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Mike Tomlin: "There is Some Uncertainty" Preparing for Titans' Defense

Posted Sep 4, 2013

STEELERS HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN

(on the Titans defense with Gregg Williams and how much different the unit will be)

That would be speculation on my part and I think that’s part of what makes Week 1 challenging.  I think just getting a true sense of what team’s personalities may be.  Obviously, there is some uncertainty there and we’ll find out when we get to the stadium.  The awesome thing, obviously, if you have spent any period of time in this league you have a sense of what Coach (Gregg) Williams is capable of and you also have  a sense of what Coach (Jerry) Gray is capable of and maybe the combination of the two.  Those are some of the things we are working through as we prepare for this game.

(on how much uncertainty he would like to bring into this game)

I just think that all teams are continually in evolution trying to find better ways to cut if you will.  We are one of those teams regardless of what happened a year ago.  That is always kind of going to be our mentality and it is always a certain level of excitement that comes with doing it for the first time.

(on the Steelers having a clear-cut identity and whether it is easier to rebound after a bad year)

I really just don’t approach the season with the mentality that we are bouncing back from anything or this is a continuation or anything that occurred last year because that is a dangerous thought; whether it is a positive year or a negative year, each year kind of stands on its own.  It is a new cast of characters legitimately every year that is just the nature of today’s NFL.  It is better served not to tote the baggage.  I generally don’t regardless of what the past year has held for us.

(on if players are hungrier coming off a down year)

I think that is a question individuals have to answer.  Obviously, largely for someone to set the pace of the group like myself again I move with that in mind that we are focused on this year’s challenges and there is enough motivation in that alone I think.

(on his impressions and expectations for Bernard Pollard)

He brings a definite demeanor.  He plays with great passion.  I think it is something that teams are capable of feeding off of.  I think he is an energy-bringer as opposed to an energy-drainer.  That is a recipe for good defense.  We have a lot of respect for him.

(on if Bernard Pollard talks a lot during games)

I don’t get into that.  I could care less to be honest with you.  I just see the mouths moving.

(on the Titans rebuilt offensive line)

Obviously, they have some exciting new pieces.  Andy Levitre is one of the most coveted guards in free agency, if not the most coveted guard in free agency.  And of course the young man, the first-rounder out of Alabama was considered tops in the draft.  I’m sure they are excited about that.  I’m less concerned about what it is they are doing at this time of year and more concerned about how we are putting our things together and if we are doing things that are conducive to winning.  Obviously, they are a formidable group to go along with that veteran tackle tandem.

(on his rebuilt offensive line)

I will be in better position to answer that at Sunday around 4:30 p.m.  We are excited about what the group has done.  They can be considered a new group but at the same time all of these guys are homegrown and have been a part of our program.  We are talking about the young tackle tandem in Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams, both drafted by us, one is in his second year and one is in his third year in the program.  Obviously, David DeCastro is in his second year in the program.  We took him in the first round a year ago.  Maurkice Pouncey and Ramon Foster are kind of the old sages of the group in their mid-20s.

(on if David Decastro picked up where he left off before his injury)

I think the injury from a year ago is kind of a distant memory.  I honestly hadn’t thought a great deal about it and hadn’t managed his workload in any form or fashion because of it.  It is kind of last year’s news.

(on naming Isaac Redman the starter and any concerns about the running game)

Isaac understands his strengths and he plays to it.  He has a definite run demeanor.  He has been a consistent contributor to our efforts over the years.  I look forward to our run game being a positive contribution to our offense.  Obviously, there are some questions there regarding who we are going to utilize, the division of labor and things of that nature and we will just kind of answer those with how we play.

(on his impressions of the Steelers offense during the preseason)

You know it looked like preseason football.  We had some positive moments; we had some moments to grow from.  I really don’t paint with a broad brush and anticipate the regular season playing out in any form or fashion.  The reality is that in the preseason you are looking for certain things.  Sometimes you put yourself in less than advantageous positions by design just to know what it is you are working with.  Preseason is what it is.  We are excited to get it started for real here in a few days.

(on his impressions of Jake Locker)

Obviously, he is a talented young player.  I’m really impressed by his mobility, his accuracy on the move that he has displayed in the preseason.  We have some concerns about containing him.  Obviously, when you watch those plays both in the preseason and late last year, his mobility and his escapability is a part of that they do both by design and by ad lib.  That is something you have to be concerned about if you are around defense.

(on concerns about Chris Johnson’s big-play ability)

Chris is Chris; he needs no endorsement from me.  If you are playing any team that he is involved with it kind of starts there.  Any time the ball is snapped he is capable of going the distance and he has proven that.  Obviously, there is a heightened awareness when you’re playing a guy the caliber of him.

(on if anything else sticks out about the Titans offense)

The reality is that we have to be prepared to stop all their weapons or work to minimize all their weapons.  That will increase our chances of winning.  We intend to take that approach.  All of those guys are capable and NFL players, guys like Nate Washington that we are familiar with that is fun to watch.  Nate just from a spectator standpoint, to see the growth and development that he has had over the years and the type of career that he has put together.  I have a great deal of respect for Nate Washington.

(on Nate Washington’s longevity in the league)

You know, he’s got redeemable qualities. He’s got a great spirit. He likes to work. You know, that’s a nice recipe for longevity.

(on the impact of the Rooney Rule)

Well, I haven’t really thought a lot about it to be honest with you. You know, I’ve been focused on what it is we’ve got going on this week. That’s more of a global question. I hadn’t thought about it at all. I probably couldn’t give you anything of value.

(on whether the Rooney rule should be expanded to coordinators)

I’m for anything that allows legitimate candidates to have an opportunity to show what they’re capable of and ascend within the ranks. Deserving candidates, that’s ultimately what all of this is about: to create a playing field where deserving candidates of all races or ethnicities or backgrounds have an opportunity to ascend when they’re deserving.

(on Tennessee’s physicality this season)

I haven’t compared that. That’s their business, their agenda. I hadn’t looked at their level of physicality last year relative to this year as we prepare.

(on whether bunch formations strain secondary defenses)

It depends on the nature of the calls dramatically. That answer could have a wide variation. It could be a lot of significance or it could be very little at all depending on how defenses want to attack you.

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