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Tomlin Takes

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'Tomlin's Takes' on turnovers, sacks & Ben

  • Looking to improve: One of the things Coach Mike Tomlin did during the team's bye week was look at areas where he feels his team needs improvement. And the first area he mentioned was turnover ratio. The Steelers are minus 1 after the first eight games of the season, with 11 takeaways, but they turned the ball over 12 times. It's something Tomlin wants to see improve, and knows must be improved down the stretch run.

"We're minus one. Usually that doesn't go along with 6-2," said Tomlin. "One of those games really skews that number because we turned the ball over quite a bit against Jacksonville. Nonetheless, to be minus one at the turn is an area that we would like to be better at. We need to take care of the ball better. We need to get the ball more. That will be something we focus on. Usually teams on the rise over the second half of the year do a great job of taking care of the ball and an increasingly better job of getting the ball and that needs to be us."

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Sack Happy:** The Steelers have 26 sacks through eight games, a number that has helped the Steelers achieve their 6-2 record. But there isn't one player who has outrageous numbers, as the Steelers have been bringing pressure from everywhere. A total of 10 players have accounted for the 26 sacks, with Cameron Heyward leading the charge with five sacks, and Vince William and T.J. Watt right behind him with four each.

"I am not opposed to guys putting up freakish numbers," said Tomlin. "But really we strive for balance. We are a group that likes to attack you from all levels of defense – defensive line, linebackers, secondary. I think our numbers reflect that, not only this year, but in recent years. Much like we want to have balance on offense, we want to have balance in terms of the things we do defensively. Whether it's the number of people that we bring, or the number of people we employ in coverage, or the manner in which we do those things. We are looking for balance. I think the numbers from a sack standpoint reflect that mentality." 

Second half steps: Ben Roethlisberger finished out the first half of the season completing 61.1% of his passes, with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The touchdowns are down from the midway point last year, when he threw 17, and the turnovers up, an increase over last year when he had seven through eight games.

Tomlin said the areas where Roethlisberger needs to take steps in the second half of the season mirrors what the team as a whole needs to do.

"Just like our football team, we have to take care of the football better, we need a flare for the dramatic," said Tomlin. "I think that can apply to him, but it also can apply to any one of us. Those are critical areas for us to take a significant step as we venture into the second half."

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