Here are a few of the Highlights of Tuesday’s presser with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin:
How did Bryant McFadden perform and what will the cornerback rotation look like this week?
I thought that he did a nice job. He knocked the rust off relatively quickly. It looked like he was decisive; he moved around fluidly and made the plays that he needed to make. I think that William Gay is continuing to play well so those are good problems to have. We are going to address those as the week unfolds. We feel comfortable with either one of those guys, or both of those guys, out on the field for us.
Is the inconsistency of the running game a concern?
Again, the only reason that it is a concern is because it decreases our chances of winning. Down the stretch, you have to be able to run the football in December football. Good people close out football games, so we have to continue to work on it.
How do you improve the punting?
Hopefully the weather conditions won’t be as bad as they were last Sunday, but they probably will. The good thing about it from Sunday’s standpoint was that their punter struggled when he punted from that direction as well. I thought that was one of the reasons why it was important that we kept the game together and weathered the third quarter. We knew how significant those weather conditions were going to be; that is why we deferred when we won the coin toss. Thankfully we got to the fourth quarter within striking distance; we were able to get the ball moving offensively and they weren’t. They hit a 25-yard punt themselves under those circumstances. We weathered the storm; literally.
Does Baltimore play their 3-4 defense different than Dallas?
They do. They have quite a few more fronts and movement, and let’s face it, there is one Ray Lewis and one Bart Scott, one Terrell Suggs and (Haloti) Ngata and (Jarret) Johnson and (Ed) Reed…do you want me to go on?
Are run-game alternatives as option verse Baltimore?
It may and it may not be an alternative. It is tough to run on this crew. The big thing is that we find ways to possess the ball, control the clock and not allow them to have the time of possession 34 to 26 like they have done to this point this year because usually if it looks like that, it is not a good day for the Steelers.
Do they use eight-man in the box?
They are thoughtfully non-rhythmic. You are going to see some of that. You are going to see some four down. What they are capable of doing with guys like Suggs makes them unique. They can be a three-down team, they can be a four-down team. You are going to see a seven-man box, an eight-man box. They do a nice job of keeping you off balance and I think that is one of the things that make them so difficult to deal with.
Are you surprised that Baltimore is 9-4 with a rookie coach and rookie quarterback?
No, I am not. If you want to talk about surprised, I would probably say I was surprised of their lack of success a year ago. This is football and teams that are physical and teams that are tough physically and mentally usually win. That is one thing that has been consistent about that group for a long time, is that when they step into the stadiums, they are capable of beating you up. Those types of teams win more than they lose, usually.
Was the first game against Baltimore as physical as game you have seen?
It was and we limped out of there with a victory, thankfully, but we did limp out of there. You can anticipate it being a similar game I would imagine. So there is a price you pay for being in these kind of matchups. Hopefully we don’t pay too dear of a price, hopefully we can walk out with a victory.