Tomlin on the Ravens


Coach Mike Tomlin offers some insight on the Steelers' opponent this week – the Baltimore Ravens.
Q. Have you given any thought to the fact that Ben Roethlisberger's 19-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace on the final play of a 37-36 win over the Packers could energize this team?
A. Hopefully it does. But hopefully our preparation and play this week is going to speak to our energy. We have a great opportunity here in front of our fans to stay alive in this hunt, and that should be energy enough.
Q. Might you order another onside kick attempt vs. the Ravens?
A. I just might. We're going to do whatever is necessary for us to get a win. We're going to throw caution to the wind and not second-guess ourselves.
Q. Against the Packers, it seemed as though the pass defense couldn't stop Aaron Rodgers. Was it what the Packers were doing or what the Steelers weren't doing?
A. It was a little bit of both. When there's failure, and when there's success for that matter, that is always the case. They're a talented group and they made some quality plays, but there were some opportunities for playmaking that we didn't take advantage of. And we take responsibility for that.
Q. Regarding Joe Flacco's development as an NFL quarterback – is that something you can see on tape?
A. You can, but I'll also tell you that you see the center of that offense shifting toward Ray Rice. This guy is a quality runner, he's their leading receiver. He's a security blanket for Joe when the downfield throws aren't there, but Joe is doing a nice job of quarterbacking the offense.
Q. How do you handle Rice?
A. You have to be gap-sound, because this guy has great vision and the ability to make cuts. Aside from that, we have to have great hustle and great energy. We have to get multiple people to the football.
Q. Is the Baltimore defense in 2009 as good as the 2008 version?
A. It's tough to tell. They've gone through some transition in the secondary, and when you do that I think you lose a little something. Of course, not only have they gone through transition in that they don't have Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle at cornerback, but the guys they are working with they also have lost some of them due to injury. That's a factor, but they're still capable of pitching shutout football.
Q. What do you do with Terrell Suggs?
A. You block him, hopefully. We'll see what happens. He's a special player, and they move him around quite a bit. We've had favorable matchups with him in the past, but it's never easy. We have a great deal of respect for him. We have to get him blocked.
Q. You have said that both of these teams have an attitude about them. Is it the same attitude, or does Baltimore have a different chip on its shoulder?
A. I can't speak to their chip, but I know both teams play on edge. They play a physical brand of football, they play with a passion, and it's always fireworks when the two teams meet.
Q. What do you recall about the first meeting between the teams this season?
A. I thought we won the line of scrimmage offensively, and that gave us a chance. Of course, the Ravens were without Suggs. We got some turnovers defensively, and I thought that kept us in it and it was something we hadn't done of late. If we're going to be successful in this game, those two things will help us in a big way – winning the line of scrimmage again and producing some turnovers defensively.
Q. What are the keys for the Steelers in this game against the Ravens?
A. We have to punch first. We have to win the line of scrimmage on offense and defense. We have to win the turnover battle. All of which is what we did the last time we played those guys, but I think all other things being equal, they'll be the difference in this game.

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