Mike Tomlin had his weekly media with Monday. Here are some of the talking points.
– A day early due to the short week, and Tomlin’s reaction didn’t change much after reviewing Sunday’s game: Didn’t make enough plays to win the game and it kind of got away from them. A lot of areas they could have been better, but he says that’s the case every week, “even in victory.” “Tip your hat to the Jets, they made the plays.”
– Injuries: Arnaz Battle had a rib contusion during the game, “touch and go” for the week. Heath should be fine. Aaron Smith will be fitted for a shoulder brace and they’ll see where he goes as far as participation. Still early in the week on Troy, status unknown. Other than that, typical bumps and bruises.
– The Panthers ran the ball 45 times during Sunday’s win over Arizona. Based on the people they have, that seems to be their formula and that will be this weeks challenge. Stewart described as a “patient runner” and a guy the Steelers “looked at very closely” when they drafted Rashard Mendenhall. “Steve Smith is Steve Smith. Numbers are down, yes, but it has nothing to do with his talent level.”
Jordan Gross anchors their front and is a “rock solid player.”
Claussen put together a winning performance on Sunday and put up a 100+ passer rating on Sunday.
Defensively it starts with middle linebacker Jon Beason. “Really good inside linebacker, three-down linebacker.” Decent rotation of people up front.
– Thursday night football is a quick turnaround, particularly for a veteran team. Have to be smart and preserve their guys as best they can. That makes it an advantage for the Panthers because they’re a younger team, according to Tomlin.
– Whether or not Troy, or anyone, plays is based only on health.
– Tomlin doesn’t like how they qualified for the playoffs, “crawling in on your belly.” Division title is still in their sights, but it starts with playing winning football on Thursday night.
– Deciding to defer the opening kick depends on game situation, weather conditions and a combination of both (for the record: I think they should always defer. The crowd is never a factor the first drive of third quarter, so that’s when you want to be on offense).
– On the flags being picked up: “It fell out of his belt a few times.” When asked if he would have liked to have seen it fall out on a couple of the Steelers deep passes, Tomlin responded: “I coach.”
– Emmanuel Sanders was the target on the next to last play, but Tomlin said it’s not uncommon to see guys make a play on the ball like Spaeth did in that situation because of the circumstances (needing a touchdown, Ben scrambling, etc.). “It gets hairy.”
– Tomlin was asked about Moore running the draw play on the one and said they’ve used all three running backs to run that play in recent weeks. Gave Jason Taylor credit for making a great play.
– On the penalty on Flozell: Tomlin doesn’t know the details of the how and why, but he did notice that the confrontation took place behind the line of scrimmage in the Steelers huddle area, and the Steelers have a right to that area.