Tomlin Takes

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'Tomlin's Takes' on playoff field, challenges

Contingency plan: The NFL Competition Committee, of which Coach Mike Tomlin is a member, held a virtual meeting on Monday and one of the topics was the expansion of the playoff field.

According to multiple reports, including one on, there was a continency plan of having a 16-team playoff bracket if, and only if, games are lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan would be to have eight teams from each conference.

Tomlin acknowledged that there was a meeting on Monday but didn't give specific details of what was discussed.

"I don't have a lot of detailed information in that regard," said Tomlin. "We did have a conference call yesterday and talked about some significant things in terms of playoff structuring and seeding if some things should develop. That's the key…if some things should develop. We're just doing our due diligence. There are a lot of people in New York that are working extremely hard behind the scenes to keep all options available to us.

"Our desire obviously is to play a complete schedule, I think 256 games, but we're putting some components in place that really highlight competitive fairness and we think answer the challenge if we should end up there. But that's a big if.

"Our focus is working our tails off not only in terms of staying clean and doing the things we need to do procedurally from a COVID standpoint, but also just keeping an eye on what is going on globally. Our desire is to play each and every football game."

Facing the challenge: For the past three weeks, the Steelers have played three teams with a combined two losses at the time of the game. This week, though, they face the Dallas Cowboys, who go into the game with a 2-6 record.

Tomlin has highlighted being in a five-star matchup for three straight weeks but said nothing can change this week in terms of focus no matter what the record of the team they are facing.

"There are ramifications or consequences of all performances," said Tomlin. "The state that we are in right now we have some health and injury circumstances that have our attention, that we have some guys that need to rise up this week. I think that we are going to have a level of urgency. I think we all understand what that means.

"More than anything it's about how we function and the state that we are in and us doing the things that we need to do to produce victory in spite of the challenges that attrition and the game of football often times presents teams. That is the challenge for us this week. Often times I say the nameless grey faces we play are less important and thus is the case. We better make sure we are fortifying our depth and doing the things that we need to do in terms of the guys that have to rise up and then play at an acceptable level that we can produce a winning performance."

Take a look at the best photos of the Steelers offense from the Week 8 game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium

Responding well: On Monday, Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey tweeted that he tested positive for COVID-19, one day after he played against the Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium.

Tomlin was asked his thoughts on if he thought the NFL was doing enough in terms of protecting players in such situations.

"Let me be clear here," said Tomlin. "I am extremely pleased with the efforts of the National Football League in response to the pandemic and the steps we are taking continually. And they are continually growing and changing and developing as needed. I have no issue with what we are doing in that area."

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