Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin answered several questions from the media during his post game press conference following the 19-16 win over the Baltimore Ravens and below is the transcript from the session courtesy of steelers.com.
Mike Tomlin Opening Statement: Nice win for us. It took contributions in all three phases and it’s good to get that type of result and under those circumstances. I think it’s something that we can grow from positively. Guys just made necessary plays. It probably wasn’t perfect. It never is, but obviously, it was significant getting our first home win and getting our first AFC North win, trying to remain relevant. We’ll do the same as we push forward into our next week’s opportunity. On the injury front, Marcus Gilbert, of course, came into the game with a quad [injury]. Early in the game, he just really wasn’t able to get it done. Guy Whimper came in and gave us good work. The rest of the stuff is kind of bumps and bruises along the way. In regards to Jarvis Jones, he took an ImPACT test on Friday, and passed it but we double-checked. We brought doctor Micky Collins over on Saturday. He administered manual tests. He didn’t get to a level of comfort. We believe that the doctors that we have are some of the best in the world. We rely on their level of expertise. He handed down that judgment. We didn’t second-guess it. We moved on. He was an inactive guy today. It is my assumption that he’ll be ready to go next week.
What made you put Emmanuel Sanders back there on that last kickoff return?
Tomlin: He’s a capable guy. If you look at our depth chart, he is the second guy. There are certain runs that he runs extremely well and has, going back to, I think the Dolphins in Miami, I think, his rookie year. He was the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week that week. He’s got a skill set. When called upon, he’s capable of delivering. Obviously, he’s a starting wide receiver for us and it’s not something we want to do all the time. But at the appropriate time we’ll dial his number, and I thought he delivered.
Can you talk about the play on first-down? You guys averaged almost seven yards on first down.
Tomlin: Todd [Haley] did a nice job of mixing it. The guys did a nice job of executing. If you can run the ball efficiently, then you can dial up play-passes and things associated with it, and keep people off balance. We were able to do that for the most part today. Any questions about Le’Veon Bell today? No?
What did you think about Le’Veon Bell’s performance today?
Tomlin: It was what I thought it was capable of being.
Did you hear a whistle on the kickoff return?
Tomlin: I did not. But, in fairness to the officiating crew, oftentimes when plays like that unfold you’re not going to hear something.
Do you plan on lining Ben Roethlisberger up as a wide receiver in the future? What did you think about the wildcat?
Tomlin: We’ll do anything to win football games. That’s just the state we’re in.
Are you happy with the production you got out of those plays?
Tomlin: It was nice little wrinkle. Obviously, if we want to continue to use it, it needs more layers, more depth. We’ll look at it. We’ll evaluate it and kind of move on from there.
It seemed like a lot of your offensive plays were different from what we have seen before. Was that based on the fact that you were playing a division opponent?
Tomlin: They weren’t. They really weren’t. We went small menu baseball. We dressed up some things with some pre-snap formations and motions, but we didn’t do anything unique tonight.
When you used Guy Whimper at right tackle instead of Mike Adams, is that how they are on the depth chart, or did it have to do with Adams working at tight end?
Tomlin: Adams is doing a lot of work as an extra tight end. They’re capable of putting big guys like [Haloti] Ngata out there in that C and D gap and we just wanted to have a big body out there. We planned to do it. We thought if we sustained one injury at tackle we’d be able to stay the course, two obviously, we wouldn’t. So, we were able to stay the course.
Did you use the zone blocking scheme more today?
You mentioned maintaining relevance. Does this win keep you in that category?
Tomlin: We’re just going to try and win each and every game and let the result of it speak for itself. Obviously, we put ourselves in this hole and we’ve got to dig our way out of it.
Can you speak to the game that Lawrence Timmons had?
Tomlin: I thought all the guys played with great energy. This group taxes you. They’re a vertical passing team and when the vertical stuff is not there, they’re checking the ball down to Ray Rice, who is a tough guy to deal with in that open grass. Guys like Lawrence and Troy [Polamalu] I thought did a nice job of managing that vertical space and trying to minimize some of the stuff that they do. Just largely, I was appreciative of the efforts of all the men, not only Lawrence.
Do you think that this is the best the offensive line played as a unit all year?
Tomlin: Hopefully their best days lie ahead. I know it was pretty good tonight. It was enough for us to win and I’ll kind of leave it at that. We’ll comb through it tomorrow in the appropriate way in terms of evaluating it with fine detail.
Re: Defensive performance:
Tomlin: They’re getting stingy at the appropriate time. Obviously, we’d like to win some more of those third downs and get off a little sooner, but they stiffened and they won those significant situations within situations – third-down in the red zone area. That’s what we needed. They were able to do it a week ago in New York. They were able to do it tonight. But that’s signature of good defense. If we want to be a good defense and play good defense, we’ve got to rise up in those moments and they were able to do it today.