Much-deserved praise: It's not often that Coach Mike Tomlin dishes out words of praise on a player when asked directly about them during his weekly press conference. It's even more infrequent that he does without even being asked about the player.
But when it comes to Cameron Heyward, Tomlin has nothing but words of praise for a player who should be in serious consideration for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Heyward was a disruptive force against the Texans, finishing with two sacks and a forced fumble. It was play that typified what he has done all season, as he currently has a career-high 12 sacks for the year.
"I can't say enough about the contributions of Cam Heyward," said Tomlin. "Not only in the game, but really all year. Often times he gets misidentified because of our base structure. He is a 3-4 end, but the reality is he is an elite interior rush man, no different than Aaron Donald and Geno Atkins. When you look at it from that perspective, the season he is having is a really special one. He rushes on the interior, just like those men, e He rushes on the interior, He and is having a very comparable season to the very best in the world as far as being an interior rush man."
- Playing to win: The Steelers take on the Browns on Sunday at Heinz Field, and with a team with a 0-15 record on the horizon, and wanting a healthy lineup heading into the postseason, there is a lot of talk outside the walls of the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex about who should, or more who shouldn't, play. Tomlin gave no indication of whether some of the starters would be rested or not, but did make one thing perfectly clear.
"We will play and play to win the football game," said Tomlin. "Who we choose to employ, utilize, or activate, we are in the process of discussing. The expectation will be what it is. The people we put on the field we will expect them to play and play winning football. That will be our mentality as we prepare. We don't try to overthink some of these things. We set out on this thing to dominate the AFC North and we have an AFC North game this weekend at our place. That will be our mentality."
Bringing pressure: The Steelers have 50 sacks this season, a result of pressure coming from all over the field as 13 players have contributed to the total.
"It's our commitment to everyone being viable in that area," said Tomlin. "Some weeks it's the interior defensive line, sometimes it's the perimeter defensive line, sometimes it's the linebackers, sometimes it's members of the secondary, like it was with Mike Hilton. If you are going to be a group that is committed to applying pressure on the quarterback you have to be willing for it to come from any and all areas and that is something we really focus on."