Recapping Tomlin, Roethlisberger conference calls
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger spoke to the Houston media via conference call on Wednesday. Here are some notes and key quotes from their respective calls
Mike Tomlin conference call
The Steelers entered the week with health concerns at left tackle, right tackle and right guard after their offensive line was decimated by injuries on Sunday. Starting left tackle Jonathan Scott (ankle) and guard Doug Legursky (shoulder) did not practice Wednesday, but Tomlin is confident that whoever plays in Week 4 will get the job done. “We believe that everybody on our football team can be the reason why we win,” he said. “They’re competent and capable men. We try to hold them to that standard. We acknowledge that injury is as much a part of the game of football as blocking and tackling. This group has had more opportunities than others to display that, but it’s not our first rodeo in that regard. We expect these guys to step up, if given the opportunity, and play winning football for us.”
Tomlin was asked about the possibility of Texans running back Arian Foster returning to the field on Sunday and playing along with Ben Tate. “Obviously, we respect him and what he’s capable of doing on the football field, but I think that Tate and others have also shown us that these guys are going to be very capable of running the football and doing what it is they want to do offensively even if he’s not available,” Tomlin said. “We respect Arian Foster, but we also respect the Houston Texans run game in general and any back they choose to give it to. We better prepare ourselves to defend it.”
Tomlin gave a glowing review of Texans rookie defensive end J.J. Watt, the first-round pick from Wisconsin who has made a big play in each of his first three games (fumble recovery in Week 1, blocked field goal in Week 2, sack in Week 3). “I’m impressed,” Tomlin said. “I wouldn’t say that I’m surprised. I was at his pro day. Of course, I studied him leading up to the draft. He’s displaying the same things down there that made him a great player in Madison. He’s very instinctual. He plays with a high motor. He’s taking advantage of the opportunities presented.”
Tomlin said that Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is “tailor-made” to run the Texans’ offensive scheme. “The way they mix the play-action pass and mix the direction pass in with the run game, his ability to throw the ball from a variety of launch points, the rapport that he has of course with Andre Johnson… he needs no endorsement from me,” Tomlin said. “They’ve been doing it at a high level down there for a number of years, and I think the statistics and the video bears that out.”
Ben Roethlisberger conference call
Roethlisberger was comically candid when asked about what he’s looking forward to with the Texans’ defense. “I don’t know if I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “They’re a really good defense. It starts up front, obviously; great D-line, and the linebackers really get after it. (I’ve) got to watch some more film and get ready, because they present some problems.”
Roethlisberger’s take on going against outside linebacker Mario Williams: “Yeah, a little different than the outside linebackers I see every day. Just a freak; one of the, if not the, best. It’ll be a great challenge for our tackles. Last week, they had to go against two of the best that are speed guys and have a lot of moves and this guy’s just an absolute beast, so heck of a challenge.” Williams had two sacks and a forced fumble on Roethlisberger when the Texans and Steelers played in 2008.
The Steelers have turned the ball over 10 times, tied for most in the league, with six lost fumbles and four interceptions. Their -9 turnover differential is worst in the NFL. “I think turnovers is our number one bugaboo right now,” Roethlisberger said. “We’ve got to cut back on the turnovers, and that starts with me.”
With the Steelers struggling to run the ball this season, averaging less than 3.3 yards per carry, Roethlisberger was asked if there’s any sense of panic on offense. “It’s not panic,” he said. “We’re not panicked. I think you guys and the media and people and fans try and panic for us, and that’s fine. We’re a veteran enough group that we don’t do that and we just talk about what we need to do and get it done.” In other words, the sky is not falling after only three games.