Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Ravens Week:
The Mike Tomlin Press Conference

Thanks to the auspices of ESPN 1250 we were able to listen in on Mike Tomlin's press conference. Here are some of what he said:

Opening Comments
The Ravens are even better than their record, a very hot team, and very tough at home.

Le'Ron Mclain is the featured back, and tough to keep out of the end zone. Mr. Tomlin expects the Steelers defense to struggle containing him.

Joe Flacco and Derrick Mason have developed a good "flow," and are a big part of their offensive success.

On defense, Baltimore's Jarrett Johnson is "wreaking havoc."

Carey Davis suffered a calf strain against Dallas ~ unlikely to practice on Wednesday.

Brett Keisel may practice this week.

Marvel Smith is still out with a back injury.

A few players may get tomorrow off.

No injury issue(s) with Ben Roethlisberger

The quality of the opponents that the Steelers have faced all season has helped the team to perform at a high level.

The veteran nature of the team, and the tough schedule the Steelers have faced this season, has helped the team stay away from emotional letdowns.

Joe Flacco is growing/maturing, and is a better quarterback than the one the Steelers faced earlier in the season.

Mr. Tomlin had no explanation for why the Steelers have played well on the road, except to point out that he did discuss the need to play well on the road in order to compete in the playoffs.

Ed Reed is an "unbelievable football player." He is not a "gambler or risk-taker," but is a great athlete who is where he needs to be.

Evidence of the Ravens' defensive excellence can be found in their six touchdowns so far this season.

The rivalry between Baltimore and Pittsburgh is "born of mutual respect" between the franchises.

Bryant McFadden played very well versus Dallas, and William Gay continues to perform well.

Travis Kirschke is playing well in place of the injured Brett Keisel.

The turnovers versus Dallas were a big part of the struggles the offense had last Sunday. Also, teams tend to play their best versus Pittsburgh. However, the ability of the offense to overcome adversity ~ i.e. to move the ball when it was absolutely necessary ~ has been encouraging.

The struggles of the running game are being worked on.

The struggles of the punting game last Sunday were due, in part, to the weather conditions (i.e. both punters struggled when kicking into the wind). "We weathered the storm ~ literally."

Mr. Tomlin feels as though the success of the Cowboys to run the ball was more a case of Dallas hitting a few big plays rather than grinding out four- and five-yard gains.

When asked about postgame comments by Jason Witten that it was "Christmas in Pittsburgh," Mr. Tomlin indicated that all that matters is who has more points at the end of the game. Furthermore, he indicated that comments of a similar nature could have been made by the Steelers following the Indianapolis game, but the Steelers players and coaches understand that winning football games means finishing strong.

The Steelers' offense has to "find a way to control the ball, run the clock" in order to win against Baltimore.

The Baltimore defense does a good job of keeping offenses off-balance.

Mr. Tomlin was more surprised by Baltimore's lack of success last season than he is of their current success this season.

The lack of success running the ball last week was because of a "lack of opportunities" to run the ball.

The first meeting between Baltimore and Pittsburgh was the most physical game Mr. Tomlin has seen as a coach.

The offense is definitely working on silent counts for this week.

Mr. Tomlin interacts a great deal with Deshea Townsend whom Mr. Tomlin described as a "very savvy, mature, football player."

As to the defensive call that resulted in the Deshea Townsend interception, Mr. Tomlin said that Dick LeBeau is "the guy," but that it is the execution by the players that makes those calls work.