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Tomlin on the Packers

Posted Dec 22, 2013

Coach Mike Tomlin previews today's opponent

Coach Mike Tomlin takes a look at today’s opponent – the Green Bay Packers:

Q. The game today is at historic Lambeau Field. What are some of your experiences here, as the defensive coordinator for the Vikings?

A. I’ve been here quite a bit, going back to my days in Tampa when the Buccaneers were part of the old black-and-blue division. It is a historic place. It really is a place where you feel like you’re walking on hallowed ground, and I’m sure our guys are excited about playing here today.

Q. Is Green Bay a different team with Matt Flynn as the starting quarterback?

A. Not schematically. They do the same things offensively, their personality does not change, how they distribute the ball, the things they do situationally are the same. His play has been really solid of late. From a coach’s standpoint, from a preparation standpoint, they’re exactly the same.

Q. Flynn has impressive statistics, and when you look at it is it a case where in some instances the difference between a starting quarterback and a backup is not that great?

A. Sometimes it’s just about finding the right guy to fit what you want to do. What I know about Flynn, even back to his days at LSU, is that he’s a quick decision-maker and a highly accurate passer. Those are required to play in Mike McCarthy’s offense.

Q. What makes WR Jordy Nelson such an inviting target for whomever is the quarterback for the Packers?

A. He’s got a very balanced skill set. His a big guy, and he’s also a fast guy. He’s strong. He’s got good run-after the catch, he’s got strong hands. He’s tough to get on the ground. He’s a blend of a lot of things, but the same can be said for all of their receivers. They don’t have small guys or enormous guys. They have guys who have very balanced skill-sets.

Q. Is it any surprise that Eddie Lacy has adjusted to the NFL game so quickly?

A. I don’t think he’s a surprise at all. The running back position is usually one that lends itself to a quick transition for those who are quality players, and he is one.

Q. Do you concur with the opinion that the Steelers were more physical than the Bengals in that game last Sunday night?

A. That was our desire to be. They’re a talented team on both sides of the ball, and we felt like a winning edge for us was to control the line of scrimmage with our big people, and they did the job. Really, that was required. Cincinnati has a lot of talented people on the perimeter both offensively and defensively. Our big boys up front on both sides of the ball did a nice job.

Q. Were special teams the difference?

A. I think they were the catalyst for some things, but I also think we played good ball early on in all three phases. The offense produced seven points when they were presented the ball on short fields, and you have to do that. The defense won the third downs early in the football game on the Bengals’ side of the field to provide the offense with those short fields, and obviously the special teams provided the splash.

Q. You had said the special teams were close to breaking one. What went right on that 67-yard punt return by Antonio Brown against the Bengals?

A. Sometimes a strength can be a potential negative. They did a nice job of punting the football and gave us the ball in his hands plus some grass in which to operate. When you give him that, he has an opportunity to make something happen. He created some space for himself and broke through the first wave of people, and after that it was all academic.

Q. The offensive line kept Ben Roethlisberger clean. Who on that unit has stepped it up?

A. David DeCastro is playing really good football. He’s looking like the first rounder we drafted him to be, and it’s much appreciated. We’ve had some instability around him, with injuries at right tackle and center. He has been a constant, and so has his play.

Q. Was the decision to put LaMarr Woodley on injured reserve a difficult one?

A. No, not really, based on the information we had. He was already nursing one ailing calf, and then to injure the other one in a similar manner, he literally didn’t have a good leg to stand on.

Q. Defensive end Al Woods seemed to have a good game vs. the Bengals. What does he bring to the table?

A. Al is an enormous man with surprisingly good quickness. He has a tremendous physical skill-set. He’s developing more as a player. He’s developing more consistency in his techniques, and that’s happening because he’s had a chance to play more snaps. We expect that to continue.

Q. Does Shaun Suisham deserve some Pro Bowl consideration?

A. In my mind he does. He’s been ridiculously consistent for us all year regardless of circumstance. That 45-yard field goal he had into the open end at Heinz Field against the Bengals in some less than ideal weather conditions is indicative of how he’s played for us.

Q. What are the keys for the Steelers this afternoon?

A. For us the game comes down to several factors, and I think we’ve talked about it openly all week. Our ability to run the ball, and also our ability to stop the run; our ability to get yards after the catch, and our ability to tackle the catch. And we need to gain a possession or some points in special teams. When you’re playing a good team that’s fighting for a lot in their place, it’s pretty clear that you have to play well in all three phases.

 

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