Head Coach Mike Tomlin December 11, 2008
Coach Mike Tomlin:Good afternoon. I thought we had a good practice today. By no means are we a finished product. We have a big game on Sunday of course and it is going to require preparation. I'll answer any questions.
What is your reaction to what Willie Parker had to say yesterday?
My thing, and hopefully everyone's thing is, the issue for us has been, is and hopefully will continue to be winning. That's my interpretation of Steelers football. Every morning when I come to work I walk past five Lombardi's, not five rushing titles. The issue is winning, so do we need to get better in terms of running the football? Absolutely. The reason is this, because it increases our chances of winning. So that is my response to it and he needs to be a little more careful with the things he says and how he says it because they can be misinterpreted as uninformed or selfish, of which he is neither. That is my response to those comments.
Did you talk to Parker?
I talked to the football team because again we are a 10-3 team, trying to be an 11-3 team and the issue and the singular focus that we should have is on winning.
Was it your concern that he said those things with a different goal?
Notice that I said they can be misinterpreted as uninformed or selfish, of which he is neither. My concern is that we remain singularly focused of what is in front of us this week and the job in front of us this week is to win.
How is the running game working with two tight ends and no tight end?
It was working pretty good last year when Parker was leading the league in rushing before he got hurt. It is not working as well right now, but we are in a better position that we were a year ago. The issue for us is winning and hopefully it is enough for us to win this weekend.
Update on Carey Davis.
He worked out a little bit today. We will see how he feels in response to that tomorrow, but it is going to be big tomorrow how he feels when he comes in here and if he is able to work tomorrow. So we will see. Everything to this point is encouraging.
Does Brett Keisel have a chance to tomorrow?
Very similar situation with him tomorrow, we will see. He had an extended workout today, felt good about it, we will see what the repercussions of that is in the morning and then make our decisions from there.
James Harrison - just a day off?
Yeah, he is a little sore today and we gave him the day off and hopefully he will be back at it again tomorrow. It definitely won't keep him from playing on Sunday.
Larry Foote said he would like to play more.
I'm not comparing or contrasting either statement. I'm not familiar with the statement that Larry made. He is a competitor. We appreciate that about him. We have a lot of competitors and a lot of guys that are capable and willing of putting their hand in the pile to help us win. Hopefully it was along those lines and I will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that it was.
*Big contributions from second-year guys, does that just come with giving him the opportunity?
We have put a lot of pressure on the guys and I think you have to. I think it is big. It has always been big with the people I have been around because nothing is new to them. They know the road that lies ahead and hopefully that helps them navigate the road that they are on. They have done a nice job, the guys that we have called upon, and really if you look across the board everybody has had their moments. Whether it is LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, Matt Spaeth, and now William Gay. They have all had their moments, they all delivered. We have some challenges that lie ahead and they have to continue to deliver. Some young guys have to act like second-year guys. We are liking some of the contributions that we are getting from Limas Sweed at this point. He is growing day-by-day. It is football. We're all in the process of evolving as a football team and we need to continue to do that. Some of those young guys have more ground to make up than others and are capable of getting better through the course of the season and we will expect them to continue to do that. I like the contributions that we got from second-year guys.
Does it take a rookie wide receiver a little longer to get the hang of things?
A lot of the times what happens in someone's rookie year us based on opportunity. It really is. If Limas was in another situation he might be getting an opportunity to play and might be playing well. That's why I am always hesitant to judge people based on rookie performances. Maybe a year ago people thought that LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons couldn't play. I don't know. It is about opportunity and because people get opportunities earlier in their career doesn't necessarily make or break their career. He happens to be a young guy that happens to be on a pretty good football team with some good veteran players at his position and he is having an opportunity to learn. Does he want to play, would he like to play and contribute more? I am sure, hopefully he does. But by no means is it a litmus of what his career is going to be.
*Marvel Smith said he feels better – are you hoping to have him back?
Absolutely. Marvel is a quality player and a quality person. We are going to need all of those that we can use down the stretch. So we are as hopeful as he is and then some.
Will Bryant McFadden start?
At this point he is running with our first unit. He played great football before he got injured. He missed six weeks. We acknowledged that he was missing some time. We saw what he is capable of doing. He played at a high level for us, which is what we expected, so we are moving on and he is back in the lineup.