HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLINMonday, July 28
Coach Mike Tomlin: We had a very productive start today. I think the excellent condition of the football team showed up. I liked the way the guys ran on both sides of the ball. I liked the way they finished. That's always a great start. It's far from perfection, but that is what day one is about. There was great enthusiasm, great communication. Guys were verbal today. Overall there was good hustle.
Casey (Hampton) was working by himself today. Is he doing what you expected him to do?
We have a plan that we feel can get him back to getting right, provided that he does it right. That is what we are in the process of doing.
Some of the offensive guys were not happy with their individual performance. How would you assess them?
At this time of year you are always going to be less than satisfied with your performance. If you were ready to go this wouldn't be a necessity. We are not going to be perfect and some of the things that we stressed today did not have to deal with perfection. It was about communicating, it was about hustling and it was about finishing. I was pleased from that standpoint. Assignment-wise and execution-wise we are miles away, but so is everybody that we are competing against at this time of year.
Rashard Mendenhall and James Harrison looked great in the backs-on-backers drill. Can you talk about them?
Well, I am not going to pat them on the back just yet. The guys were probably being a little nice to him since it was day one and he is new to the drill. He did give a good representation of himself. He is a competitor and we are expecting great things from him. When James doesn't want to be blocked, it is very difficult to block him. He is a Pro Bowl player for a reason.
Can you talk about if you are more comfortable out there?
I was comfortable last year. I am not going to make more out of it than what it is. Last year, executing this plan, it was only a plan in my mind. As I stand here today I have tangible evidence of the things and approaches of the way I want to do things. Does it make it more comfortable, yes. But it is similar.
Is Troy Polamalu's injury a little bit more serious than you thought?
No, there is no hidden story there. He has a mild hamstring. He did it later in summer trying to train for camp. Of course he was well enough to run the conditioning test, but that didn't include changes of direction and some of the short bursts that we all know he is capable of. We are going to deal with a little short-term misery to allow him to be well. That is what we are in the process of doing.
Any injuries today?
We have a few minor things today. Brian McFadden wasn't able to finish because of a groin, as was Anthony Smith. We will see where those guys are at in the morning, but you can categorize it as day-by-day at this point. Kevin Marion had a knee sprain of some kind. We will have more information on him and everybody else is status quo.
Where does Chris Kemoeatu stand at this point?
He is in a similar situation. He has mild weakness in his triceps. We will give him a few days and when he shows that he is ready to go, then we will let him go. It is a very similar situation to Troy in that he sustained the injury at the end of summer preparing for training camp.
Both of those guys might practice later this week then?
I am not going to speculate. I will just field questions on a daily basis until they do.
Are Andre Frazier and Dallas Baker guys whom nobody is talking about, and could move up?
One thing about those two guys is that they will not be surprises to anybody in this organization because they work at it and they get at it. I hope that it pans out for them right here inside the white lines because ultimately that is what counts.
Can you talk about Trai (Essex) today and his performance with the top unit?
Trai stepped in and he came here in excellent shape. He is a veteran player who came in great shape, he ran well and an opportunity presented itself to give him some reps with the first unit at left guard. I thought that he took advantage of it and did well in the one-on-one drills, but I will have to look at the tape in great detail to get a grade on his performance. We threw a bone to a man who came in great shape and ran well.
Lamarr (Woodley) and Max (Starks) were going hard after each other. Were those two guys who you were trying to get some consistency out of?
I am trying to get consistency out of 81 guys; wish me good luck with that. That is what we are here for and that is what training camp is about. Those two guys were in a great frame of mind to come here and do what it is we came to do. There will be more of that with other people.