Audio from Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin post game press conference following the 2009, week 7 win against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday October 25th, 2009. Transcript to follow.[audio:http://www.steelersdepot.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/mike_tomlin_10_25_2009_press_conference.mp3]
Mike Tomlin: Good afternoon. We’re pretty fortunate to win that football game to say the least. When you look at the stat sheet and you look at some of the things that happened in that game, usually you don’t win those. They dominated time of possession. We’re not very good in the situational football, I think we were 0-for-3 in red zone football. When you kick field goals versus a good team like that, usually it comes back to bite you, I think we were 0-for-2 in goal-to-go situations. They pounded a couple in on us but we stayed in the fight, guys didn’t blink and to their credit, we were able to win the game. When you put a couple of splash plays defensively; you put 14 points on the board defensively you can overcome a lot of errors. We were far from a perfect team, but we won today. We’ll accept that, we’re very complimentary of that football team that we played today, they’re good. It’s good to get into a bye winning a few in a row and we’ll continue to improve in our areas of deficiency, kickoff coverage being one of them.
Question: Is there an injury report?
Mike Tomlin: Nothing at this point. Travis Kirschke went off with a calf strain, don’t know the extent of that. Lawrence Timmons went off with an ankle, don’t know the extent of that. Thankfully we’ve got a little time to get those things addressed here not having to play a game next week.
Question: You ran the ball well today, is it because the Minnesota Vikings defense dropped back in coverage?
Mike Tomlin: I thought our guys did a nice job blocking them. I want to give credit to our front, I thought they were game for the challenge. They respect the heck out of the Minnesota Vikings run defense. I think they’re reputation preceded them, but we were able to find a few creases and get some rhythm in the run game, we just didn’t possess the ball enough today to do what we desire to do from that element of it. Part of it is due to the fact that Minnesota’s pretty good with the football. Converting first downs, Brett [Favre] moving the chains and keeping us on the sidelines.
Question: What is it about the defense when they step up and make plays?
Mike Tomlin: More than anything, they trust how what they do fits in the big picture or the big scheme of things. We very rarely have people out of place, they’re usually where they’re supposed to be, seeing things they’re supposed to see and when you do that and combine that with energy and enthusiasm big plays happen and thankfully they happened for us today.
Question: What was it like on the sideline watching the two touchdowns?
Mike Tomlin: It’s one of those slow motion moments that’s a joy in this business depending on what end of it you’re on. You do it enough, you end up on both ends of it. I think we’ve had a few balls run back on us this year, it’s good to be on the good side of it.
Question: Do you sense the team has a chip on their shoulder?
Mike Tomlin: I hope so. Whatever allows us to prepare with an edge. I’m not concerned about their play, I know they’re going to play with an edge, it’s more importantly that we prepare with an edge. I think we’ve been doing that, no minor criticisms. If that motivates us, great.
Question: Did subbing Mewelde Moore have to do with Rashard Mendenhall’s fumble?
Mike Tomlin: It did and it didn’t. The young fellow [Rashard Mendenhall] fumbled and every time he puts a helmet on, it’s a learning experience for him. Just a little careless in that instance, we were getting ready to go in for a score and we lost the ball, but also it just speaks to a level of trust we have in Mewelde [Moore]. He’s closed games for us in the past, we feel comfortable with the ball in his hands and the things he’s capable of doing not only as a runner, but with some of the blitz pickup things that you might see under those circumstances and of course getting him out in pass routes, so it’s multiple reasons for that.
Question: Can you talk about the play of Keyaron Fox?
Mike Tomlin: Keyaron [Fox] is a guy that like a lot of guys is really on the come. He’s in his second year on our football team so he has a clean understanding of defensive schemes and how he fits into the big picture of the 11th man. He’s a quality football player, he’s a low-maintenance guy. He’s always willing to ante up and kick in given the opportunity, he’s done so at the beginning of the year and he did again today. I imagine when we continue to call on him as needed, he’ll do the same.
Question: Do Rashard’s fumbles make you reconsider him starting?
Mike Tomlin: Not at this point no. Not at all.
Question: Why didn’t Willie Parker play more?
Mike Tomlin: I think we had the ball 23 minutes. We had a couple of three-and-outs and things of that nature. You’re not going to find rhythm within games like that. We’re not going to be able to run it as much as we’d like. I think we were sub-50 in terms of snaps. So you could ask about anybody and their level of participation, it’ll be below the line under those circumstances. We didn’t get Hines [Ward] the ball enough. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. We didn’t have enough snaps.
Question: As you head into the bye week, where do you stand in the AFC?
Mike Tomlin: I’m not a big picture guy. We’re going to enjoy the bye, some much needed rest for us and then we’re going to prepare for Denver. We understand as much as we continue to win our position can’t be any worse. I tend not to watch the standings when we win, only when we lose.
Question: Can you point out the deficiencies of the kickoff coverage?
Mike Tomlin: I don’t know, but we better fix it and fix it in a hurry. I accept the responsibility for that, I’m going to get it fixed, whether it’s schematics, people or both.
Question: Talk about the Minnesota Vikings pass coverage and them batting the balls today.
Mike Tomlin: That’s what they do, they’ve got some big people, some aware people inside. Kevin Williams is a unique guy, very aware, a lot like Brett Keisel for us in terms of, “hands up.” We knew they were capable of that. They’ve done it before, they did a nice job of that. Thought we a nice job from a protection stand point in the big scheme of things. This team is very good at sacking the quarterback. Of course [Jared] Allen’s at the tops of the league from a end position, Kevin Williams’ at the top of the league from the defensive tackle position. We didn’t expect it to be smooth sailing if you will and it wasn’t, but all in all, I think I’d give us a passing grade just on a knee jerk, gut reaction to the question
Question: Can you talk about James Farrior’s play?
Mike Tomlin: He played inspired ball today but that’s consistent with what we expect from him. He’s our defensive captain and leader. He’s a heck of a one to boot, he’s always ready to play. The stage is never too big for James [Farrior].