Coach Speak: Mike Tomlin and Pete Carroll on Sunday’s Game at Pittsburgh

Two of the longest tenured coaches with their current clubs will duke it out Sunday morning at Heinz Field when the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) host the Seattle Seahawks (1-1). Steelers head  coach Mike Tomlin is in his  twelfth year with the Steelers while the Seahawks Pete Carroll is in his ninth year with the team. Both coaches have a Superbowl ring and are two of the most respected leaders in their profession.

New England’s Bill Belichick, who has led the Patriots since 2000, is the league’s longest-tenured coach, followed by the New Orlean Saints Payton (2006), Tomlin (2007), Baltimore’s John Harbaugh (2008), and Carroll and Dallas’ Jason Garrett (2010).


On how he rebounds after what happened on Sunday Night) 

“Just get back to work.  First is an acknowledgement of our familiars and charting a course to rectify that and getting back to work. It’s a good day for us to do that. We just had walkthroughs and we are about to have practice in a few minutes. We just need to get singly focused on the next opportunity. You can waste a lot of time looking in your rearview. You better do it enough to learn from it, but you can’t dwell in that space and we don’t have any intentions of doing that.”
(On if has JuJu Smith-Schuster faced more double teaming since Antonio Brown has left) 

“He’s used to that. He faced double teams a year ago. A lot of people use double the stars, they’re capable of doubling two people on possession-like situations. That was often a tactic that was employed against us a year ago where they doubled him and Antonio. Him facing double teams particularly in situational football is not anything new. That’s why it’s important to strengthen ourselves as a collective unit then we are simply going to distribute the ball where the coverage tells us to and know that JuJu is going to get his opportunity to be impactful in the long run.”
(On what did he see from the Seahawks’ front seven with Jadeveon Clowney) 

“I’ve not only looked at what they’ve done versus Cincinnati, but just their larger body of work even going back in the last year and they’re a disruptive group. Clowney is a new required piece to that group. That group needs to be disruptive. I know how they approach defensive play. They had Frank Clark last year in a similar role. They play a lot of people. I’ve been really impressed with Quinton Jefferson on the interior. Pittsburgh kid, Woodland Hills guy. Really been impressed with how his game has developed. I just have a lot of respect not only for the players that play within that group, but schematically an approach to defensive play.”
(On what he thinks of Pete Carroll and how both have a long tenure as an NFL coach) 

“Man, I’ve got a lot of respect and admiration for Pete. It’s funny, one of his best professional friends is Monte Kiffin. I worked for Monte almost 20 years ago. Monte and I, we’d go out and visit with him when he was the head coach at Southern Cal and talked defensive football and secondary play specifically. It’s always been a good and informational relationship.”
(On what goes into have a long career in the NFL in a position that normally sees a lot of turnover)  “Winning.”
(On if he has familiarity with Quinton Jefferson) 

“I’m a fan of Pittsburgh high school football. I think anybody that lives in western PA is. I’ve been going to high school football games the entire time I’ve been here. Got a lot of appreciation for the guys who have come through this area and ascending within the professional ranks.”
(On if Quinton has done something different that made him successful Sunday) 

“No, I’m talking big picture. We brought him in in the pre-draft visit when he came out of the University of Maryland. I’m very familiar with the long-term growth and development having watched him in high school, etc. That wasn’t just last week.”
(On what David DeCastro has been for them the past couple years)  “It’s really simple when you talk about David DeCastro. He’s highly productive and consistent, and extremely low maintenance. Those were the attributes.”
(On where he was with DK Metcalf in the pre-draft process)  “I have a lot of respect for his talents.”


On what he remembers of a young Mike Tomlin when he used to visit at USC) 

“He’s just always a really good guy. I know[Monte] Kiffin thought the world of him and that’s all I needed t hear. I didn’t know Mike much other than through his reputation and then everything else is just jumped off the charts about the kind of guy he is and the coach that he is and how he’s effected the league. He’s been such a great, positive influence to so many guys.”
(On what makes coaches like him and Tomlin successful in a position that has a lot of turnover)

  “Well, I think it’s being able to be consistent and find the consistency where the people around you can count on you. Mike’s been nothing but that. He’s been great, done everything. To be consistent, you kind of have to have your philosophy in order, you’ve got to have your principles in order so that you can keep coming back to it. If you’re flip-flopping and changing and you’re some style this year and another style another year, you’re likely going to stumble and get into trouble. Just think about, like I just said, it’s Ben, it’s their style of play, it’s their defense, it’s always been tough and physical. They’ve been consistent throughout.”
(On how appreciative he is that in this business, both him and John Schneider have had the same regime for a decade)

  “Yeah, this has been a very fortunate opportunity for us, for both of us. To be with the Allen family and consistently stay together with these guys and their representing here. It’s been a great opportunity for us, and I’m thrilled that this happened. I had no idea that this would be what happened when we went to the league again. Honestly, I thought it would be a lot different.

