Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin met the media on Monday for his weekly press conference and it was a day early because of the short week ahead for the Steelers. Tomlin talked about the 35-7 win yesterday against the Cincinnati Bengals, gave an injury update and talked about the upcoming game Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns.
As far as injuries go, Tomlin said right guard Ramon Foster (ankle) came out of the game yesterday with a left ankle sprain and characterized him as questionable at this point and they will see where the week takes his status. Wide receiver Arnaz Battle (hamstring) and linebacker Chris Carter (hamstring) will most likely be out again versus the Browns. Nose tackle Chris Hoke (neck) and running back Jonathan Dwyer (foot) are both seeing the doctor today. Hoke is still having stinger related problems while Dwyer has some sort of foot problem. Tomlin said linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) is still in play for Thursday night and they will see where the week takes them with him. Linebacker Larry Foote (hamstring) has a legitimate chance at playing against the Browns per Tomlin.
You can listen to the audio of the Monday press conference below and I will be adding more talking points shortly.[audio:http://www.steelersdepot.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/mike-tomlin-week-14-browns-press-conference.mp3]
Tomlin opened with saying again he was pleased with the victory and noted the energy and effort in all 3 phases. He noted the significant splash plays and said he thought special teams set the tone by proving splash plays early.
Tomlin said offensively he thought they did a good job of seizing opportunities in the red area and were very efficient. He liked the way the running backs ran down there and said it made it easier, but not to be confused with easy. Overall good execution in situational football.
Defensively Tomlin thought the pressure was consistent and it didn\’t always manifest itself in the form of sacks. He thought the pressure broke the pocket down on a consistent basis however.
Tomlin says they have to quickly put that game behind them and look at areas that they fell short in.
As far as the Browns go, Tomlin says they have a good core group of guys on defense. Jabaal Sheard is playing good consistent ball at left end for them and Marcus Gilbert better familiarize himself with him. Tomlin said Phil Taylor is who they thought he was after scouting him leading up to the draft last year.
Tomlin went on to highlight Colt McCoy, Peyton Hillis and Josh Cribbs on the Browns offense. As far as Cribbs goes, Tomlin noted that they have a short week to prepare for the Wildcat and such that the Browns might use.
As far as the Browns special teams, Tomlin said they can\’t let Cribbs do to them what he has time and again in the kick return game. Tomlin said that they have been dead Indians in his cowboy movie enough! Tomlin says they may consider not kicking to Cribbs at all on Thursday night.
Tomlin did not want to characterize Woodley as having a setback on Sunday at this point and that the week will provide legitimate answers with him moving forward. He said Woodley felt something and was mature enough not to do any further damage to it. Woodley was going to be on a pitch count against the Bengals, but obviously that did not come into play.
Tomlin ays he measures practice by performance and that the team has practiced to the tune of 9-3 this year.
Tomlin said Curtis Brown is doing a nice job and that he has a different sense of urgency than most and his hair is on fire as Tomlin put it. Tomlin said he always competes and it is a window into what he can maybe contribute down the road on defense. Tomlin says he is excited about him and rookie Cortez Allen as well.
When Foster left with his ankle injury, Tomlin said the decision to bring Trai Essex in at right guard and not move Doug Legursky over was because Legursky was not broke and they were not going to fix him.
Tomlin says they can\’t get concerned with milestones on the team. He said if Hines Ward is doing what he should be doing and the rest of the team is doing what they should be doing, it will all take care of itself.
Tomlin said punter Jeremy Kapinos has done a heck of a job from a punting standpoint, but Tomlin said he would have liked to not see him snap the ball on the field goal try when they had just 10 men on the field.