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Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin - 10/31

Q: When you look at the Giants' offense, what do you think are the biggest challenges for your defense on Sunday?
A: I think their play-action pass game is very good. I think Eli throws a very good deep ball. He puts the ball in very playable positions and I think their wideouts, the entire group collectively, do a nice job of making plays on balls down the field. It's all of them. It's Cruz, it's Nicks, it's Hixon, even Barden and others when given an opportunity. I think that's a challenge, because when you get yards in chunks that eliminates a lot of execution.

Q: Tom Coughlin told us this morning that one thing he's seen in Ben is he's not forcing throws and throwing interceptions. I'm just wondering from your standpoint was that a consciously corrected thing this offseason? How do you respond to an opposing coach making that observation?
A: He's never thrown a lot. He's just utilizing his weapons and throwing the ball to the open man. If you just look at our distribution of passes, I think it's obvious that more than anything, he's taking what's been given to him, which is smart football.

Q: Your running game is starting to come on a little bit. Is this something you stressed over the bye week?
A: No. I just think it's that time of year, where you're starting to see the fruits of your labor. We're starting to gel and maybe our personality is revealing itself. Obviously, this challenge in front of us this week is going to be a big component of that and we've got to keep the ball rolling in a positive manner.

Q: What do you make of a guy like Stevie Brown who hasn't gotten a ton of opportunities, but has been on a bit of a turnover tear when a guy has a knack for the ball like that?
A: I think that's just professional football. I think there's a fine line between being a back-up and a Pro Bowler, if you will. Sometimes, it's just about opportunities. I always enjoy seeing guys take advantage of opportunities that the game presents. Whether it's Stevie Brown or Jonathan Dwyer, I just think that those stories are in front of us on a week-in and week-out basis, if we're open to them.

Q: The Giants' pass defense gave up some big plays last week. Watching the film, do you see an opportunity there?
A: We probably tend to focus on more of what we're capable of doing and playing to our strengths, as opposed to how others did against an opponent. We take into account what we look at on tape, but at the same time, just because others had success in that area doesn't mean that we are. We're just looking to maximize who we are, what we're capable of doing and stay within ourselves.

Q: Can you talk about comparing and contrasting between Ben and Eli with both of them coming out at the same time and having similar results.
A: The big thing is I think it's a fair assessment to call both of them winners. Both guys have been to the big dance and delivered. That's what this profession is about. That's what that position, particularly, is about. That's how they've managed. I think both guys have a keen understanding of that and are motivated by that.

Q: Ben said he kind of follows what Eli does, and he wants their quarterback class to be one of the best of all time. How do you think that quarterback class stacks up, so far?
A: I think they're still writing the story. Those guys are at a sweet point in their careers, where they're both experienced and still in their primes. I'm sure they're excited about continuing to write that script.

Q: They only meet each other every four years, being in different conferences. Do you think if the Steelers and Giants played more often, they could be a Brady-Peyton type of rivalry?
A: I'm sure, just given the resumes of both men.

Q: Is it something as a football fan, you might want to see?
A: Not personally. No.

Q: I didn't say as a coach, but as a fan.
A: I can't take that coaching hat off.

Q: What is your relationship with Tom like? You both have a lot of success in recent years as head coaches.
A: I really enjoy Coach Coughlin. We get a chance to spend some time together at owners' meetings and so forth. He's been very encouraging to me, as his wife has to my wife. I just appreciate that veteran presence and that welcoming feeling that they've always given me and my wife when we ran across them in recent years.

Q: This season, you've had this "win one, lose one, win one, lose one." You finally put a couple in a row together. Are you thinking that the team has turned the corner?
A: You know, I think we're writing that story and that's okay. We're at that time of year, when good teams start to take form and show what they're capable of on a consistent basis and we need to do that. I think, as opposed to trying to feel something that may or may not be there, I think that's a story that we need to write over the next couple of weeks.

Q: I've read in your local media that some of your defensive players are kind of saying that they're not old anymore.  I guess they're giving a hint to their motivation, as the season has gone along. Are you sensitive to that? Or are you aware that your veterans are a little bit sensitive to that idea that they were considered old earlier in the season?
A: I don't think our guys are sensitive to that at all. I think they get asked that question a bunch and they provide quotes relative to that answer. We are what we are. We don't worry about that perspective, to be honest with you.

Q: Do you worry about Polamalu's future at all?
A: Right now, I'm just focused on the guys that are healthy and playing and their preparation. Obviously, Troy is a big component of what we're doing, but on a week-to-week basis, we make determinations based on the guys that are going to be available to us. Unfortunately, right now, he's not. So, I haven't pondered a lot about big picture things. We kind of live in the moment.

Q: How about Ryan Clark?
A: Ryan's practicing today.

Q: Do you look at yourselves and the Giants as similar franchises?  Perhaps, those that do things the same way and have some similarities, both personnel-wise and also in your success?
A: I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it. I obviously see potentially how one could talk about some of the similarities. We don't play them that often. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about comparing the programs.

Q: What do you think about your team's struggles on the road this year?
A: We haven't played consistently well.

Q: You don't want to expand on that?
A: That's what it is. I don't necessarily want to equate it to venue, but I don't think we've been consistent in performance. Thankfully, in recent weeks, I think we are moving in the right direction in that regard. We'll continue to write that story as we move forward. This is a big challenge in front of us this week.


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