The Steelers have a little extra practice time to recharge from the Thursday night overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens before they have to head out to the west coast to take on the San Diego Chargers for Monday Night Football.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin took to the podium on Tuesday afternoon to review the previous game, update injury statuses, preview the upcoming game and answer questions.
Tomlin acknowledged the elephant in the room quickly with regards to the Steelers’ overtime loss to the Ravens by saying that it’s important not to weigh too heavily on the special teams’ aspect of the loss because the team could have won the game outright in the other phases.
One of the phases where the team failed against the Ravens was in the run defense. They gave up 191 rushing yards to the Ravens, with Baltimore’s Justin Forsett finishing with 150 on the ground. The Steelers were blitz-heavy in the game, resulting in five sacks of Joe Flacco but also costing them yards on the ground.
"“They did a nice job in the game, and I don’t want to take anything away from them, but we wanted to minimize their play-action pass. So we went into the game knowing we might give up a little bit in the run game in an effort to not get bogged down in the run and miss an opportunity to rush their play-pass. They got significant chunks (of yardage) via the play-pass going into our game, so we wanted to attack that. We realized that in doing so we might expose yourself to some run. We probably exposed ourselves to a little more run that we anticipated, but you give them credit for executing from that standpoint.” – Mike Tomlin"
With that being said Tomlin explained he is excited to get back to the work of getting ready for the San Diego Chargers. He expects to see a lot of improvement from Michael Vick with having a full week of practice prior to this game as opposed to the limited week he had to prepare for the Ravens.
"“Ryan Shazier appears to be dramatically improving, but I’ll list him as questionable. We’ll monitor his progress throughout the week. Matt Spaeth has a broken hand and has a cast on that. We’ll watch him operate and evaluate his level of effectiveness in terms of his participation with that injury. Markus Wheaton looks dramatically improved from the ankle injury he sustained in game, and he has a real chance to participate. Cortez Allen looks better with the swelling in his knee, and we’ll watch him throughout the week and evaluate his preparation and see the effect it may have on his knee and make the determination there. Dan McCullers appears to be improved with his MCL sprain. He’s got a chance to play. There’s no real update on Ben Roethlisberger although he is progressing well and everyone is pleased with what they see from him.” – Mike Tomlin"
On facing the San Diego Chargers Tomlin did his usual talking up the opponent. In all honestly I don’t make it a point to listen to any other head coaches’ press conferences but I can’t imagine anyone else talks up an opponent quite like Mike Tomlin does.
Granted, Phillip Rivers is a veteran quarterback with an impressive stats history and they’ll have to prepare for his ability to read defenses and make plays but he’s not exactly leading the NFL’s greatest offense as Tomlin’s comments might lead you to believe.
Anyhow, Tomlin was eventually asked about the kicking competition that led the team to bring in Chris Boswell and release Josh Scobee. He explained that although there are reports now that Josh Scobee has a quad strain, Tomlin denied that Scobee was suffering any such injury prior to the Ravens game.
Tomlin also explained that he didn’t feel the need to include Scobee in the competition of the kickers he brought in last Saturday.
About that competition, Tomlin explained the conditions at Heinz Field on Saturday were very favorable for determining who their next kicker could be because the weather wasn’t that great. The conditions obviously favored Chris Boswell.
"“He did a nice job in the workout. It was a very good environment for a workout because the weather wasn’t great. We had an opportunity to evaluate him not only in that environment, but under less than ideal conditions. Besides that we have done our research on him and not only followed him since he has been in the league with several teams, but also when he came out of Rice University. We have a great deal of comfort with him and are excited about rallying around him and supporting him.” – Mike Tomlin"
Tomlin was asked to describe his thoughts on the production from linebacker Jarvis Jones.
"“I think he has been solid. I like the violence with which he has played. His hands have been heavy. He has done a nice job in the run game. He hasn’t produced the numbers from a pressure or sack standpoint yet, but we have been doing some things that have minimized his rush opportunities.” – Mike Tomlin"
Tomlin was also asked to discuss his thoughts on the progression of rookie wide receiver Sammie Coates, who had his first NFL reception against the Ravens on Thursday night on an 11-yard catch from Vick.
"“He is improving dramatically to the point where we were comfortable putting him in a helmet. He had an opportunity to get a substantial amount of play, and his play was above the line. He will continue to progress and we will continue to give him an opportunity to do so accordingly and we will evaluate the results of that progression and make judgments about participation accordingly.” – Mike Tomlin"
Obviously Count = 18 (mid-season form already)
On to the Chargers!
You can listen to Tomlin’s entire presser right here.
Here we go Steelers! Here we go!
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