STEELERS HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN OCTOBER 2, 2008
Pretty good practice for a Thursday. I'll take any questions.
Re: Ben Roethlisberger's health:
He felt a little better today. In a nutshell he wasn't quite well enough to go, so it was another opportunity for Byron Leftwich to get some reps and we proceeded on.
Will Roethlisberger play in the game?
Like in recent weeks I think he's going to be fine, but we have all of the confidence in the work of Byron Leftwich if that should happen as well.
Playing that team twice late last year helps, right?
I imagine it does but we are a different team than we were a year ago. They are a different team than they were a year ago. Personnel-wise, Greg Williams is there as a defensive coordinator. You have to acknowledge that. So there are some things that are new and different from a quarterback standpoint in terms of preparing for Jacksonville.
Have you set the rotation at running back and who will start?
Mewelde Moore will start. But we are prepared to be a running back by committee if you will. You know the contributors.
What is the biggest difference in their defense this year with the addition of Gregg Williams?
Not quite as much blitzing as last year, as potentially they are capable of doing that this year. I think that everybody in the league knows Greg's personality and what he is capable of. But the nuts and bolts of the personality of that defense and really that football team remain the same under Coach Del Rio.
Re: Guard situation:
Right now Darnell (Stapleton) is getting more snaps than Trai (Essex). He's got more recent history in the position in terms of practice. Trai has been concentrating quite a bit on swing tackle. But both guys will work and we haven't made a final decision there. We really don't have to until Sunday night.
Re: Nick Eason's health:
It's not looking good for him this week. We'll see but it hasn't gotten any better pushing him toward game readiness. We are hopeful but that is where we are with him right now.
What happens if Eason can't go?
We are going to have to mix and match a little bit. We will get somebody in there. I promise you that.
Re: Carey Davis:
Same probably as Nick. We are hopeful but we don't have any evidence that he will be prepared to play, such is life.
Roethlisberger – carry over from shoulder sprain?
Yes. It is the same situation that he has been dealing with. It got better last week and was able to practice Thursday. He wasn't able to practice this Thursday. Is that any indication of where it is? Probably not. It is just a great opportunity for Byron (Leftwich) to get some snaps and drive the bus.
How did Andre Frazier look today?
He practiced and participated and again it was a non-padded practice, which lended to him getting back out there. We will continue to evaluate him as we proceed into the week and make that decision in terms of his capabilities to participate a little bit later on. Better than yesterday and it was good to see.
Did he take the necessary tests, including the impact test?
He did, but we will do that again and as often times as we need to do it prior to kickoff. His health is first and foremost.
How game-ready is Najeh Davenport?
We are taking that day by day. We are talking about a guy that has been out of football, that hadn't been at training camp. He is in pretty good physical condition, but we all know there is a difference between physical condition and football condition. So we will continue to work with him. He has been diligent in how he has prepared himself, but he is hurrying up to catch up.
Is Bryant McFadden starting?
He is a starter and Deshea (Townsend) is healthy enough to play, we will say that. If we start putting the percentages on where he is, I am not willing to do that. It really doesn't matter if he is out there playing. The standard of expectation is what it is, but right now, Bryant McFadden is the starter at left corner.