Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cleveland Week: The Mike Tomlin Press Conference

This week's press conference featured a prolonged, and painful, visit from Santa Claus. Here is some of what Mike Tomlin eventually discussed.

The team has a few bumps and bruises ~ some players (e.g. James Harrison and Ben Roethlisberger) will be limited early in the week but will play on Sunday.

Ryan Clark has a separated shoulder, and will miss this week's game. Tyron Carter and Anthony Madison will replace him.

Brett Keisel played well after having been out for a number of games.

Mr. Tomlin is unwilling to make too much of the loss versus Tennessee, just as he was unwilling to make too much of the wins leading up to that game.

The loss to Tennessee was simply a matter of execution; and the ability of the Titans' backups to perform well is the result of having played regularly during the season.

Despite the fact that Cleveland is struggling, Jamal Lewis and Braylon Edwards are excellent performers. Also, the Cleveland defensive secondary is among the best in the league. Finally, Joshua Cribbs has hurt the Steelers in the past.

The fact that Cleveland is using their third-string quarterback may be significant in the game, but it is not necessarily a deciding factor in-and-of itself.

Mr. Tomlin is concerned about the Steelers' running game, and sees running effectively as an important factor in winning in the playoffs. He is concerned about the negative runs (i.e. running plays that resulted in losses) from last week's game, but he is unwilling to assign blame to any particular person or group.

Punting by Mitch Berger was very good against Tennessee.

Max Starks has "stood up well" for the Steelers this season, but has big challenges ahead.

Mr. Tomlin declined to answer a question regarding his thoughts on LenDale White's antics at the end of last Sunday's game, vis-a-vis the Terrible Towel.

The practice schedule this week allows the players to spend some time at home Thursday morning, but there will be practice on Christmas day.