The Steelers are riding high from a two-game sweep in five days and a long weekend to rest but will now face a tough test with the Giants in town.
Coach Mike Tomlin resumes his Tuesday role to address the media for wrapping up the previous game, updating injury statuses, break down the upcoming game and answer questions.
Breaking down the Thanksgiving win over the Colts was fairly easy for coach T, considering the game went pretty well considering they were on a short week. Not having to face Andrew Luck had a lot to do with it but that wasn’t the only thing that led to victory.
Tomlin praised the work of the offensive line in the 28-7 win citing their work led to a balance on offense where Le’Veon Bell ran well and Antonio Brown (AB) “did AB-like things”. Tomlin also expressed excitement in the big plays made by tight end Ladarius Green.
On the fake punt Indy pulled off successfully thanks to the strong arm of Colts punter Pat McAfee Tomlin described that situation as a lost opportunity saying the special teams had a chance to stop that play and they fell short.
A play like that, especially leading to their only touchdown of the game, would be a momentum-shifting play for a better team. Those are the plays Pittsburgh can’t afford to give up against tougher competition.
On the injury front there is relatively good news for this time of year. Tomlin described receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey as “week-to-week” and running back DeAngelo Williams in an upgraded status as able to return to practice from the knee scope that has sidelined him.
Tomlin described Williams in the same boat as players like Xavier Grimble and Shamarko Thomas in that “we’ll let practice participation be our guide” kind of situation. So that typically means that if they don’t practice, they won’t be playing. Time to watch the practice report for these guys.
Tomlinism: “In our business they say, ‘They remember December’.” – Mike Tomlin
Previewing the Giants
Tomlin delivered his Tomlinism of the week when beginning to break down the matchup against the New York Giants. He noted how football in December carries with it a different level of intensity because playoff spots are won and lost for teams other than the Cleveland Browns in December.
"Tomlinism: “In our business they say, ‘They remember December’.” – Mike Tomlin"
I actually never heard that term before but whatever you say, coach.
There’s no breaking down the Giants without bringing up quarterback Eli Manning. He’s finally got the chance to be the best Manning in the league and he’s actually doing well so far this season, so good for him.
Manning is doing well because of his receivers and those would be Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard. The defense will have their hands full with trying to contain all three of those guys.
Tomlin praised the efforts of the offensive line last week against the Colts and this week they’ll have a considerably tougher job against the likes of Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. They’ve been terrorizing quarterbacks all season so far.
Q & A
Tomlin was asked about Antonio Brown’s celebration penalty and if he felt like that needed to be addressed again and he said there wasn’t a need for that. I wish that would be the end of the discussion but that not likely.
Tomlin explained that he knows Antonio Brown is a highly emotional guy and that he wants to be the reason the team succeeds and as long as the team does succeed he doesn’t see an issue with him at all. At the same time Pittsburgh is facing another highly emotional receiver in Beckham.
Tomlin was asked about making a plan to get under Beckham’s skin to try and frustrate him to get him off of his game. Tomlin answered that he prefers to make the game plan more about the game rather than emotions and reactions.
"“I think getting under his skin is minimizing his impact on the game. We are going to spend our time in that area. If we can minimize his impact on the game, I imagine that will be frustrating to him and aid us. Spending time talking about anything else is not good, productive, or professional time for us. We have to do what we need to do schematically and technically to minimize one of the most dynamic players in football. That’s a tall task.” – Mike Tomlin"
Tomlin was also asked about incorporating linebacker Bud Dupree back into the fold since coming off of injured/reserve. Dupree makes the outside linebacker group a five-man rotation, which Tomlin explained is one too many for practicality reasons. So as Dupree gets more involved, one guy will be left out.
Tomlin noted that James Harrison definitely has the hot hand at the moment and Arthur Moats as well so you’d think the odd man out is likely between Anthony Chickillo and Jarvis Jones. A little competition between linebackers ought to keep the pass rush that has recently been awakened alive.
Tomlin also added a plea to Steeler Nation to get loud this week. He explained that the Giants run an almost completely no-huddle offense and that fans can disrupt Manning and how he delivers communication to his team.
"“Steelers Nation has an opportunity to be a significant contributor to our efforts this week. The Giants work almost exclusively out of the no-huddle offense, and they do it for several reasons. They have great continuity at quarterback with Eli Manning and coach Ben McAdoo, and that continuity provides opportunities for latitude, for Eli to get them in appropriate plays based on what he sees. To do that, you have to communicate, be it hand signals or more effectively, verbal communications. If a crowd is disruptive, it really makes that difficult.” – Mike Tomlin"
You heard the coach. This is for all those dudes who show up at the games with the jerseys and shoulder pads. The guys with the hard hats that have the steel beams going through and the ladies who wear the eye-black. You’re not getting on the field but you can change the game if you get loud and stay loud.
Tomlin is using his Obviously’s sparingly these days for sure. I only counted 3 in the total presser.
Bring on the Giants! Here we go Steelers! Here we go!