Turning it over: In the past two games the Steelers have seven turnovers, five interceptions and two fumbles. They aren’t numbers Coach Mike Tomlin likes to see, or more accurately those are numbers Tomlin is displeased with.
“It’s something we have to tighten up, and tighten up rather quickly,” said Tomlin. “We’ve turned the ball over some on offense. We have to do a better job of safeguarding and preserving it in everything we do, whether it’s run or passing, or running with the football.
“We as a football team, if there is one area we are lacking in in terms of development, it is that turnover ratio. I think we are toward the bottom part of the league. We have to do a better job of taking care of it.”
The Steelers rank 26th in the NFL in the takeaway/giveaway ratio, and when asked what quarterback Ben Roethlisberger needs to do to clean things up, he said you can’t point the finger at one person.
“Ben is just part of it,” said Tomlin. “He is not solely responsible for our inability to maintain possession of the ball. He wasn’t carrying the ball into the end zone and fumbled for touchback.
“He has to continue to be thoughtful about the preservation of the ball like he always is and understand what comes with the responsibility of being a signal caller. I don’t see any issue in that area but, us collectively, need to do a better job.”
In favor of the rule: And speaking of the fumble into the end zone, Tomlin was referring to a play by tight end Xavier Grimble against the Broncos. At the start of the second quarter Grimble pulled in a catch and looked like it was a sure touchdown. He was hit at the one-yard line, fumbled the ball before crossing the goal line, and it went out of the end zone. By rule it was a touchback, giving Denver possession.
Tomlin said it’s a rule he supports, and one players need to not allow to happen.
“You’ve got to maintain possession of the ball as you go across the goal line,” said Tomlin. “I believe there is added responsibility there. I believe the defense should be rewarded if you fumble and it goes into the end zone and no one gets a chance to recover the ball. I like the urgency and responsibility of possession of the ball, particularly in that area of the field. I am not against the rule. I am a proponent of it.”
Grimble said after the game he saw the safety and wanted to run through him. Tomlin just wants players to focus on scoring and not worrying about being aggressive.
“Get the ball in the end zone,” said Tomlin. “I am result oriented guy, this is a result oriented business. We can talk all day about the means by which the job gets done or have an opinion about how the job gets done. My position is get the ball in the end zone.”
Added threat: When the Steelers traded for Ryan Switzer they were looking for a player who could help them in the return game. What they found is one who is also becoming a weapon in the passing game. Switzer had six receptions for 67 yards against the Broncos, his best performance of the season, and for the year has 27 receptions for 214 yards.
“I watched a lot of North Carolina tape,” said Tomlin. “That is a dangerous guy. He’s still got some ball ahead of him. Room for growth. That is a guy who got on a moving train. We are pleased with his contributions, but we are also sensitive to he got on a moving train. He is sensitive to he got on a moving train too. I think he is working hard, day in and day out, to catch up, get the nuances, get the minutiae, things that are going to allow him to be a continued contributor to our efforts.”