Coach Mike Tomlin offers some insight on the Steelers' opponent this week – the Denver Broncos.
Q. Was the decision about Ryan Clark not playing in Denver a mutual one?
A. I told Ryan I wasn't going to allow him to play, and he was OK with that. I think it was the appropriate thing to do in this situation. I didn't want to be worried about his physical well-being, and I know his teammates would be, plus his wife and family. By not allowing him to play, I think we all can be singularly focused on what we came to Denver to do, which is win a football game.
Q. How did he take the news?
A. He's fine. Ryan is a professional. He's a team guy, and I think he respected the decision. I think he's in agreement with it, as far as my reasoning. It's one of 16. Someone else will have an opportunity to step forward and deliver, and the standard is the standard.
Q. How will his absence affect the safety rotation?
A. It's really similar to how we handled Troy when he was down. You're going to see some Tyrone Carter, you're going to see some Ryan Mundy. Those guys collectively do a nice job, and there's a reason why we share the workload when we start replacing guys, because those guys also have their full complement of special teams duty. They can play defensive snaps, handle their special teams work and hopefully we won't miss a beat.
Q. How will Travis Kirschke's absence affect the defensive end rotation?
A. We're getting thin at that spot, but that's OK. Nick Eason is a capable man as is Ziggy Hood. Ziggy Hood is going to back up at both sides, right and left, which he has been doing. This will be his first opportunity to do it extensively in a football game. It's a big night for a young guy, a young guy with a lot of talent, and hopefully he provides some quality play for us.
Q. The Broncos are plus-12 in sacks and plus-six in turnover ratio. How did they get so good so quickly?
A. Their offense operates on the basis of efficiency, and Kyle Orton does a nice job of administering that element of their game. That follows Josh McDaniels all the way to New England in terms of that efficiency. Defensively, they're build for disruption. They have a myriad of looks, and they bring people from a variety of places. A guy like Elvis Dumervil with 10 sacks, he comes from the right, he comes from the left, he stands up. They do a nice job of making it difficult to decipher when and from where they're coming.
Q. Is Dumervil similar to Dwight Freeney of the Colts?
A. I've received a few of those questions, but I wouldn't make that comparison. He is a skilled, technical rusher whose game is based on quickness, and I see Freeney as more of a power player who happens to be quick and athletic, similar to a James Harrison.
Q. Kyle Orton has thrown nine touchdown passes and only one interception. Is he that much better than he was in Chicago?
A. I think he is, but I also want to give credit to what they do schematically. They do a nice job of keeping him out of harm's way, by mixing a nice, solid run game with some perimeter passing. Wide receiver screens, running back screens, misdirection passing – some high percentage things that really limit the exposure to negative plays.