Conference Call: Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin



(on the challenge of a quick turnaround on Thursday)

It's really kind of nothing new for us. We've probably been in as many of these games as anybody over the last four or five years. We're comfortable with our schedule. The preparation is more mental as opposed to physical. We're a veteran team in some ways, so obviously it's less of a concern in some instances. More than anything, we respect the process. We try to get right mentally, we try to preserve our bodies as best as we can, and show up ready to play.

(on if the Titans look like a 1-4 team on film)

No, not when you watch cuts, but I just think that's the nature of today's NFL. There is a fine line between winning and losing in most instances. If you just look at it in terms of plays and plays exclusively, teams are close. There's probably not much difference between being 1-4 or 2-2 or 3-1 at this juncture. I think we are all still very much teams in development, and we're writing our stories.

(on if Thursday's game is a dangerous one for the Steelers)

Every game we play is a dangerous one. We don't discount anyone.

(on Ben Roethlisberger's play this year so far)

He's done a nice job leading us and getting us off to a good start offensively. We're playing pretty good situational football because he's making good, fast decisions. We're taking care of the ball. That's been a point of emphasis for us, and we think we're winning the edge. He's done some good things. Obviously, he wants to continue to get better as we proceed.

(on the impact of Rashard Mendenhall and James Harrison being back on the field)

I don't want to read too much into it. Obviously, we've won games at home and we've lost them on the road. Of course both guys are good players, but we're still trying to figure ourselves out. At this point I know that it was good to see them back in uniform.

(on what he means by 'we're still trying to figure ourselves out')

What I mean is we haven't won a game on the road. We've won all the games at home. We need to figure ourselves out from that standpoint and be a little more consistent in our play, regardless of venue.

(on diagnosing the problems in their road losses)

It's just making the necessary plays, particularly at critical points in the game to get a victory.

(on if this game still has the feeling of a division rivalry)

I wasn't a part of this thing going back to the days when they were division foes, so it's not that for me. I'd imagine there aren't many people on either side of it that have that type of exposure or experience. That's just the nature of the continual evolution of football. I don't know that it has that kind of divisional feel. That's been some years now.

(on how different of a team the Steelers are without Troy Polamalu)

We're not a different team schematically, but we acknowledge that Troy (Polamalu) is a special player that is capable of doing special things. Ryan (Mundy) has served us well and has been above the line in his performance, but obviously if we have an opportunity to have Troy, we'd be excited about that.

(on if he expects that LaMarr Woodley will play on Thursday)

We don't know yet.

(on if the team will practice on Tuesday)

We practice today, but we haven't yet.

(on the play of Lawrence Timmons on Sunday)

Lawrence (Timmons) has been a consistent player for us for some time now. Last year those guys missed quite a bit of time, so he even played outside (linebacker) some. We come to expect that from Lawrence. We're not surprised by what he is capable of.

(on if tackling has gotten sloppier with teams only being allowed to practice in pads once a week)

I'm not ready to say that yet. I will acknowledge that if you do have a tackling problem, it's probably more difficult to fix under these rules. The season is so early, I'm not ready to say that tackling has been poor.

(on how much only being able to practice in pads once a week changes things over the years)

I just think that it limits your ability to make adjustments based on what it is you need to do for your team. What I mean is if your pad level is high, you have limited opportunity to lower your pad level through physical reps at practice because you have limited padded practices. If you're not tackling or hitting in a manner you're comfortable with, you have limited opportunity to make those adjustments. But again, it's such an early portion of the season that I doubt that those discussions have been had in many cities at this junction.

(on if it's harder now to be a dominating defense than it was 10 years ago)

I don't think it's any more difficult. I think it's all relative, and what I mean is relatively to the other people. From that standpoint, it hasn't changed. Obviously, with the point of emphasis regarding player safety and the way the game is ruled has changed the nature of defensive impact, but it's been the same for all teams. So really, the ways in which you distinguish yourself are the same.

(on if it's easier to be a good offensive team because of those rule changes)

If you have a quality quarterback and some weapons, but that's not easy to come by. Any way you slice it, this business has its challenges. We all have to make decisions in terms of how to slice the pie. The big thing is to do what caters to your people.

(on if he thinks the Titans offense is likely to click more with Matt Hasselbeck making his second straight start)

Again, I would assume that that's the case, but I'm not a part of their group. I don't know what their mentality is. But obviously, if you get an opportunity to practice and work under the conditions in which you're going to play, I think as those opportunities increase, probably so does your performance.

(on if the Steelers are focusing on Matt Hasselbeck's game against the Vikings or film from the 2011 season while trying to prepare for Thursday's game)

We played him firsthand last year, so that's going to be valuable tape for us.

(on if Chris Johnson looks like the same player the Steelers played against in 2011)

I think he does in that any time he touches the ball, he's capable of ringing up the scoreboard. When you're playing guys like that, you have to have a level of respect for what they're capable of, regardless of what is going on with presence circumstances. He's one snap away from righting that thing, and we just don't want it to be us. We respect what he's capable of from that standpoint, so we just have to be on the screws. We felt like we were holding him down pretty good down there in 2010, and he went 85 yards on us on one snap. Thankfully, the play was called back, but that's just a little insight in terms of how he's able to get you. We respect that.

(on if Nate Washington has changed since he played in Pittsburgh)

Doesn't appear so. We love Nate (Washington), and have a great deal of respect for him and happy for how his career has developed. He's a heck of a guy, a hard worker and a good player.

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