Steel City Underground

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin
steelers.com

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin holds his weekly press conferences every Tuesday. Each week, we will take a glimpse at what stood out from coach's comments about the previous week and heading into the Steelers next game.

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Injury updates

From an injury standpoint. We are still in a process of evaluating Joe’s [Haden] leg injury. It could be less than it might be, or could be more than we think. The reality says he is not playing this week. We will leave him available to us in the short term until we get a better sense of what the prognosis is. Obviously if there is a chance for him to participate with our team this year, we’ll leave that light on. Really, we know he’s not playing this week as I stand here so our energy is not on those that are not playing it’s on those that are.

We’ll do a great job of rallying around Coty [Sensabaugh] and helping him prepare and look forward to him doing the job. I know this injury will get a lot of attention and rightfully so because Joe is a significant component for us and a new guy and all of those things. But injuries were very much a part of the game. We’ve dealt with them all year and we’ll deal with this one the same.

Marcus Gilbert missed a significant amount of time. Chris Hubbard’s play made it a non-discussion. We didn’t talk about it a bunch because his play was above the line. I think the same can be said for Tyson Alualu in his replacement of [Stephon] Tuitt when he missed a substantial amount of time in recent weeks. So, you guys know our mentality. The standard is the standard. We’ll expect Coty [Sensabaugh] to play well. We’ll help him in preparation and he will. Hopefully Joe’s injury will be less of an issue the more that Coty plays. Hopefully he’ll have an opportunity to come back and be a positive contributor to our efforts in the ways that he has been.

Re: Bringing in veteran guys off the bench

I just think whether they are veteran or young, I think we hold them all to the same standard. JuJu [Smith-Schuster] is a young guy that has been moving up the depth chart in some ways and playing. If we put you out there we have a certain level of expectation that just so happens that the guys that I mentioned are veterans. We put guys on the field that we think are capable of helping us be successful and we expect them to deliver. I think they expect that of themselves. I think performances of guys like Chris Hubbard is giving us and Tyson Alualu kind of fortify that mentality.

Do you have an update on Mike Mitchell?

We’ll see as the week goes on. Obviously, there is not a lot of physical participation to measure but he has a chance and we’ll leave the light on for him. Same with Vance McDonald, was probably another one that I failed to mention.

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Why did you throw the review flag on the forward progress play? I’m sure you knew that’s not a reviewable play.

I know, I just wanted the discussion. It’s a frustrating element. Sometimes judgement is not up for review. I understand that. Sometimes that judgement is cloudy. I wanted to know what was the indication that forward progress was stopped. Was it the whistle? If it was, then the ball was out before the whistle, and how is that reviewable? Is there audio on the review? You know, it was an interesting discussion, but it was a discussion I thought was worth having. I was frustrated because I thought that we got the ball, but some rulings are judgement and are not subject to review. And I understand that element of play as well.

No. I know that they don’t. I just threw that line in the water.

Does showing your team that you’re fighting for them ever factor into that decision?

I’m always fighting for them, so I don’t need displays of that. I think they know that. I don’t do things with that in mind.

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Why was the passing game so much more effective in the second half yesterday, and how do you hope to build that going forward?

I just think offensively, we were winning a few more possession downs. That allows you to find rhythm and stay on the field and build off of the play that preceded and so forth, and when you’re losing possession downs, you’re not going to find that rhythm. It was funny.

When I mentioned the Tennessee-Cincinnati game, to watch Tennessee go man-to-man and win those possession downs, Cincinnati ended up with I think less than 50 offensive snaps. There’s going to be a lack of rhythm when you’re not winning possession downs, and oftentimes anything you’re talking about regarding rhythm or finding your personality or getting hot, is usually centered around winning possession downs and more importantly or equally as important, being in winnable possession downs.

How do you help your offense as a coaching staff to get into a better rhythm early in games?

We just have to keep working. Sometimes you’re going to start slow coming out of a bye. You hate it. You hate to acknowledge it, but you acknowledge that it exists. Hopefully it will be less of an issue for us this week.

Re: Walking the line between making the negatives better and still acknowledging victory:

You know, our job is to win. Football is a game. Our job is winning. The bottom line is to win. But you analyze those performances because you realize you’re simply positioning yourself for the next challenge. So, if I’m in any way negative in the midst of victory, it’s done so with that purpose in mind – to increase our chances of winning the next game. If I’m negative in losses, it’s done with that in mind – to increase our chances of winning in the next game.

It’s important that we master that process of prepare, play, analyze, repeat process. And that analysis is as big a part of it as anything because it is your compass for the next preparation and the next play. Over the course of the year, it should be a cumulative effect where you work more efficiently. You get better. It requires less physical preparation etc., etc. I think all of those expectations are reasonable. Those are the things that are kind of on my mind when I think about analysis of play and preparing for the next challenge.

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How does the injury to Joe Haden affect what happens with Cameron Sutton?

It doesn’t.

Who’s the next man up then?

Coty [Sensabaugh], who I was talking about who played in the game.

No, I mean after that, who would be Coty’s primary backup?

I’m not acknowledging that there is a next man up. I just mentioned in the short-term, I’m not going to make any moves regarding Joe because there is a potential for him to be a participant for us in ’17, so I think that discussion is premature.





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