STEELERS HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN OCTOBER 22. 2008
Coach Mike Tomlin:It was a good start to our week; of course it wasn't perfect but we don't have to be perfect today. We got started and we got things done; hopefully we will have a better day tomorrow.
Where was Brett Keisel today?
Keisel, Aaron Smith and Najeh Davenport all missed practice today for non-football related football issues that are personal.
Can you discuss your meeting today with Ray Anderson?
I thought that it was very valuable. I spoke with those guys at the league office last week; they expressed interest in coming in here and talking frankly about some of the things that have gone on. We were open to that and they were open to it so we did that today with the people that were directly involved. It was productive; our issues and concerns were heard. They expressed their sentiments on the issue and really I think that it was important to have that. I think that is the start to laying this thing to bed and moving on and focusing on what we should focus on – playing football games. This week we have the New York Giants.
What specific players were in the meeting?
I don't want to get into who specifically was in the meeting. What I will say is there was some guys who were directly involved, and some guys who we think provide key leadership. Again, we didn't want to involve everyone in that meeting quite frankly because it is Wednesday and we are preparing for the Giants. The people who had some direct questions and the people who had an opportunity to express their views on some things were given that opportunity. It was a nice exchange of frank feelings of where we are. I think that it provides closure for us to be quite honest with you. We can get back to being focused on what we need to be focused on.
Do you think that the meeting was intended to get your guys to stop saying things that the league didn't like?
No, I didn't get that feeling. I think that it is natural to have that feeling as they come on. That wasn't the nature of it. Really, it was just an opportunity, a venue if you will, for those guys to express concerns; for me to express concerns; for them to state their position on issues, and again, move toward closure. I think that we did that today.
Can you update any of the guys coming off of injury?
Casey (Hampton) looks to be pretty good; of course we will continue to watch him as he moves toward Sunday, as we will with Willie (Parker). Marvel (Smith) wasn't well enough to practice today. We will see where he is tomorrow.
What about Deshea Townsend not practicing today?
Deshea was a coaches' decision. He falls into the Hines Ward category; he is 30-plus and we are trying to keep him squared away.
Troy (Polamalu) must have passed that test since he practiced today?
Yes, today was a good day but we will continue to take him day-to-day. His health and safety are first and foremost. Like I said yesterday, those decisions will be easy; we will defer to the professionals on our medical team.
*Will he get tested again?
I am certain that he will. When, and how many times, I do not know, but I am certain that he will be tested again.
What do the Giants do so well in pass protection?
They work well collectively. They do not turn people free; if they do it is because you outnumber them. Eli (Manning) does a nice job of moving within the pocket; he can drift away from unblocked people and deliver the ball; he can step up from edge pressure into the pocket and deliver the ball with a great deal of accuracy. It is a combination of their ability to work together as a unit, pick up people, and his ability to move around the pocket and get the ball out of his hands. They are special in that way; they have given up six sacks in six games. That speaks for itself.
Re: A competition of sacks between the two teams?
We are not going to be consumed by that subplot. The goal for us is to win the game. If we win the game and have no sacks then great. I would rather win the game and have none then lose the game and have 10.
Are you concerned that Marvel's injury could be long-term?
I am really just following what the doctors tell us and how he feels. I am not in the frame of mind where I am viewing this as long-term. We are just living day-to-day with this and we will see where we are tomorrow.
Will you guys be doing anything extra to try to tackle Brandon Jacobs?
It is obvious that most low people saw him down; that is how you get him on the ground. When you don't, he generally runs over you. You will probably see us using those same tackling techniques just like everybody else has since 2005 when he came into the league.