Tomlin on the Bears


Coach Mike Tomlin offers some insight on the Steelers' opponent this week – the Chicago Bears.

Q. Can your team take advantage of the absence of Bears All-Pro middle linebacker Brian Urlacher?

A. Potentially, but he's being replaced by a veteran player in Hunter Hillenmeyer, who has been in that system for seven years and was drafted to play in that system. I wouldn't imagine from an assignment standpoint that he would be out of place. Maybe he won't be able to do some of the freakish things that a guy like Urlacher is capable of doing, but the reality is we have to take advantage of what the defense gives us. We have to create opportunities for ourselves, and once the ball is snapped we won't be concerned about the presence or the lack of presence of Urlacher.

Q. The Steelers have had a lot of success recently with the no-huddle offense – both against Tennessee and even going back to Super Bowl XLIII. Do you ever consider making that the staple of your offense?

A. Here's the thing: it's a lot more difficult to execute in hostile environments than it is at home, and let's face it, Raymond James Stadium was like a home game for us. The reality is that the pre-snap communication that's needed to run the no-huddle consistently at times is difficult on the road.

Q. With Urlacher on the sidelines, who is the Bears' go-to playmaker on defense?

A. Even with Urlacher in there, defensive end Adawale Ogunleye is a dominant, dominant player. He's a captain for them, along with Urlacher, and he's the bell-cow for them up front. They have a quality guy in Tommie Harris, and Lance Briggs is awesome at linebacker. They have some guys who know how to play – some Pro Bowl caliber guys – and I'm sure they're anxious for the opportunity to step up.

Q. Why do you think quarterback Jay Cutler is such a valued commodity at his position?

A. He has all the talent in the world, and by that I mean he has a strong arm, he has the potential to be accurate, he has escapability, he's mobile, and he's a smart guy. I think those are the things that attracted Denver to him when they drafted him and attracted the Bears to him subsequently.

Q. The Steelers are 1-11 against the Bears in Chicago. As a coach, do you refer to that and try to use that as a motivational tool?

A. It's really irrelevant as we are getting ready to play the game, but in instances where it's helpful to me I use those things as motivation. I happened to do that this week. The reality is that some of that stuff is ancient history, it's George Halas. But if I can light a fire under our football team, so be it.

Q. The Bears have a very talented and productive running back in Matt Forte. Who does he remind you of as a player?

A. He reminds me of a young Deuce McAllister. He does a lot of things well. He's about 220 pounds, he has better speed than you think and he has better power than you think. He led them in receptions last year, so he's good in the passing game. He's an overall complete back. He's got good vision and patience. When I think of recent times, he reminds me of a young Deuce McAllister.

Q. What do the coverage teams have to do to contain Devin Hester?

A. It's going to be an 11-man job, and the first guy is going to be the one who kicks the football. We have to be very deliberate where we place the ball, hopefully we put it in a position where we can cut the field off and reduce the amount of grass we have to cover. But the reality is that guys have to maintain lane-integrity, they have to pursue the football, they have to whip blocks and make tackles.

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