Coach Mike Tomlin talks about the Steelers' second preseason game, tonight against the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field:
Q. Now that you have a preseason game under your belt, do the evaluations become a little less forgiving than they may have been with the preseason opener?
A. Certainly will. It's just the nature of this thing. We're looking for significant growth, both individually and collectively, in all areas. Execution of work, quality of detail, overall display of physical conditioning – all of that is important. You have an opportunity to grow in your second time out, and we're just looking for everybody to play a better quality brand of football.
Q. With Isaac Redman out tonight, how will the running back rotation shake out?
A. It's going to start with Jonathan Dwyer. Baron Batch will be available to us. Chris Rainey is going to run the ball some. We picked up another man here earlier this week – Jason Ford – and we're interested in seeing what he is capable of doing. We're going to spread the ball around and let those guys do their thing.
Q. What has Ford showed on the practice field?
A. Very little to this point. That's why this is so interesting and exciting. He's a thick-bodied young man who comes from Illinois and he has a nice looking run demeanor. I'll be interested to see what his playing personality is like.
Q. Are you going to have some shifting along the offensive line for this game?
A. We're going to play Marcus Gilbert at left tackle, and we're going to play Ramon Foster at right tackle. That's due to circumstance, but also because we legitimately value position flexibility. Those guys have shown themselves to be very flexible in the time they've been here. Marcus is a capable left and right tackle, and Ramon has played just about all over.
Q. Will you rule out either Max Starks or Mike Adams for this game?
A. No, I would not rule them out. Not at all, actually. They have come back and worked extremely hard this week and represented themselves well. We may give them a snap or two against the Colts to show that.
Q. For some of these young players, Sunday night against the Colts will be their first experience playing in front of Steelers Nation. Do you think that might open up their eyes a little bit?
A. It'll open some eyes, and probably wet a few legs. That's part of it. Sometimes the stage is a little big for them, but such is life. That's what makes the preseason so fun and exciting. You see the range of emotions and readiness among the men, and the big thing is that you encourage them and try to help them through some of the tough moments.
Q. Jerrod Johnson got a lot of playing time as the third quarterback in the preseason opener. Is that the plan again for this game?
A. If the snaps are there for him. Obviously we want to work our first wave of terror, if you will, with Ben, and then we're going to move on to Charlie Batch. Whatever snaps might remain after that, we're going to provide them for Jerrod at the end.
Q. Is Chris Rainey developing into your third-down back?
A. He's a candidate, and a strong candidate. We like the body of work he has put together so far, but we're just at the turn in terms of developing as a team and etching our roles. No question he has himself in a good position in that regard, but I'm interested in seeing what he does during the rest of this month.
Q. What did Rainey show you on that 57-yard touchdown on a screen pass against the Eagles?
A. He showed what he has shown us all along – that if he gets some open grass, he's a tough guy to deal with. We like having weapons like that.
Q. What has Chris Carter showed you?
A. He's very quick, and he has always been that. He has done a nice job of developing himself from a strength standpoint, a functional strength. He has been good at the point of attack. He has been good against the run so far. He is representing himself very well in that area, and that has been an are of improvement for him.
Q. Has anybody surprised you during this training camp?
A. I can't tell you that I've been blown over by anything thus far. The longer I'm on this job, I kind of get a sense of how things are going to develop, and I can pretty much anticipate things. The longer I do it, the fewer surprises there are.