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Old 11-09-2011, 06:18 AM   #1
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Default Mike Tomlin press conference

Mike Tomlin press conference
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 3:23 pm | Updated: 3:39 pm, Tue Nov 8, 2011.


Excerpts of the Mike Tomlin press conference that reviewed the loss to the Ravens and previews this Sunday's game against the Bengals:

Opening statement

"I will start with a quick assessment of Sunday night's performance. Like we always do, we came in yesterday and reviewed it with our football team. To be quite frank with you, it stung as much yesterday as it did on Sunday night, as it should. We lost a very tough, close ballgame, highly contested. Baltimore simply made more plays down the stretch than we did. We looked at it and analyzed our performance and techniques, under those circumstances. Hopefully we will grow and learn from it. I know those will be our intentions. I truly believe that it will strengthen us moving forward, like all of our experiences do. We will put that game with the rest of them, as part of our resume for the 2011 season, and we will move forward. I think it's important that we do that, given the challenge that faces us this weekend coming up, the Cincinnati Bengals.

"(Now) I will give you a quick injury update and assess where we are. We had a couple of surgeries yesterday. Emmanuel Sanders had his knee scoped. He should be a couple weeks. That was deemed a success. Daniel Sepulveda also had his knee surgically prepared. His season has ended. It's an unfortunate circumstance for him. We feel bad for him but at the same time, we also feel very fortunate to get Jeremy Kapinos back into the fold. He's a guy that we are very familiar with, one that we've played winning football with. He kicked for us over the second half of last season and through the playoffs. Really, when you have a guy with his experience and exposure that we have to him that's available to us, we really consider ourselves fortunate in that area. Jerricho Cotchery has some swelling on his knee. It might limit him at the top portions of the week. Stevenson Sylvester, same thing. Hines Ward appears to be doing well with his concussion-like symptoms. It shouldn't prohibit him or slow him down in any form or fashion here this week but we will assess him again tomorrow, as we get started with our work week. Some other bumps and bruises along the way: we'll take a look at LaMarr Woodley and see where he is with his hamstring. Just like last week, participation during the course of the week will dictate his ability. James Harrison had no issues coming back off his injury to speak of. We have some normal bumps and bruises. James Farrior with his calf, his participation throughout the week will dictate his availability, just like last week."

What did you see in that final drive, and why was Baltimore successful?

"I thought we had a couple of opportunities there, like you always do, to potentially end it or to make a splash. I thought we had them moving very early in the drive, in the pocket. We had a swipe at the ball that we missed. We had a third down and one. We had our hands on the football. We had a fourth down and one that the ball just reached the outstretched fingertips of a defensive lineman in the rush lane, and they completed it to Anquan Boldin. To make a long story short, they made all of the necessary plays and we missed a few of them by a hair. That is the story of those moments, and if you are going to seize those moments you have to make those plays. They did, and we didn't."

Was Baltimore's third-down success due to schematics and/or performance?

"I characterize it as both. They made some tough, challenging catches. The guys ran some great routes. The ball accuracy was very good. But they also schematically had some nice concepts to free people up versus bump and run coverage and so forth and provide rubs. It was just a nice quality effort from them from a preparation and a play standpoint."

Re: Jason Worilds' performance:

"I thought he did some nice things. I liked the tempo in which he played with. I thought he was physical. No question there is room for growth. But if you are just looking at his first substantial action as a defensive player, I thought it was a great place to begin."

Will Worilds start again this week?

"If the situation presents itself, but we have some things to sort out at the linebacker position. First and foremost, the availability of LaMarr Woodley and James Farrior will dictate some of the other things that occur at that position."

Are you comfortable in knowing that your team can put this loss behind them quickly and move on?

"No, I'm not comfortable, and I'm not looking for comfort. That's not how we live. I think it is important that we understand the urgency of this moment, and the gravity of the preparation that awaits us this week, and that we right this thing and quickly get back to winning football. Now, that is easier said than done, because obviously we have an opponent waiting for us that has made winning a habit, particularly over the last five weeks. So we are sensitive to that, we respect that, and by no means are we looking to find comfort in our situation."

What are the doctors telling you about Daniel Sepulveda's knee?

"He had a partially torn meniscus that was fixed."

Would you have done anything different with that field goal opportunity (late in the fourth before you punted)?

"What we were attempting to do was a fourth down and five situation. We were going to utilize the cadence like we did in Arizona and try to pick up an extra five. I was explaining that process to Jeremy Kapinos , and quite simply didn't get it lined up in time. I wasn't interested in burning or utilizing a time out because of the time left in the game. Since we weren't able to get that opportunity to maybe get a free first down, we decided to punt and put them 90-plus yards away from pay dirt with a four point lead. So we were pretty comfortable with the end result. Of course, the process could have been a little bit cleaner. Those are things that occur, I guess, sometimes when you work with new people, especially specialists. I accept responsibility for that. I should have handled that cleaner but I didn't. I still feel comfortable with the end result, but hopefully we will learn from that as well like we did some of the other errors that we had in the game."

Was kicking the field goal the last option of the options that were available to you?

"Yeah, we weren't interested in doing that again because we had a four-point lead. We knew that if we punted the ball and punted it well that they would be 90-plus yards from pay dirt and I liked our chances with our defense under those circumstances then and today."

Re: Tony Dungy critical of your team playing bump and run man coverage on the last drive by Baltimore:

"It's easy to look back and question. Guys like Tony and others were patting us on the back a week ago for doing similar things. So I don't worry about what they say, to be honest with you. We are just trying to play within our strengths and be prepared to do what is necessary for us to win football games."

You have had the same five guys starting at offensive line over the last few weeks, what difference have you seen?

"I don't know if there has been a difference. We are coming together as a football team. Not just our offensive line unit, but as an offensive unit, a team unit. But that is of course what you expect through the course of the football season. The more you play, the sharper you get as a football unit."

Has (Max) Starks solidified the line?

"One-fifth of it."

Re: Thin at wide receiver:

"We will let the week sort it out for us like we always will. If something needs to be done, more than likely it will be done in-house."

Re: Arnaz Battle:

"Arnaz has a hamstring strain of some degree. We will let his practice participation dictate how we go throughout the week. It is just a strain. We will see where it takes us."

If James Farrior comes back this week, will Timmons still be outside?

"It's a possibility, but again we haven't begun to address or discuss those possibilities because more than anything it is about the availability of the men. We have some guys that are position flexible, that helps us, and Lawrence Timmons of course is essential to that."

Re: Chris Hoke:

"He was good to go last week. We just chose to suit five defensive linemen under the circumstances, and get some other helmets in other situations, particularly at the linebacker position. Strengthen ourselves with Morty Ivy from a special teams standpoint. Decisions that we make to put ourselves in what we feel is the best position to win."

Do you notify the league to take a look at the hit on Ward?

"No, we don't. I think the league themselves review what they deem questionable hits, over the course of the work week and we just wait to hear from them. There isn't any active thing done on our part or any teams' part, to my knowledge."

Was Ward fighting to get back into the game?

"Hines is always fighting to get back into the game, but we are going to do what is best for him, even if he doesn't want us to."
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