Steelers quotebook: Mike Tomlin

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin addresses fourth down call, injuries, more.

MIKE TOMLIN

I'd like to congratulate Coach Coughlin and the New York Giants. That is a championship caliber football team, not only from a talent standpoint. They showed great football character. They fought. I thought our team fought. They made more plays than we did, quite simply. We came up short. We'll accept that and we'll take this as a learning experience. It doesn't go down easy. It's tough to swallow. But we will, and we'll march forward as a team and get ready for the Washington Redskins.

Q: What about the long-snapper situation? Why James Harrison?

Greg Warren tore his left ACL, so he's out. Nobody has two long-snappers on their team. What you have after that are emergency snappers. James Harrison was identified as the lead candidate in that regard; James Farrior is after him. We got some snaps on the sideline, felt comfortable, reduced the depth of our punter to 13 yards so accuracy would be less an issue, and we weren't able to execute. I take my hats off to James Harrison for stepping up and volunteering and being pumped about snapping that football. We just weren't able to get it done.

Q: Is that why you went for it on fourth down and 5?

Absolutely. That was on the edge of our limits, and when you have a backup snapper in there you worry about operation time. You knew they would come after it. I just didn't feel comfortable putting whoever we'd put out there in that situation.

Q: Why don't centers do that?

There is a big difference between shotgun snapping and punt snapping.

Q: How about the other injuries?

The only other one that I have information on is Ryan Clark. He has a right shoulder dislocation or something. It's back in place, but I don't know how much time that will entail.

Q: Ben Roethlisberger threw four interceptions. What are your thoughts on his performance?

More than anything, particularly in the first half, they were picks, meaning that you have to give credit to the New York Giants. They flashed in the window and made a play. Really that's the story of the first half. I thought it was evenly fought. We played the half on our side of the field because of the turnovers. Our defense did an awesome job keeping them out of the end zone. We were able to go in at halftime at 9-7. We got a big play with the big pass. The bottom line is they made more plays than we did. I don't want to sugarcoat it any way. Anything other than that would be a discredit to their performance.

Q: Did the loss of Santonio Holmes affect the team?

No. You know our feelings in regard to that. The 11 on the field represent us. The standard of expectation doesn't change. It's not a cliché. We will never waver in regards to that. That punt team on the field that produced the safety was our punt team. I got no clearer way to explain it than that.

Q: Could you talk about Aaron Smith playing after missing practices for personal reasons?

Aaron showed up at the stadium and wanted to play; we wanted to provide him that opportunity. We have a great deal of respect for that man, that professional. It was great to see him.

Q: What does the immediate future hold for Santonio?

I'm going to visit with Santonio tomorrow morning.


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