Tomlin keeping message consistent


Q. Kansas City has the NFL's No. 1 red zone defense. When you're preparing to face a unit like that, are you more focused on their strengths in that situation or more focused on your own?**

A. It depends. There usually are circumstances within circumstances. First-and-10 or second-and-medium in the red zone are very different than third down within the red zone. So in some instances you are focused on what it is they do and do well and how you adjust to that. In other instances you're going to be you, and your personality is going to be dominant in the discussion, and you're less concerned about what it is they do.

Q. At your news conference on Tuesday, you answered, "Detail, detail, detail," to a question about how some of the young guys might make a case for playing time inside the stadium. Are you happy with what you saw during the week?

A. Both of those guys (Ryan Shazier and Shamarko Thomas) had good weeks, so we'll see.

Q. This week is somewhat unique, because the one-game-at-a-time mind-set meshes nicely with win-and-you're-in as far as the playoffs. Do you talk to the players specifically about that?

A. I don't think I've mentioned it one time to the football team this week. I don't have to. Everybody else in their life does. All I have to do is to continue to say the things I've been saying all year, which is we need to be singularly focused on this opportunity, and if we take care of business in our stadium, we get what we seek. My song and dance is not going to change. I realize what's being said around them, and I'm sure they realize what's being said around them. So there's really no need to change our song and dance at this point. The more we play, hopefully the more we're saying that.


Q. Are you aware when players are using your words in answering questions from the media? Does that indicate it's sinking in?**

A. It better. (Laughs). It's that time of year. It's a cumulative effect. That's one of the reasons why I try to deliver a consistent message to them, because what I'm trying to build is a culture within the group that's going to be a signature of this journey. Over the course of this journey they get a better understanding of what that vision is, and they get better and more consistent at making that vision a reality. Part of that is parroting some of the things I say and buying into it. Parroting is an example of buying into is. Consistent play also is. I think we're kind of getting all of that as we continue on this journey.

Q. What is your evaluation of Jamaal Charles' style of play?

A. He's a well-rounded football player. He can get you in the running game, or he can get you in the passing game. They get him out of the backfield quite a bit, much in the same way they did with Brian Westbrook when Andy Reid was in Philadelphia. Charles can score from a great distances, but he also can get the hard, dirty yards. I have a lot of respect for Jamaal Charles.


Q. How much of a factor was the contingent of Steelers fans who took over the Georgia Dome last week?**

A. I'll tell you what – it was encouraging, and it always it. We're continually amazed with the support we get on the road. It was such a strong support unit that when plays were getting reviewed, we couldn't tell the result of the plays because the crowd was erupting. Usually when you're on the road and the crowd erupts on a replay, it's bad news for you. Some of those instances it was good news for us, and that gives you an indication of the impact of that crowd.

Q. Looking back on it, was the pick-six by Will Gay the biggest play in that win over the Falcons?

A. It was significant. You're starting to feel a little uneasy because we had been moving the ball and controlling the game but we were only kicking field goals. You know one play can change that. It did vs. New Orleans. We dominated the game in the early stages against New Orleans in a similar way, but we were only kicking field goals. So, that interception was a significant play because it cemented early dominance of the football game.

Q. Has Gay developed into one of your leaders?

A. He doesn't have much to say, but if the young guys watch what he does and how he does it they can learn a lot. He's a professional. He's highly detailed in his preparation, and ultimately it shows up in his play. He thinks of his teammates first, a teammate-first type of a guy. There are a lot of hardcore leadership qualities that he displays.

Q. Antonio Brown returned a punt for 31 yards last week, and it seems as though Markus Wheaton has a knack for returning kickoffs. Is the return game getting to where you want it to be?

A. We're not going to settle. We need to get somebody, or two people, in the end zone. We've been close. On the 31-yard return Antonio had, if we could've gotten one last block out in front of him – instead of behind him – he's probably going to score. It's about the education of young players. We had a guy in position to make the block, but he blocked somebody behind the returner instead of somebody who was ahead of the returner. We just seek perfection. We acknowledge we're getting better – and we have to.

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