Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin held his first regular season press conference on Tuesday in preparation for the Sunday night opener in Denver against the Denver Broncos.
Below are the key talking points from the presser along with the audio.
Tomlin opened by saying that they are excited about getting the 2012 season started in a hostile environment, but that they do respect it the challenge that lies ahead in the Broncos.
Tomlin went through his normal praising of the opponent on all sides of the ball, including coaching, and said that Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning needs no endorsement from him and that his resume is his resume. “He\’s got ridiculous character,” said Tomlin.
Tomlin said that Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is a big guy and tough to get on ground with an exceptional ability to run after catch.
Injury wise, Tomlin ruled out linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (knee) and guard David DeCastro (knee) for the game and said that the door is open for linebacker James Harrison (knee), linebacker Jason Worilds (wrist), running back Rashard Mendenhall (knee) and running back Isaac Redman (ankle) to play. Tomlin also ruled out safety Ryan Clark for the game because of his sickle cell trait.
Tomlin said that he has been impressed with the conditioning of wide receiver Mike Wallace so far and how he has picked up new offense since arriving last week, but that he tempers that excitement until he sees Wallace in a game.
As far as the starting cornerback spot opposite Ike Taylor, Tomlin said that Keenan Lewis has earned “a spot”. He also said he is not looking back in regard to nose tackle Casey Hampton (knee) as he played in the preseason finale and played above the line. He will play in the opener.
Tomlin called running back Chris Rainey a talented guy, and although he will get the opportunities as the return man, he\’s still not trusted because he is a rookie.
As far as special teams go, Tomlin said there have been no issues in regards to the recent firing of coach Al Everest and the transition to Amos Jones.[audio:http://www.steelersdepot.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/mike-tomlin-press-conference-broncos-week-1-2012.mp3]