Mike Tomlin had his weekly meeting with the media on Tuesday. Here are the talking points.
– Tomlin opens by saying “challenge is what we seek.” He continues by saying the Steelers embrace these challenges, but the attitude is not going to get done what they need to get done.
– The most disturbing thing about the Saints offense is how well Drew Brees spreads the ball around to everybody on the field. “You have to defend all the eligibles.”
– Defensively Tomlin describes them as a sound, fundamental and opportunistic group.
– As for the injuries… Flozell is looking good, will be limited early in the week but should be ready. Brett Kiesel and LaMarr Woodley will be limited early on and he hopes they’ll be ready to play on Sunday. Aaron Smith will be out for a significant amount of time after having surgery on Monday. Everything else is “bumps and bruises” and they need to “get over those quickly.”
Tomlin said they will add a defensive end and it will likely be in-house. Steve McClendon’s name is mentioned. He also says that Chris Hoke has shown he has capable of playing end. Tomlin has no idea for a “best-case scenario” for Smith’s potential return.
Trai Essex was close to playing this week, but they were cautious, and it sounds like he’ll be ready to play on Sunday.
– Tomlin is asked if Woodley can’t go what the strategy will be. He says they would be inclined to slide Lawrence Timmons outside and play Larry Foote inside, while mixing Jason Worilds in during pass-rushing situations. He pointed out that Worilds made “the play” when they needed it on Sunday, and he needs to continue to play winning football.
– When asked about his pass defense Tomlin says he doesn’t care about stats but is very excited that his defense isn’t giving up points, including in the red zone.
– Tim Benz asks a stupid question about the outside linebacker positions, Tomlin firmly says “They’re the same. One is on the right side, one is on the left side.”
– Tomlin is asked about the goal line play and playing beyond the whistle, and he responds by pointing out how there’s been a de-emphasis on the whistle, and he has a real problem with that, especially as it relates to player safety.
– Tomlin is not concerned about Ray Anderson’s evaluation of James Harrison’s play. “It would be tough for me to care less about their opinion to be honest with you.” Easily the best answer of the day.
– Tomlin says he didn’t consider going for it on fourth down at the goal line and was more concerned about getting points on the board, taking the lead, and turning the game over to his defense, especially since Miami had exhausted all of its timeouts.
– Tomlin says he has seen improvement from Ziggy Hood. Acknowledges the production hasn’t been what Ziggy has wanted to this point, but says “boy he’s going to have an opportunity this week.”
– In hindsight Tomlin says he would have given Jeff Reed an opportunity to “bang one” at the end of the first half. No word on why they ran a reverse during a two-minute drill and let the clock run down.