Tomlin knows takeaways will come

Through six games the Steelers defense is ranked number one overall in the NFL, but when it comes to turnovers it's the opposite end of the spectrum.

The Steelers are ranked last in the NFL in the takeaway/giveaway category with a minus 10, due in part to 12 turnovers by the offense and only two takeaways by the defense.  

"I can't pinpoint it, but what I can say is that you generally are opportunistic when you are on the minute details and you are playing extremely hard," said Coach Mike Tomlin of the low number of takeaways so far this season. "So that is all we are going to do. We are going to remain focused on the minute details of our assignment. We are going to try to play together within the scheme and we are going to play extremely hard."

LaMarr Woodley has the team's only interception, while Troy Polamalu has the only fumble recovery, which he returned for a touchdown against Indianapolis. The two takeaways are the fewest in the NFL.

"We think that those opportunities will increase as you do those things," said Tomlin. "That has always been my philosophy in regards to those types of plays, so I am not going to change in that regard. What we are not going to do is start taking calculated risks and doing things that are unsound in the effort to make those things happen.

"We are playing good defense. We just need some of those signature type plays that will make the ends of games more comfortable."

The Steelers have had a home-field advantage so far this year, winning all three games at Heinz Field. But on the road things have been tougher, with a 1-2 record after a win over Indianapolis and losses to Baltimore and Houston.

The goal is to get on track on the road this week against the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

"You acknowledge that playing on the road creates some things that you don't necessarily deal with at home, silent counts and so forth," said Tomlin. "That provides advantages for their defense, particularly with crowd noise. Whatever the elements are I am less concerned about that and more concerned about us putting together winning performances. It is a hostile environment. You don't have the support of your own crowd.

"I am just acknowledging that we have been below the line in many instances on the road and that needs to change."

Television cameras caught safety Troy Polamalu talking on a cell phone on the sidelines during the Steelers-Jaguars game, something that is against NFL rules.

The conversation had nothing to do with the game, though. Polamalu was talking to his wife Theodora after he suffered concussion-like symptoms in the game.

"He was talking to his wife," said Tomlin. "He has had a history of concussion-like symptoms in the past. She was concerned. In this era of player safety you would think that common sense would prevail in some of these things. It wasn't a personal call. He wasn't checking on his bank account. He was talking to his wife to let her know that he was fine and that was it. He borrowed a phone from a doctor."

The phone call could result in a fine for Polamalu, but the hope is it won't.

"I am not anticipating anything," said Tomlin. "Like I said, I would hope that common sense would prevail in this instance and in the era of player safety, such as we are in."

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