Audio and video from Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin post game press conference following the 2009, week 16 against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday December 27th, 2009. Transcript to follow!
Mike Tomlin: You know, like I just told the football team, this is our bed, but I like how they’re laying in it. Not dead yet. Still got a pulse in this thing and we’ll continue to control the things we can control, playing winning football, preparing, doing the best we can. They did today and made enough plays to win, so we move on to next week and we’re hopeful that we’ll get the necessary help, but again, we make no excuses or have no explanations. We put ourselves into this position, but I like the way they’re dealing with it.
Question: How did dealing with your situation change in the past three weeks?
Mike Tomlin: You know, we’re in single-elimination football already in my perspective. It’s playoff football for us already and has been for the last two weeks. Again, there’s a different sense of urgency, but it’s one we’ve placed on ourself. We’re not looking to blame anybody, we’re just dealing with it the best way we know how. They’re staying together, they’re working hard during the week and they’re making enough plays to get out of stadiums with W’s and that’s what it’s about.
Question: Is it the matter of making the play here and there that’s changed this team?
Mike Tomlin: That’s all it is. I know that sometimes when you lose you look for deeper reasons why but, every week I come up here and tell you it’s a play here or a play there. You’ve got to make a play. You’ve got to make significant plays at significant moments. When we’ve lost, it’s because we haven’t, when we won, it’s because we have. We had that same football team at fourth-and-five in Baltimore with a chance to end that game in regulation, and Ray [Rice] beat us inside and had a 50-yard or 40-yard play, and they send the game in overtime and we lose. We had a similar situation out there today and we made the necessary play. That’s what this game of football is about, that’s what it’ll always be about. I know sometimes that’s not the answer you’re looking for but it’s really just that simple.
Question: Is it a relief to the defense that they pitched a shutout in the fourth quarter?
Mike Tomlin: I don’t know if they’re looking at it that way, I know I’m not. We just need enough plays to win. Style points, we’re way past that, we’re just trying to stay alive.
Question: Did something kick in with LaMarr Woodley in the second half? He seems to be playing better.
Mike Tomlin: He’s been that kind of guy since he’s been here. His rookie year, he came on late in the year, last year late in the year, playoffs he was playing good football. He’s a guy that’s on the rise at the appropriate time and that’s what makes him a good player.
Question: Could you give us an update on Hines Ward?
Mike Tomlin: He’s just beat up you know, hamstrings and so forth. We’ll do the best we can to get him to the party, he’ll take care of the rest. You know if he’s got a chance he’s going to show up for his team. He did today, but it was not comfortable by any stretch.
Question: Was Harrison close to not going?
Mike Tomlin: No, same guy. Same mentality. He played with one arm today, but he played pretty good for a one-armed guy.
Question: Talk about Ziggy Hood.
Mike Tomlin: He made a few plays for us. A young guy kind of taking advantage of opportunities. Of course, he was afforded more of an opportunity because of what Brett Keisel’s been going through. He made a few timely plays for us. He’s a quality young player, he’s going to be a good player, not soon enough for us, not soon enough for him but we’re seeing strides week in and week out. We’re excited about what he could be. He helped us today which is good.
Question: In the beginning of the game, [Andre] Frazier was out in the huddle instead of James Harrison until James Harrison showed up. What happened?
Mike Tomlin: No, he was just going to stay out there until he saw James [Harrison]. James [Harrison] was over there getting his arm heated up. Dre [Frazier] saw he wasn’t on the field. He was just going to cover so we had 11 on the grass until he showed. There was no indecision about whether 92 [James Harrison] was going to play or not, he was going to play, but Andre [Frazier] was just doing what quality backups do. He saw the guy that he plays behind not on the field and he took his place until he was replaced.
Question: Did Joey Galloway need more time learning the system?
Mike Tomlin: Yes, given some of the things going on at wide receiver of course, Mike Wallace had a laceration to his knee during the week, Hines [Ward] has a few things wrong with him, we felt like the backups needed to be multiple-position players, guys capable of playing more that one spot. Tyler’s [Grisham] been here all year. We’re comfortable with his ability to handle multiple positions from an assignment standpoint. Joey’s [Galloway] been here three or four days, not as comfortable. We’ll get him back in the lab and hopefully next week, he can be a multiple-position guy and hopefully that will give him an opportunity to help us.
Question: Was that incomplete pass to Derrick Mason in the fourth quarter reviewable for a fumble?
Mike Tomlin: I was told that I could challenge it, but if I did, it would be ruled as an incomplete pass, so why challenge it? That’s what I was told. I’m still trying to figure that out.
Question: Ziggy [Hood] caught a break on that last one.
Mike Tomlin: Man, we need a break or two don’t we? We’ve had our share of the opposite.
Question: You made a change in the secondary with Deshea [Townsend], how do you think it worked?
Mike Tomlin: You know, we’re looking for guys that make football plays. Deshea [Townsend] played pretty solid a week ago, made a football play down there in the red area. We wanted to reward him for it, but all those guys are going to play. You can see that we’ve got multiple packages with three corners and a safety and sub-package football. We’re going to need contributions from all those guys, I think they understand that and they know that. The big thing is that they’re in the right frame of mind in terms of being ready to deliver for us. I liked the way they fought today, I liked the way they were around the football, they didn’t play tentative today. That’s what’s going to be what’s required as we chase hopefully some January football, but our emphasis and our attention at this point is preparing and ultimately playing the Miami Dolphins. One shot, one kill football for us.
Question: Were the patterns based on substitutes or the other team?
Mike Tomlin: No, it was definite pattern based on their personnel and situation.
Question: Do you anticipate having Troy [Polamalu] back?
Mike Tomlin: Come to the press conference on Tuesday, I’ll give you the MRI update, or not.
Question: Are there any other injuries?
Mike Tomlin: Some minor things, of course Hines [Ward] is miserable, a few others, but nothing significant at this point. A lot of the preexisting things, Brett Keisel, stingers, Hines [Ward], hamstring, James Harrison, bicep, but nothing new, no.