Post-game with Mike Tomlin

Mike Tomlin became the first Steelers coach in 50 years to win his preseason debut. Buddy Parker coached the Steelers to a win over the Philadelphia Eagles on the Sunday after he replaced Walt Kiesling as head coach in the middle of the 1957 preseason. Here's Mike:

Mike Tomlin, head coach, Pittsburgh Steelers

We had a good first step tonight. I thought we did some things well, particularly third-down defense there early on. When we had our first unit in, we got off the field. Need to do that. Got some big plays, some chunks. I would like to see us run the ball a little bit more efficiently with our first offense. The stat total wasn't indicative of how we ran the ball. Our young guys got some big chunks. We got some things going in that area but we need to do better. I expected us to be a little bit better in that area. Gave up three sacks there at the end of the first quarter. All in all, we're not going to judge it emotionally tonight. I thought the effort was good. I thought guys competed. We'll come back and evaluate it tomorrow, when emotions are down a little bit, and make the proper corrections and move on. Again, we're a developing football team. It was a good step tonight; see a different team, saw some guys we weren't familiar with, and I thought they handled themselves overall relatively well. I'll answer any questions.

What was the first game like for you emotionally?

I really kind of took myself out of it. I was really just focusing on creating an environment where everybody – players and coaches – got what they needed to do. When you do that you kind of get your job done in the process.

Did Cedrick Wilson talk to some people about getting the ball?

Oh, boy, I'll tell you what: You guys don't let old dogs lie. No, Ced's a guy who's capable of making plays. We called his number a few times tonight. He delivered. That's what it is: It's not necessarily about the number of opportunities you get, it's about what you do with them when you get them. I know that he understands that.

Your depth chart continues to list Santonio Holmes No. 1 and Ced continues to start. Why?

Yeah, but you know Santonio missed a significant amount of time and Ced's been delivering for us. But there's plenty of time to let that sort itself out. We did play Ced in front of him tonight. We thought he was deserving of that given the time that was missed. But that's just the nature of football and injuries. Somebody else's misfortunes creates opportunities for others and he took advantage of it tonight. We'll put one foot in front of the other and see where we are next week.

Nate Washington dropped a couple of passes. He dropped several last season. Do you see that as a potential problem?

Again, I'm not going to pass judgment on these guys over what's happened in the past. It was a problem tonight. We'd like to make that disappear and hopefully next week it will.

What were you looking for from LaMarr Woodley tonight and what did you see?

I just wanted to see if he could play a conditioned game because I knew he was going to have to get more snaps probably than most. I think he held up relatively well from that standpoint. He was able to play quite a few snaps. It felt like he was solid, but nothing stood out positively or negatively, so we'll take a look at the tape and grade him and see where he is technically.

What did you think of the play where he dropped and broke up a pass 14 yards down the field?

It was a good play.

Was there a question in your mind about his ability to drop as a converted defensive end?

No. From a reputation standpoint you worried about that when we drafted him but nothing he has done to this point has showed us that he's incapable of doing that. He made those kind of plays in OTAs and minicamps. He's not a fish out of water on his feet and in coverage.

Did Carey Davis show you anything?

He did. He did. He shows me he needs to do a little more conditioning. He got tired after that long run. But, no, in all seriousness I thought he ran hard. He ran downhill, as did Gary Russell. But we'll continue to move forward.

Did you want to see Max Starks on the left side?

Yes. We got Max some snaps over on the left side. At this point he is a swing tackle for us, a guy that's capable of playing both right and left. We're just continuing to work on our position flexibility; the more that we can do. We understand that things are going to happen. This is the National Football League and football season. Guys need to be able to play multiple positions and handle multiple jobs. He's one of them, and really that's kind of a big one, talking about a guy being able to slide over and play left tackle in a football game. Thankfully we were able to get him a snap or two against their really good end, Will Smith. That was important.

Any injuries?

Nothing significant at this point that I know of. It's really a blessed evening to come in here and get out basically injury free. But you know how it is: Overnight something may happen to somebody and we may get a report of somebody in the morning, but at this point we're pretty clean.

Clint Kriewaldt?

We held Clint (out) tonight. He's still less than a hundred percent. Whether he's capable to go under other circumstances, I don't know, but I think it was a smart thing to do today. We'll get him going fresh next week after about four days rest. Hopefully he can come back next week and keep moving forward.

Did he get dinged last week?

Yes, it's in the area of the shoulder, but not anything to do with what happened to him last year, as far as I know. He wanted to practice, so we let him practice, but we protected him a little bit in practice last week and felt like it was the smart thing to do to protect him, because we know that he's going to go full speed. He was susceptible to injury tonight based on the circumstance.

Sean Mahan didn't make the game?

No, Sean, again like we stated the other day, has had a family emergency. It's an excused absence. When he gets back he gets back. He has our thoughts and prayers and support.

Was the passing game crisper than you thought it would be?

No. We've had some chunks here in training camp. We've hit some chunks and some big plays. We moved the ball pretty efficiently, particularly with our first and second units, so that wasn't a surprise at all.

Was it nice to see Holmes throw a block downfield?

Hey, I'm not going to pat him on the back for doing his job, man. We've got to block downfield because we want to be a big-play offense. Hats off to him for doing it. Nate Washington got out in front of Carey, but that's what they're supposed to do.

Was Ben Roethlisberger's short night the plan going in?

The fact that he scored that quick helped. Had we had a three-and-out he probably would've been back in there. But he's having a good preseason. It was good to get out, make a couple throws, move the offense down the field. We went 80 there in six plays, so we wanted to look at other people.

Understanding that you didn't want to make it about yourself, did you take a moment?

I did there briefly I guess when I was talking to Deion (Sanders) right before the kickoff. That was unique. I'd never given an interview right before kickoff, so that's probably the only thing new and exciting that happened to me tonight, interviewed 30 seconds before kickoff, but, no. Maybe I'll be more excited next month. I'm sure that I will when we open in Cleveland, but really, tonight it was all about seeing this team take the next step in its development.

Did you argue with the refs at all?

I did. I did. But, believe me, that's nothing new. I've been doing that as an assistant, the only difference is I had a boss who used to tell me to shut up.

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