Coach Mike Tomlin looks at this week's opponent – the Miami Dolphins
Q. The Dolphins have lost four home games in a row. Is it possible for them to use that as a motivational tool?
A. It's a big game, and they're a good team. When you talk about the home games they lost this year, one was to the New York Jets and one was to New England, and we know what kind of teams they are. I'm sure they'll be game ready, and we better be.
Q. Were you shocked at all by the enormity of the fine levied on James Harrison?
A. I was, quite frankly, and here's why: we had a crew of trained NFL officials on the field who saw it in real time, and no one threw a flag. Some of the other hits that occurred that can be characterized as flagrant or egregious, not only was there one flag thrown but there were flags that came from every direction. To me, because James' play was officiated in that way, you can say it's debatable, at the least. A debatable play should not have garnered the kind of fine his play garnered.
Q. If you talk to most players, the lower target to them means knees and ankles, and they believe that's more of a threat than a hit to the head?
A. And I think that is a legitimate meat of the discussion. If there are educated people, such as doctors, who feel strongly against the position that many of the players have, then the players have to be educated as to why. This subject requires a great deal of communication for those reasons, but there is an unwritten rule among players that they eat below the waist – that lower body injuries are a no-no. So it runs counter-culture with some of the things we're talking right now, and the discussions need to continue and if education needs to be part of that discussion, then I'm in favor of that as well.
Q. The Steelers are ranked No. 3 in the AFC in defense, and the Dolphins are No. 4. Does that mean a low-scoring game?
A. Every time I come out of a locker room, I don't paint a picture as to how I think it could unfold. The reality is that we better play better defense than them, and by doing that we give ourselves a chance to win. We respect those guys. They're a rough-and-tumble outfit that has talent on all levels of their defense. The defensive line has Randy Starks, at linebacker there is Karlos Dansby and Cameron Wake, and in the secondary they have Vontae Davis. They're a rough-and-tumble outfit, as are we.
Q. How do you block Cameron Wake?
A. With multiple people, quite frankly. It's obvious that when he's pitted against a tackle he's capable of winning, when he's pitted against a back or a tight end he's capable of winning. We've got video that shows that. We have to be prepared to put multiple people on him. We also, when given an opportunity, we have to meet the challenge of getting him blocked one-on-one from time-to-time. He's one of those guys who's extremely quick but is not afraid to go to his power. Those are usually the rushers who have the ability to be consistently good, who can keep tackles off balance with their speed but they're also willing to run down the center of them. He is one of those guys.
Q. You mentioned Vontae Davis as a quality player, and Jason Allen is tied for second in the league with three interceptions. Do you pick your poison?
A. Jason is getting some opportunities, quite frankly, because Vontae's guy is rarely open. Usually that's the case a lot of times. At one time, Martin Mayhew was one of my favorite cornerbacks because he got a lot of work. Well, that was because Darrell Green was on the other side. That might be somewhat of the story here.
Q. Chad Henne ranks No. 1 in the AFC in third down passing. Why?
A. Because he's got quality weapons and he spreads the ball around to them. You can be misled if you think it's a one-man show in regards to Brandon Marshall. He did get 17 balls thrown to him last week, and he caught 10 of them, but on third down, the No. 1 man in the league is Davone Bess, No. 15. Marshall is tied for fourth in the league in third-down receptions, so Henne has two top-quality weapons in situational football and he's using them.
Q. The defense is going to see the wildcat again this week. Do the Dolphins approach the wildcat with the idea of getting an additional blocker for the running back?
A. Yes, and I think it's important to make a distinction between the wildcats for fans today. The one we saw last week from Cleveland with Joshua Cribbs is a perimeter wildcat. They use his skills to get on the perimeter and create mismatches in space. This is a very different wildcat. This is downhill running with Ronnie Brown. This wildcat is the A-gap power, the isolation plays, the ones that can really wear you down if you don't get a handle on it.
Q. So then it's going to be up to Casey Hampton to get the process started?
A. Nothing wrong with putting a little pressure on the big man.