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Tomlin on the Ravens

Posted Dec 2, 2012

Coach Mike Tomlin takes a look at this week’s opponent – the Baltimore Ravens:

Q. Over the course of this week, did you find yourself walking a fine line between addressing the fumbles and working to correct things while stopping short of getting it into the running backs’ heads?

A. I’m not concerned about the negative vibe. Obviously, it was an issue for us a week ago, and issues need to be addressed. We just got back to work and talked about the basic fundamentals of ball security. They executed it, and it better pay off for us today.

Q. Does Charlie Batch have to pick up his game for the Steelers to defeat the Ravens?

A. He does. He needs to be better than he was a week ago, but you can say the same about all of us, me included. It wasn’t a winning performance for us, but today is a new day and we’re excited about the opportunity in front of us, and we expect him to deliver.

Q. Have you ever seen a team go from even in turnover ratio to minus-10 in two games?

A. I probably have. Fortunately or unfortunately enough, I have been in this league long enough to see about anything. I probably have experienced that before, unfortunately.

Q. And the team still had a chance to win both games – at home against the Ravens and then at Cleveland. Is that unusual?

A. That just speaks to what we’re capable of. When you’re in the negative on the turnover ratio the way we are and to still be competitive and to still to be in football games, it shows you the character of the unit. But at the same time, we’re not in this thing for moral victories. We’re in this thing for results, and so we need to secure the football and we need to secure victory as well.

Q. How did rookie Kelvin Beachum fare last week at right tackle after Mike Adams was injured?

A. I was pleased with his performance. He’s a sharp young man. He’s competitive, He doesn’t shy away from opportunities or challenges, and that’s a good recipe to work with. Obviously he’s got a big challenge today, but he’s a young man I know is excited about meeting that challenge, and I know it won’t be too big for him.

Q. To give Beachum some help against the Ravens, does that take a variety of Xs and Os?

A. Certainly it does, and from a variety of ways. Tight end body position, of course, running back chipping, using formations to disrupt edge rushers. We’ll utilize a variety of tools to help him, but at the end of the day it’s going to be about him blocking the likes of Terrell Suggs and Paul Kruger. That’s just football.

Q. Is James Harrison looking more like the James Harrison of old?

A. He is, and with each passing week he’s getting more and more up to speed, not only in his play but also in his demeanor. He’s an energy-bringer, a source of inspiration for our guys, and he’s delivering quality plays to go along with it.

Q. Two weeks ago, the Steelers defense held Ray Rice to 40 yards rushing. Do you have to get that kind of performance again today to win this game?

A. Not specifically that number, but we have to render their running game ineffective. That’s what we did a couple of weeks ago. It gave us a chance to win despite some other circumstances. We need that again today.

Q. Last week, the Ravens won a game in San Diego because they were able to convert a fourth-and-29. What did that play tell you?

A. It tells you that football can be miserable at times, or exciting at times, depending upon which sideline you’re on. That was a tough play for the people in San Diego and an inspiring play for the people in Baltimore. That’s why they play the game. That’s what makes it interesting. That’s what makes this the greatest game in the world.

Q. How much action do you expect Troy Polamalu to see today?

A. We’re going to play him significantly. Obviously we’re going to count his reps because we don’t want fatigue to set in, but he’s ready to go. He had a good week of practice, and we’re excited about what No. 43 can bring to us.

Q. Will Antonio Brown see any action on special teams?

A. We’re going to allow him to return some punts, and maybe even a kickoff. He’s healthy and ready to go. We realize he’s a guy who can help us in two phases of our football team so we’re going to utilize him.

Q. Is it possible that Plaxico Burress will be a go-to option in the red zone today?

A. Absolutely. He has had another good week of work, he has had another week of exposure to our system of football. He has done a nice job not only in learning what to do but also fitting in with the group. Hopefully, he will be a weapon for us today.

Q. What are the keys to this game for the Steelers?

A. We can’t beat ourselves, particularly in the manner in which we did a week ago in Cleveland. We have to take care of the football. We can’t be highly penalized. And we have to win situational football. We’re talking about a Ravens team that’s No. 1 in the NFL in red zone defense and highly ranked in red zone offense. That results in points. We have to win that element of it so that it’s a winning edge for us in this game.