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Mike Tomlin talks about the Steelers win over the Browns

Coach Mike Tomlin:

It was good to get back in the competitive feel and do it with a victory. There’s always some anxiety coming off the bye [week]. You’re worried about your level of execution and your physicality early. They answered those questions pretty quickly. I thought the guys came out ready to play. You got to tip your hat to Cleveland. I thought the field-position game was a legitimate factor in the game, especially early on. It kind of kept it extremely close. Their punter did a nice job; they did a nice job getting first downs on every possession. And they had us backed up.

We were looking at a full field there for a majority of the early portion of the game. But the guys didn’t blink and continued to work and made the necessary plays for us to have a victory. On the injury front, Brett Keisel appears to be the only one at this juncture that could be an issue moving forward. He’s got a hamstring injury. I don’t know the extent of that. We got to take a look at it, and of course I will have more information for you Tuesday in regards to his status. The rest of them are the bumps and bruises that go along with playing. The majority of those guys, Chris Kemoeatu, Doug Legusrky and others made their way back into the football game after their injuries. All-in-all, any time you can get an AFC North win, it’s good. It’s good to have a victory coming off the bye [week], and we stay in the hunt.

RE: Ben’s performance:

I thought he played well, but not that I’m surprised by that. He was sharp in training camp and in the preseason. He was sharp when he came back. I think it started way back in the summer. The guy came in, in great condition and he’s been working. When given the opportunity, we know this guy’s capable of playing the way he did today. I’m not surprised by that in any stretch.

Was Ben a little anxious with his throws?

He hadn’t played in a month. You can characterize it the way you want to characterize it. He missed a few throws. He’s not perfect, none of us are. He played a good football game.

Were you content to run the clock out before Cleveland used their timeouts?

We were just trying to play, trying to win. That’s part of it. The gamesmanship, we got a big-time respect for those guys. But at the same time we weren’t trying to get the ball back to them either.

RE: James Harrison’s hits

Legal hits, not fineable hits, he played good football. James is always ready to deliver for his teammates. That’s why they have so much respect for him. He’s a good football player man. He always delivers timely performances when you need them. Talking to a lot of young players, they want to know the recipe for being a dominant, great player. It’s not only delivering plays but delivering plays at a timely manner, significant plays. And he does that for us for the most part.

RE: Ben’s first game back:

It was going to happen guys. At some point the guy was going to coming back. It was going to be a story in some form or fashion. It’s not our story. Our story is the story of the 2010 Steelers and our quest to win football games. You guys can talk about it however you want to talk about it. He had to come back at some point. He came back today. He’s ready to play as are we. We won; we’re moving on.

RE: Emmanuel Sanders play:

He’s ready to contribute. That’s why it’s kind of nip-and-tuck with him and Antonio Brown. Two very serviceable young guys that are competing week-in-and-week-out for the right to wear the helmet and help our team, I’ve got big-time respect for how both men are handling it and producing when given the opportunity, and really making decisions tough for myself. I appreciate that from a guy in my position.

Did you use the whole playbook with Ben?

Yes, whatever that means.

You weren’t scaling it back at all?


RE: Lawrence Timmons play:

Lawrence is a big-time talent. He runs to the ball; he creates plays because of his range because of how he hustles. He’s becoming a veteran player. He’s making plays above the neck. He just does good work for us, consistently week-in-and-week-out. Not only today, but all of his tapes here in 2010 have looked pretty similar to that.

RE: Offensive line play:

They did an awesome job and not only from a result standpoint. You saw that several times different men went down. Chris [Kemoeatu] went down. Doug [Legursky] went down. I think Ramon Foster went in for both guys. That’s kind of been the story with our offensive line. It hasn’t been an easy journey for us to this point, and we don’t expect it to be. We understand what this is about. Guys like Ramon Foster; Tony Hills has answered the call for us, Jonathan Scott. They’re always ready to do it. The standard is the standard, and we appreciate that.

Were you trying to take some time off the clock in the third quarter?

I was. There were some instances in there where we weren’t happy. At one point we ran the ball on first and second down, and we were looking at third-and-eight maybe late in the third quarter. Not what we’re looking for, but I like the attitude of the guys. They’re talking about it. They understand the standard. We got to continue to grow and get better.

Have you shown a general improvement in that area?


RE: Nick Eason filling in:

Nick is just a versatile guy, a veteran backup. He’s been in a bunch of battles. We call on that experience. He’s no doubt useful to us. I’m not taking anything away from Ziggy Hood. They’re three and three-a, if you will in terms of defensive ends. We call on them. A lot of times I’m not on the details of the rotation. It might be who is fresh and so forth. Both of those guys contribute on special teams. We don’t view those guys any differently is the point I am trying to make. At the end of the day the usually play a similar number of snaps.

Would Nick Eason get the start if Brett Keisel can’t play next week?

We’ll look at that early next week. Maybe we’ll get those guys competing like [Antonio] Brown and [Emmanuel Sanders].

RE: Colt McCoy’s performance:

I thought he handled the situation relatively well. He put the ball where it was supposed to go. He shows composure. At times where we rushed three he didn’t rush the ball. He showed some innate things that are quarterback things. I am sure they’re excited about him. They should be. It wasn’t too big for him. Really we didn’t expect it to be too big for him. This guy has been in some big games over there in that Big XII at Texas. We got respect for guys like him that are capable of. We’ve been in stadiums with our backup quarterback here of late, and we know what teams are capable of. We didn’t take him or that team lightly.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

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