HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN Tuesday, August 5
Coach Mike Tomlin:I thought that we had another spirited practice this afternoon; kind of the ebb and flow of training camp and that is one of the points that I tried to make to the team. We have talked about being opportunistic on defense and catching balls, so that is a good sign. At the same time, we cannot be as careless with the football on offense at the quarterback position, particularly some of the young men. Sometimes those things show when you have a guy like number 7 (Ben Roethlisberger) that was limited this afternoon and guys step up in some of the competition that they face. Four interceptions at practice is unacceptable but at the same time I am excited about what we saw from the defensive standpoint because we had opportunities and we cashed in on it. I thought that the goal-line drill was much better; it was spirited. I thought that number 68 (Chris Kemoeatu)had something to do with that. But it was a good drill. Quickly giving a rundown of injuries: William Gay continues to have a groin injury; Deshea (Townsend) is day-to-day with his groin problem, we expect him back tomorrow; Anthony Trucks lower back, we expect him back tomorrow; Anthony Smith, we will still wait and see with him; Ben of course is practicing on a limited basis until he can get his groin injury under control. Everyone else is status quo.
You mentioned Kemoeatu, but how about Willie Parker?
Thirty-nine is a guy who could potentially be a guy in that area; we'll see. He had a nice run.
What did you think about Rashard Mendenhall's second time through the goal-line?
I thought that it was better. He was downhill. He went in standing up one time but it is a unit thing and I think that Chris' (Kemoeatu) presence was a difference for us.
Why is that?
We pulled him. It is what he is; he is a road grader. He is a violent run blocker and we ran behind him.
You also had the three tight end look in there too, right?
It is something that we are exploring, ways of getting big people to the perimeter and making people defend more gaps. That is part of our football (team) and we feel that we have quality tight ends working so it is something that we will take a look at.
What are you looking for in the first preseason game?
That we play hard, that we play fast, that we finish and that we play together. It is not going to be perfect from an assignment standpoint but it is a window into the personnel of our football team and that is what I am looking for. I am looking for guys to get after it.
Will Ben play Friday?
Where is Jordan Reffett?
His wife had a baby. He is in transit so we excused him because that is a legitimate excuse I think.
Did you cross that threshold you approached yesterday?
I think that we did but it is easy to come out here and compete when you know that you have a goal-line at the end. We'll see what the dog days are like tomorrow when there is a less attractive drill at the end of practice.
You talked about the offense improving but the defense still held its ground. You have to be proud of that?
Absolutely. It is an attitude drill and we have some linebackers running down hill and we have some violent combat at holes. That is what training camp is all about. The only way that we are going to be where we need to be is iron-on-iron. Iron makes iron sharp and I like the way that these guys are competing.
Can you talk about Dennis Dixon playing other positions?
We haven't explored the idea of playing him outside of the quarterback position. I think that the quarterback position is quite enough for him right now. He is doing some nice things and showing some improvements. I thought he took a step back today because he didn't take care of the football; that is unacceptable.