Mentality won’t change: Coach Mike Tomlin said his team is excited about Sunday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, one they have to win to keep any type of postseason hopes alive. Tomlin said it won’t be hard to keep the players motivated for the game, despite the 5-8 record they carry into it.
“In a lot of ways we have been operating with that sense of urgency since our catastrophic start at 0-4,” said Tomlin. “When you start 0-4 you understand the ramifications of that. We really got singularly focused and tried to void out all of the noise and focus on the challenges that are in front of us on a week-to-week basis. From that standpoint I don’t expect the mentality to change. I know mine won’t.”
- Making a contribution:
Mike Adamsgot the start at left tackle on Sunday against the Dolphins with Kelvin Beachumsidelined with a knee injury, and Tomlin was pleased with the effort he got from him.
“He represented himself well,” said Tomlin. “It was a great opportunity for him to get back to the tackle position and show his capabilities in that area. Also I think that he has been a positive contributor to what we have asked him to do at the extra tight end spot prior to that. He has found positive ways to contribute and I appreciate that and I know he does too. I think it probably helped him in getting back on the field at the left tackle position last weekend.”
- Continuing to emerge: Linebacker
Jason Worildscontinues to develop and become a playmaker for the defense, starting again on the left side against the Dolphins even with the return of LaMarr Woodleyto the starting lineup.
“I think he is emerging and developing like all players should,” said Tomlin. “He is healthier than he has been in recent years. He is becoming a veteran player. The snap experience he has experienced over the last several years playing for LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison, he is benefitting from that. He is a different athletic matchup for right tackles and that is an element of it as well. It is more of a level playing field with the athleticism of some of the left tackles matching his skill set. He is probably more troublesome for some of the animals that play right tackle in our game today.”
- Making too much of a splash: The Steelers are ranked 12th overall in defense, including 24th against the run after ranking second against the run last season. Tomlin said splash plays have played a role in contributing to the ranking, along with other factors.
“I think splash plays has a lot to do with that,” said Tomlin. “Don’t get me wrong. I am not seeking comfort in identifying splash plays as a reason for the change. The plays that are on tape are ours, we own them and that is the level of ownership and accountability we have. But the reality is 50 yard plays eliminate a lot of execution and we have had quite a few splash plays that eliminated execution opportunities for our opponents. We have given up too many big plays. We have fallen a little short of being the group we desire to be, the dominant type of group in regards to some of our past performances or defenses.”
No time to evaluate: Don’t look for Tomlin to make mass substitutions to start to get a look at some young players and make evaluations. He made it clear that he will go with whoever gives the team the best chance to win at all times.
“There is no question about that,” said Tomlin in response to if that was his plan. “I didn’t lead any discussion in that direction at all.”