and he cited a letter from the league urging coaches to not be critical of officiating.

But the hit was totally illegal and should have been flagged, by the way.

So ready or not, Ben Roethlisberger or not, here come the Ravens. If they haven’t been demoralized by their 0-3 record I’d say it’s the Steelers job to make sure they leave Pittsburgh good and demoralized.

Obviously Count = 9

You can listen to Tomlin’s entire press conference right here.

Here we go Steelers! Here we go!

Next: Steelers: Can Moats top his 2014?

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