Coach Mike Tomlin takes a look at today’s opponent – the New York Jets:
Q. How would you evaluate Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith?
A. He’s a very even-keeled personality type. That lends itself to being able to ride the roller coaster that can be that position, particularly at a young age. He has done a nice job of managing it. I’m not surprised by that, and I’m sure the Jets are excited about the direction in which he and they are going.
Q. What dimension does Mike Goodson bring to the Jets running game?
A. He’s a Mr. Outside. Bilal Powell is a nice one-cut, deliberate, interior runner who finishes and works hard. Goodson has been a nice supplemental runner everywhere he has been – Carolina, Oakland – a guy who’s quick to the perimeter, a guy who’s dangerous in the passing game. He’s someone who needs to be contended with in sub-package football.
Q. What has Willie Colon added to their offensive line?
A. He has been Willie. He’s consistently physical. He has the proper play demeanor, and he appears to be a catalyst for that unit in terms of emotion. You see a lot of communication flowing through him, as it should be, because Willie is a solid veteran player. It looks like he’s playing good football.
Q. Would you characterize the Jets’ offense as tight end-oriented?
A. It is, but it also goes beyond that. They have a myriad of things to keep you off balance, and they do it thoughtfully. They have some wildcat, some pistol, they have screens to just about everyone – wide receivers, tight ends, running backs. One of the unique things about their offense is their tight ends are very much a part of their vertical passing game, particularly last Monday night vs. Atlanta.
Q. Is the Jets’ defense primarily a pressure defense?
A. They can be. That is their desire, but they’re also capable of dropping and covering, and they’re willing to do that, too.
Q. Who is their best defensive player?
A. It’s (linebacker) David Harris. He’s a guy for all situations for them, their man in the middle. If you look at them structurally and equate it to other Rex Ryan defenses, he’s Ray Lewis. There are no packages that Harris is not in. He covers, blitzes, he stops the run. He’s a really good solid football player and the center of their defense.
Q. How would you evaluate the Jets’ special teams?
A. They have a small and fast unit. It’s highlighted by defensive backs in the interior running down to cover kickoffs. We’re going to match their speed with some of our own. We’re going to have some guys suited today like
Q. During the bye week, did you ever take the time to reflect on what it’s like to be coaching a team with no takeaways through four games of the season?
A. Depending on how you look at it, I’ve been in this business long enough to have experienced just about everything. Unfortunately, I’ve had turnover droughts before and have had pockets before where we’ve turned the ball over quite a bit. The big thing is that the answers are in the fundamentals, and we had a good fundamental week-and-a-half.
Q. Looking back on the game vs. Minnesota, was the primary issue the tackling?
A. It was. Not taking anything away from the Vikings – and I always want to be one who recognizes quality play and Adrian Peterson is a special guy and had a lot to do with our poor tackling – but we take ownership and responsibility of the way we play, and tackling was an element of some of their big plays.
Q. What was the coaching staff’s primary focus during the bye week?
A. Just to get better, and not only in terms of individual skill development, but we’re willing to look at all components of it and look at the utilization of people and the movement of people. We’re willing to turn over every stone necessary to try to win this football game.
Q. You made three personnel moves over the week-plus of the bye. It started with the trade for
A. Those guys are going to be given an opportunity to contribute in some form or fashion. Their overall game readiness is going to have some bearing on that. Some guys are presented with an opportunity due to circumstance or poor performance, and some guys are presented with an opportunity due to injury. It doesn’t really matter. The great thing about it is we have a level of familiarity with these guys. They’re all stand-up, capable, tested football players.
A. He needs to go through a process. Sometimes in football – and in life, really – it’s not about what happens to you, it’s about how you respond to it. He’s been put down, he’s been challenged to get better fundamentally and become more consistent, and I like his initial response to it. But it’s going to be something that’s done over an extended period of time. We’re going to leave the light on for him and provide him an opportunity to reclaim a position, but it’s not going to be something that’s microwaved. It’s going to be something that requires tedious repetition.
Q. What did Cam Heyward show you to get himself promoted to the starting lineup?
A. He just has been playing at a high level. It’s not taking anything away from
Q. What are the keys for the Steelers today?
A. It’s simple. We have to win the turnover battle. And we have to have unwavering belief in the midst of the adversity that happens in every football game. Sometimes when you’re 0-4, you’re capable of wearing adversity differently. We can’t wear it differently. We can’t carry bags into the stadium. Regardless of what happens, you recognize there’s going to be a little bit of adversity in 60 minute football games.