Tomlin - 11-13

HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN NOVEMBER 13. 2008

 Coach Tomlin: Good days work today. Look forward to getting out there again tomorrow and putting the finishing touches on our plan, specifically some situational football. I'll answer any questions.

How did Woodley look?
I thought he looked good. We will see how he feels in the morning and then proceed from there. But based on how he did today, I feel good about it.
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Re: Marvel Smith not practicing

It just hasn't happened. So we will continue to proceed on the direction that we have been proceeding, which is pushing toward his health.

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Is Marvel Smith in danger of not coming back?
Not at this point. No.

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How is Fernando Bryant?
In terms of what we expect to get from him, that is to be determined. Of course he is working extremely hard to get up to speed and understand what it is we do and the intricate details that are required to play winter football. That's a lot to take, given the complexity of our defense, but he is a veteran player and that is one of the things that attracted him to us. He is doing a nice job of that. These next 48 hours are going to be critical in terms of deciding his role and what he is capable of doing for us. So far so good, but we are going to need every one of those 48 hours.

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Will he be playing special teams?
This guy started a lot in this league so he hasn't played a bunch of special teams. We were out there practicing yesterday and I asked him when was the last time he did that in a football game and he said the late 90's in Tuscaloosa. So, not much special teams experience but he is willing. 

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Will you do that to dress him?
We didn't bring him in to be a special teams standout. This guy is a veteran defensive football player who started over 100 games or so in this league. We brought him here to help us on defense.  Whatever he gives us in special teams is what he gives us. 

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Any concerns with William Gay starting?
Not concerned. Excited. I was talking to the team this morning and we have a bunch of second-year players having opportunities to step up and deliver for us. LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, Matt Spaeth stepped up and started for us at tight end. It is just his turn and we have put a lot of pressure on our second year players, second lap around the track if you will, to step up and be big time contributors. It's opportunities and usually that us the case, someone else's misfortune is someone's opportunity. We are excited for him, the standard is the standard and we look forward to him meeting it. 

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Will he have his special teams duties still?
We are going to supplement him of course. When you are talking about playing 60 snaps of defense it is tough to be a fourth-phase special teams guy. We are mixing a matching a little bit to cover him up in those areas.

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Will he go into the slot?

That is to be determined. We have some options at that position.

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If Parker starts, will Mewelde Moore return kicks?
That is to be determined as well.

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Comment on Ben Roethlisberger being excited to be out there practicing:
Practice is a good thing.

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What element does Willie Parker bring?
A lot of times people associated him with his best attribute, which is his speed, but the thing that jumps out to me when I think about Willie Parker is that he is a tremendous competitor and he is physically and mentally tough.

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Any thoughts on the league talking about letting coaches challenge more penalties?
I don't know anything about that. I haven't been following that news story at all.

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How is Justin Hartwig playing?
I think Justin is doing an awesome job. He has been rock solid for us. Each week he has gotten better and communicating with his fellow lineman. But the physical matchup standpoint he has represented himself well. Now that being said, this is a tall task knocking heads with Jamal Williams. Very few people block him one-on-one and we won't ask Justin to do a bunch of that. He is going to have help from people like everybody else that plays Jamal Williams.

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