View Full Version : On the Steelers: Tomlin thrilled by team's response

11-24-2010, 07:18 AM
On the Steelers: Tomlin thrilled by team's response
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana/Post-Gazette

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on his team: "They're going to protect one another when someone's been wronged. That's just human nature."

The new get-tough NFL now has established the price of sucker-punching a starting quarterback long after a play ends. If you are willing to pay $25,000, step right up and take your shot.

That was, in effect, what league officials decided when they fined Oakland defensive tackle Richard Seymour that amount for punching quarterback Ben Roethlisberger long after rookie Emmanuel Sanders caught his 22-yard touchdown pass Sunday.

There was no suspension and only an itty-bitty fine for a player who will make $12.4 million this year and one who has a history of such behavior. The NFL fined him $10,000 for a hit on Cleveland's Jerome Harrison after a play ended last December.

The latest fine represents .002 of Seymour's salary this season, akin to a guy who makes $124,000 getting a speeding ticket of $250. The sting of it may fade quickly.

Mike Tomlin did not want to comment on Seymour's fine, but he did have something to say about how his players responded. They included an open-hand slap to Seymour's face by guard Chris Kemoeatu, who was penalized for it, and injured reserve member Willie Colon charged onto the field in street clothes.

"That's what 'team' is about," Tomlin said. "Am I shocked that they responded the way they responded? No. Am I excited they responded the way they responded? I expect them to be good teammates. That's part of being good teammates. They're going to protect one another when someone's been wronged. That's just human nature. These guys work extremely hard together. They're close personally and professionally, so why should we be surprised by the type of response that occurred in the stadium on Sunday? It's very natural. I'm glad both teams were able to move on from it and continue to play the football game."
Tomlin takes different route

Unlike last season when Tomlin promised changes would be made before a game in Cleveland and then made none, the coach promised none last week and made several.

Ramon Foster replaced Trai Essex as the starting right guard. Rookie Emmanuel Sanders moved up to No. 3 wide receiver over Antwaan Randle El. Rookie Antonio Brown returned punts. The changes included a full practice in pads last Wednesday for the first time since early in the season.

Tomlin said Foster will remain the starter at right guard and praised Sanders for his play and his reaction to adversity.

"We liked the intensity," Tomlin said of Foster. "We liked the physical presence that he provided. We liked the way that he and Flozell [Adams] worked together. We'll push forward."

Sanders caught his second touchdown pass in two games.

"He's made plays when given an opportunity," Tomlin said. "He continues to prove it's not too big for him. More than anything, as much as those things, when he makes a mistake he doesn't go in the tank and he usually rebounds from it relatively quickly.

"He put a ball on the ground in Miami and rebounded from it relatively quickly. He dropped the first ball thrown to him on Sunday. He quickly rebounded. Not only is it not too big for him, he doesn't shadow box; he doesn't ride the emotional roller coaster. He tends to bounce back from failures pretty quickly. All of those things are kind of attractive to go along with the talent that we all see."
Adams' approach a hit

The Steelers signed Flozell Adams, 35, to a one-year contract after Colon's Achilles tendon tore in June. Adams not only started all 10 games at offensive right tackle, he has performed above the Steelers' expectations.

"He's done maybe even better than we anticipated," Tomlin said of the Dallas Cowboys' longtime left tackle. "He's an old dog learning a new trick, if you will, playing on the right side. He's been very stable, been a stabilizing presence for us, has a nice demeanor that we like.

"He plays. He's competitive. He's only concerned about winning. I like guys like that. This guy made a lot of money, has a lot of accolades, been on some high-profile teams. None of that seems to be overly important to him right now. He just wants to win and do whatever he can to help us do so."
Medical report

Brett Keisel and Will Allen should return to play Sunday in Buffalo, but rookie Antonio Brown is not likely to suit up.

Tomlin issued mostly good news on his team's health. Keisel, who missed four of the past five games with a hamstring injury, is "going to be a full participant here in the early portion of the week and be available to play, so that's a good thing."

Allen has been cleared after missing the past two games with concussions. No. 2 tight end Matt Spaeth, however, has a concussion and will undergo tests.

Three linemen left the game Sunday at various times, but all are expected to play, including center Maurkice Pouncey, who has what Tomlin said is a bruised thigh.

Brown has swelling on his knee and combined with the return of Allen likely will not suit up Sunday. Troy Polamalu's Achilles tendon, listed as strained last week, "is still the same." Polamalu played a full game, but Tomlin said he will not go through a full practice early this week.

For more on the Steelers, read the blog, Ed Bouchette On the Steelers at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.

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