I’m real proud of it. I’m proud both of how we’ve represented but also how we’ve been able to stay consistent with what we believe in and John has been awesome to be together with. We’re still clawing and scratching every day for every opportunity that comes and we’re not one bit different in that regard. I think it gives us a chance to stay in good shape and have a chance to win every year.”
(On how he thought it would go) 

“I didn’t think these guys would want me to stay here this long. It was hard enough coming from SC and they had to put up with that right off the bat.”
(On how he prepares for a quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger) 

“Well, part of it is, we’ve all studied him forever and he’s such a unique talent. There’s nobody like him. He’s so resourceful and so competitive and so talented too and just so unique that we know what we are up against. We know what we’re playing against. It’s trying to find a way to stop him. What he’s done remarkable for years and years is to get out of trouble and find a receiver or find the second or third choice and make something happen and really just break your back with big plays in that fashion.

He’s an unusual guy, he’s hard to sack, he’s hard to get off his feet. He just has a great confidence and presence in the sense that just makes him Big Ben. It’s really, I love these opportunities because he’s such a classic and hopefully we can play a good game against him.”
(On if Justin Britt was working through something during Sunday’s game) 

He was pretty sore, yeah. He got banged pretty good. It was great that he stayed out and played the game for us. He’s a little gimpy today, but he’ll do some stuff today. He got wacked pretty good.”
(On what he thought of the pass protection during Sunday’s game) 

“We weren’t as consistent at all as we had hoped to be. We thought we would be better in our stuff and play passes and all. We got some penetration. We had knocked back on some edges and it just wasn’t as clean as we anticipated. They did a nice job and we needed to do better and so we’ll work real hard to get it back because we need all of that to have the offense we want to have rolling out there.”
(On Justin is in danger of not playing on Sunday) 

“No. Not in my mind. I am kind of optimistic though.”
(On where Jamar Taylor fits into things) 

“He goes right back to into the nickel spot and competing at that spot. Ugo [Amadi] took a big shot too and not sure how he’ll come back . He sounds really good. He’s going to go today in practice, but we’re just concerned about that.”
(On if Jamar Taylor having played against Pittsburgh before was a factor in bringing him back) 

“Not a factor, no.”
(On what it is about Jamar that made him want to bring him back) 

“He made a great impression with us. He practiced great, he was smart, he brought experience with a young group. You could feel it. He’s really fast. He’s tough and he fit through the scheme well. He did a nice job. Could’ve easily been here on day one, we just made the choice the way we did. We feel fortunate to get him back.”
(On if Ugo’s injury was when Bradley McDougald ran into him)  “Yeah, banged his shoulder. He’s going to be limited but he’ll be out there today.”
(On how Will Dissly is doing) 

“He’s good. He should be okay. He’s practicing today.”
(On Poona Ford) 

“Poona got a calf strain that we have to monitor. He wants to go but we are going to hold him back today and just go one day at a time and see how it goes.”
(On Neiko Thorpe) 

Neiko got a hammy. Hamstrings and ankles. We need to see how that’s going to go. That’s pretty hard to get back in the position that he plays and the way he plays. That’s not to say Poona’s calf isn’t really big. It’s a big issue for him. We’ll see”
(On the plan for Ziggy Ansah) 

“One day at a time. He’ll practice today and go one day at a time.”
(On if he views left guard as an open competition or if he believes that is Mike Iupati’s job) 

“It’s Mike’s job. We feel Mike has earned that. He’ll jump back in. Ethan’s [Pocic] done a great job of filling in for quite awhile now. We’re really confident in him playing there. It’s a boost to us that we know we have a couple guys that can start. Really anxious to get Mike back in there. He’s dying to play and so we look forward to that.”
(On Joey Hunt)  “He ran today, which is a big step forward. Joey’s just not taking this injury well at all. He’s fighting his way right back through it. He’s going to be way ahead of schedule.”
(On where he sees Rasheem Green fitting into the defense) 

“Well, he’s playing both end spots and he’s playing inside on the pass rush too. He can play anything for us right now. He’s really well versed. He played well. He had two great rushes at the end of the game to finish it off. We’re really excited that the whole group is kind of elevating.

