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Coach Tomlin on the Panthers

Coach Mike Tomlin takes a look at this week's opponent – the Carolina Panthers.

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Q. A Thursday night game in Week 16, is it a good thing or a bad thing?

A. It's a good thing when you get it in your rear view and you've done the job. You like to be the first in the clubhouse for the weekend with a win and that is what we focused on. We have a job to do. It was a tough week, but a tough week for both teams. From that standpoint the playing is level. We have to do the job tonight and tomorrow morning when we get out of bed hopefully it will be a positive thing.

Q. This is the fifth prime time performance for this club this season. Is that a good thing?

A. We embrace it. It's our desire to be a world championship caliber team. Quite frankly prime time television is something that comes with being those kinds of teams. We would probably be more concerned if we played 16 one o'clock than we would be if we had four or five prime-time games. We embrace that.

Q. The Panthers have had some trouble scoring points. What have you seen on the video?

A. They have had a revolving door at the quarterback position. Anytime you play the number of quarterbacks that they have played, and not only that with the lack of experience some of those guys have had you are going to have some volatility in terms of the outcome of performances. Jimmy Clausen is a very reputable young man, but he's a young man. Tony Pike has played for them some, Brian St. Pierre, Matt Moore. Anytime you're playing that number of quarterbacks, and trust me, we know from firsthand experience here with the 2010 Steelers that it can be trying, and it has been for them.

Q. Clausen did get his passer rating into triple-digits against Arizona just last week. How was he able to accomplish that?

A. It starts with the fact they were able to run the ball successfully. That two-headed monster they have at tailback they have in Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson carried the ball about 45 times between them, and both guys are averaging about 4.5 yards a carry between them over the course of the season. That's a great place to start in terms of providing a stable environment for a young quarterback to be successful, and they were able to put that formula together last week. We have to stop them from doing that tonight.

Q. How different as runners are Stewart and Goodson?

A. They are very different. Stewart is a complete package. He has vision and patience and power. He's a big man at 230 pounds, and he's capable of breaking a long run. Goodson is a speed merchant. He can get on the perimeter of your defense. He does run with great attitude, he does roll his pads forward to finish runs, but his distinguishing characteristic is his speed.

Q. And when they throw the football, is Steve Smith still Steve Smith?

A. He is just that. He's done a nice job of maintaining his composure through it all. A lot of times a guy of his stature, when he's dealing the with number of quarterbacks and the situation they've had to deal with, potentially he can get frustrated. To Steve Smith's credit, and to the Panthers' benefit, he has been rock solid for them.

Q. Is Jon Beason, the three-down linebacker, their top defensive player?

A. This guy plays every down. He's good against the run. He chases the ball extremely well. He's good in coverage. He's just a complete football player, like a Lawrence Timmons. When those guys both came out in the same draft, we were looking at both guys and for the same reasons: both guys are three-down linebackers, and sideline-to-sideline pursuers of the football, and they play with the kind of demeanor that you like at the linebacker position.

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