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Tomlin Q&A


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Steelers coach Mike Tomlin chatted with reporters for almost an hour Tuesday at an AFC coaches breakfast. What follows is his take on a number of subjects, including the AFC North, Todd Haley and the Steelers’ running backs.

Q: Is the offense, and how it will look under Todd Haley, coming more into focus?
A: It is. It’s been fun. He is very flexible and very sound in his approach. We’ve had awesome discussions in terms of building it, but as I always say, and it will be the case, we are going to build our attack around the strengths of our men. Ben Roethlisberger is a talented guy. We have talented receivers. We have an interesting group of running back prospects. We are putting together an offensive line. We are laying down the fundamental bases of how we are going to approach what is going to be good for us, regardless of circumstances. I really think some of the personality things, some of the things that will capture people’s attentions, have yet to be discovered because of roles and so forth. We are having fun. We’ve had some good discussions. He has really brought some awesome ideas and approaches to the group.

Q: What made Todd Haley the right person for this job?
A: First and foremost, I’ve always respected him as an offensive-minded football coach and play caller. I had the opportunity to compete against him, not only since I’ve been here in Pittsburgh but even as far back as coming into the league when I was a secondary coach and he was a wide receiver coach, and we were in the same division. I was in Tampa Bay, and he was in Chicago. We go back as far as 2001 in that regard. The most significant thing for me was when I started the process of visiting with him. The first time we sat down in Mobile, Alabama, his genuine love for Pittsburgh, the way he embraces the standard that is the Pittsburgh Steelers, that’s something you can’t quantify. That’s an intangible that is going to help us, when somebody legitimately understands and embraces what comes with being a part of our organization. I think it’s a leg up. I saw some of those same things with Carnell Lake a year ago. I am always going to be attracted to that, because this is a unique place. I want men who embrace the legacy.

Q: What are your thoughts on the AFC North?
A: I take a great deal of pride in being in what we believe is the toughest division in football. I think the way the defenses play represent that. There is some young exciting offensive talent in our division. The quarterback and receiver, of course, in Cincinnati making a lot of noise. But I think each year we’ve all got a lot to prove. There’s some familiarity there. I think we’ve got some stability within our division with coaches that have been around for awhile. It makes it exciting, it makes it competitive, I think it makes it great for our fans.

Q: Do you have an update on running backs coach Kirby Wilson (Note: Wilson, who was severely burned in a fire in early January was released from the hospital over a week ago)?
A: I think progress is good. We are of course excited about it. He is attacking the rehabilitation. He is an extremely tough guy, an extremely blessed guy and we are excited about getting him back at some point.

Q: With Rashard Mendenhall likely to open the season on the PUP list, are you looking for anyone to emerge at running back?
A: The great thing about it is that I like all the men. When given the opportunity, they’ve all shown that they are capable of being reasons why we win, and not guys that we win in spite of. Isaac Redman has proven that he is a legitimate NFL running back. He is not an unknown commodity. Jonathan Dwyer has been in our program for a number of years now. He had a 100-yard game a year ago. We all are excited about Baron Batch. We saw him in Latrobe a year ago. He’s a young guy who hasn’t done it inside stadiums in a regular season setting, and he is coming off an injury, but we saw enough there in terms of his competitive spirit and skills. John Clay got an opportunity and all he did was score the first time he touched the ball in the NFL. He needs to embrace that it’s not going to be that easy moving forward.

— Scott Brown



  1. Scott P says:

    I like the running back situation WITHOUT Mendenhall.

  2. zarbor says:

    The focus should be on fixing that awful O-line. Its definitely offensive. I believe that as long as you have a very good line, you don’t need a star running back to get the job done. Not a Mendy fan at all with his ballet style especially since he fumbles as well. I think the guys behind (though not great) can definitely do the work.

  3. Carmen M says:

    Brandon Jacobs signed with the 49’ers.
    Why am I so concerned with running back situation. Still remember how Amos Zerowe beat out Bettis and??……. How confident can you be with inexperieced runners coming off surgery?

    He could have helped.

  4. james says:

    we need o-linemen & d-linemen, who do you guys like in the 1st round of the draft, for the steelers??

  5. bob luketic says:

    they need to get brandon jacobs..the running game really hasnt been too awful great since bettis retired.