Q Jeff [Quinton Jefferson] had a really big game and Branden Jackson played well. This week, we’ll see L.J [Collier] practice full this week so he’ll be in the competition to see where he fits. I don’t know how that’s going to work out yet. I think it’s an elevating group and we’re going to miss Poona if he can’t get through to the week.

Al Woods had a really nice game. The whole group did well. I though Quinton did a great job of rotating those guys. As a matter of fact, Jadeveon [Clowney] said he’d never been rotated like that before. He’d never played in a game where he felt that fresh throughout the game. That was due to the rotation. That’s kind of how we’ll continue to play. We’ve always loved doing that.”
(On if Quinton taking a step up starting this season) 

“Without question. That was a great game. He was so close to having more numbers too. He just missed a sack there late. Had another one, almost knocked another ball down, it was right in the face of the quarterback. He has played a great football game and we’re thrilled, just thrilled that that’s what he was able to bring. He has flexibility that we can move him around as well. He can play inside and outside as you saw. It just like, it kind of came together.

We’ve seen him all throughout the off season with a lot of confidence. He’s felt really good about his chances to be a factor. Through camp, he was good. It’s just a real good accomplishment for him and hopefully we can take off and see it again.”
(On what Clowney has brought to the team off the field) 

“I think it’s worth remarking that he’s been great about attitude wise and his mentality has been great. He’s been upbeat and positive. He’s been very oriented to not trying to be in the limelight front of it all. He’s been very humble about the way he’s taken to the approach.

I couldn’t ask for more. He’s been fun. Fun to have around and he’s worked hard and met in the meeting rooms extra. He’s done everything. He was really happy about being here. You can tell just in hi demeanor and all that. He’s been really great. I think it’s worth noting because it’s obvious that he’s been so positively good.”
(On what he saw from L.J. up until the point when he got hurt)  

“All that was really notable was that he was in way better shape than he was when he showed up in the offseason in April. He really had a good offseason. The last six weeks he really benefited from. He was stronger and quicker and lighter in every aspect of his movement and all that, which showed a little bit differently. He’s off to a great start and that was a great indication. He’s worked really hard right now.

He has jumped back ahead of schedule here with a chance to maybe even play this week. It’s been very upbeat. The guys get through that whole process of going through the draft and all that. It can take a lot out of them where they don’t get to focus on their work outside. They’re  not quite as well-conditioned as they’d like to be, and they jump in here and they’re catching up the whole time. He did a great job in the time away and came back better than before.”
(On if he sat down with Quinton and talked to him about how he has a lot going on after coming off a big game and going home to Pittsburgh) 

“Yeah. As a matter of fact, we already kind of started talking about that. I think it’s worth it. Any time there’s a glaring variable that could be a factor, it’s worth addressing and trying to just minimize the factor of that. I’m not one ever one to think okay, he’s going to be really fired up now and he’s going to play better.

I don’t think that. I don’t want him to not screw it up by trying too hard, trying to make a point, trying to see too many people, trying to be everything for everybody and that can make it harder on the guy. Just want it to be a normal practice and play like he prepares. That’s kind of what the conversation is like.”
(On when it became obvious that Al Woods was going to play, did his role or approach to anything have to change) 

“No. I didn’t see anything, we brought him in here to play. We’re running here thinking he’s going to play. Really, we brought him in with the thought that, like we have been in the past, we’ve always liked him in the big three technique and he’s huge.

His spirit for the game, his willingness to run around and chase the football with the big man is all you can hope for. We have thought of him as, okay he’s going to play on the early downs for sure, maybe not necessarily in the nickel groups. He’s done everything we needed to see. He had some big plays, big stops last week again. Real positive.”
(On how he uses the tape from the Steelers game on Sunday night with not a lot going right for them) 

“First off, I think New England was being New England, I thought they looked great. They looked great in all phases. They stopped them on defense, their teams were solid. They moved the ball, throwing the ball a lot. They did a great job of throwing the ball and protecting the quarterback. It was like, whoever they played was going to have problems.

We’re going to the next game. They’re coming home and they’re hurt a little bit by that one. They’re going to come flying back. It’s Mike’s team. They’re going come firing back at us. It’s nothing too outrageous that you judge from that affect. I think that they’ll be flying and all that and we’re going to expect them at their best.”

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