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Tomlin on stacking, pregame, Luck


Q. Do you believe it's more difficult in the NFL to win a game the week after you win a game?**

A. I just think it's hard to win in general, and in particular to stack win after win. You're presented with unique challenges week in and week out, and everybody is chasing the same things, and there's great parity in today's NFL. I don't necessarily equate the difficulty of winning into what happened the week before. It's just the process of winning, and doing it consistently, is challenging for all of us.

Q. Do you think maybe that's a young team's characteristic, kind of like a student who gets a good grade on one test in a semester and then relaxes a bit and then the next test doesn't turn out so well?

A. I don't know that I buy into that. If there is an element of that, maybe it's because they think winning is easier than it actually is. The process in this league, week in and week out, is very difficult regardless of the record of the opponent you're playing. That's the reality of the thing.

Q. During the week leading up to a game, do you formulate a theory as to how the upcoming game is going to unfold?

A. I do.

Q. Do you share that with the team?

A. I do. I very rarely keep that a secret, because in my mind that's how the game has to unfold if it's going to unfold favorably for us. There are large theme items that are team items, there are smaller themed items that may be unit items, and then there might even be smaller themed items that might be position group or single player items. If it's significant in terms of how I think the game itself may unfold, I share it and share it big.

Q. After pregame warmups on game day, the team goes back into the locker room. Do you talk to the team then?

A. I talk to the team right before we take the field.

Q. What is the tone of that talk? Instructional? Inspirational?

A. Regardless of what it is – and it's different week to week depending upon the story line, or how the game needs to unfold, or the challenge itself – but it always is quick and to the point. The state of mind the players are in at that time, they're not going to hear a lot anyway, particularly a lot of detail. So it has to be broad brush strokes of things that are important, reinforcing what's been said earlier in the week, and most importantly, it has to happen quickly.

Q. Is that the last word? Anybody else talk?

A. The players break it down, and in the midst of that breakdown a veteran player may say something, and usually it piggybacks what I just said. And then we go play. It's different guys at different times. Early this year, it was Ike Taylor. In recent weeks with Ike being hurt, it's been Maurkice Pouncey. It was always James Farrior when he was here.

Q. Can you give us your general impression of the Indianapolis Colts?

A. They operate very efficiently. They possess the football. The most staggering statistic they have through seven games thus far is 37 minute per game in time of possession. That speaks to the good, quick decisions that Andrew Luck is making, that they're winning on third down, that they're converting in the red zone. They're a special offensive unit, and they're a special unit because of Andrew Luck.

Q. Does Luck have one special attribute?

A. Really, it's his overall well-rounded game. He's got no holes. He's got a strong arm, he can make all the throws on the field. He's got good legs and mobility. He can create as things break down. He's a good, quick and efficient decision-maker.


Q. With running back Trent Richardson questionable with a hamstring injury, what does Ahmad Bradshaw bring when he's on the field?**

A. He's a hard-nosed competitor. Anybody in this business, anybody who has been in this business, has a lot of respect for Ahmad Bradshaw and how he plays. He's one of the legitimate tough guys in the game. Not only is he running the ball well, but he's a big component of their passing game with six touchdown catches.

Q. What does tight end Coby Fleener bring to the Colts' offense?

A. He's one of those vertical-threat route-runners, and we haven't had great days against some of those guys, particularly in recent weeks. Greg Olsen of Carolina comes to mind, and Jordan Cameron of Cleveland. We have to do a good job of keeping him in front of us today.

Q. How have the Colts amassed 21 sacks?

A. They're ahead a lot. It's as simple as that. When you're ahead in football games, you can pin your ears back as teams get somewhat one-dimensional. Over the course of the Colts' five-game winning streak with their offense possessing the ball for an average of 37 minutes a game, the opposing offenses have been pressed into one-dimensional situations, and it provides a lot of opportunity for premium rushes.

Q. Could the outcome of this game come down to special teams?

A. I think we're going to need to gain a possession today on special teams. The thing we've been talking to the team about this week, and really in all three phases, is neutralizing the time of possession game. If we gain a possession on special teams, that helps us. If we get off the field on third down, that helps us. If we convert on third down, that helps us. At the end of the game, we can't look at 37 minutes of time of possession for Indy and 23 for us. If we do, this game is going to end in a similar manner as the previous five games have ended for them.

Q. What was your opinion of the play of Stephon Tuitt against the Texans?

A. Tuitt has done a nice job, and his workload has increased over the course of the season. He's getting better and better every week, and we need him to get better and better every week. We realize he's a young guy, but he's a young guy who needs to be a significant contributor to our efforts. Largely he has been moving in that direction since the beginning of the season.

Q. The NFL trading deadline is at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28. Do you expect the Steelers to be active?

A. We're open, but not necessarily active. It's prudent business to be open-minded about opportunities to improve your team, but we haven't had a lot of active thought or participation in that regard.

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