  6. Imp'n'Arn says:

    All is well in Steelers land.

  7. Sweet Williams says:

    The Steelers really need a left tackle and left guard on offensive. The D-line with Ziggy and Hayward is young and will do great. Middle guard or Nose tackle has no problems either. Lets get an O-line together to help Ben out and we should be ready. I don’t see any weaknesses on the offense. Don’t get me wrong, there is always room for improvement and if the right person comes along and we can get him without breaking the bank, lets go for it. But the Steelers are ready and will fly with the best of them.

    Ready for the season

  8. Sweet Williams says:


    Brandon Jacobs was a HUGH load of a running back, but the man had NO backbone. Why do you think the Giants let him go?? He did not start for them. He was a positional player who played a down or two each series. Millions for a player that don’t play every down, forget it. Yes,,, we have positional backs also. But as BIG as Brandon is, he could be a lot better. Let the backs on the Steelers work it out and when regular season gets here, lets devide the boys from the men and have at it. Every team needs a couple running backs these days and the Steelers were not able to put out the kind of money he required to be on their team. We need players that will work when they have a hang nail pulled out or a bad hair day. The Steelers have let playes go players that don’t want to play and will again. They want players that love the game and are willing to do what it takes to win.

  9. David says:

    yeah we saw how Amos got, he didn’t even get a touch in superbowl 43…..shows you how much one player can really show a ghost if you will then bust when it counted, he was week going through the tackles, bettis was fearless!….

  10. Imp'n'Arn says:

    Jack Lambert body-slams Cowboy Cliff Harris in Superbowl. No penalty. Aaaaaaahh.
    Those were the days.

    Sorry, I was just reminiscing during a slow blog period.

  11. jason says:

    cliff harris is still a punk!

  12. zarbor says:

    Those of you who claimed we should have gotten Brandon Jacobs must not have been watching him play the last few years. He’s a head case first and furthermost that we really don’t need on the team.

    Then its his production which was spotty at best since he got that injury several years ago. He’s a down hill runner who thinks he has moves like smaller backs and can get around the edges. He can’t. Then when he does run down hill, he rarely uses that big body to punish the defense. With proper coaching, he might get back to the days when he just trucked folks but I don’t have that confidence with our running backs coaches.

    Just look at Mendy, and he’s not a head case at all. No thanks on Jacobs. Could work in San Fran. Randy Moss, Vernon Davis and Brandon Jacobs in one locker room? I’m out.

  13. Supa Stillers says:

    top 3 questions:

    who is the punter this season? sepulvada has left to get injured somewhere else leaving the door open to ___________?

    can Troy stay healthy and actually do something this season?

    can we please trade Dennis Dixon for another draft pick???

    1 comment:

    bring back the square numbers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Imp'n'Arn says:


    1. Kapinos

    2. Steelers need a new training staff. Too many injuries every year.

    3. Don’t think you can trade a UFA

    Does anyone know why James Harrison is called “Deebo”? Is it like “demonic Tebow”?

  15. Al says:

    Yes, let’s bring back the square numbers!!! Can we start a petition or something? Maybe Nike will do it with Steelwrs permission. I hate the six in our number style!! Could appreciate Hines’ look because of it.

  16. David says:

    Sep left?, why……. he was a great place punter, plus i believe he could be one of those rara punters that could play an emergency quarterback,,,,, plus, every year he gets injured, we end up in the Superbowl, why would you wanna let that aspect of the game go!

  17. Carl says:

    Zarbor- Yeah, I don’t understand everyone clamoring for Jacobs either. He stinks! Plus, dude’s 30. Even if he were a future HoF’er, at 30 the end is near for a RB. I think the only reason anybody here is talking about him is that he is a big back, and they are fondly looking back to the days of the Bus just killing people as he rolls over them. Jacobs is NO WHERE near Jerome Bettis people….

    David – Like your theory on Sepulveda. Only one hole in it: Yeah, every year he got hurt, we went to the SB, but he also got hurt in the years we didn’t! Can’t actually remember a year since we drafted him that he didn’t end up on IR. It’s to bad, guy’s a damn good punter….

  18. james says:

    are we going to draft a cb? cause we lost gay, to the cardinals, or do you think we should sign asante samuel? if so how far do we have to move up and grab a guy ?

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