Tomlin Talks Steelers’ Defense

By: Jessica Costello


In an interview on, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin, talked about the team’s third-down defense last Sunday against the Eagles.

“We just didn’t do a good job of controlling the circumstances, and really some of the circumstances were advantageous to us, meaning third-and-long (situations),” said Coach Mike Tomlin during his weekly news conference on Tuesday at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex. “The big play popped by Miles Sanders, first you have to give kudos to him, but they ran a draw play on third-and-9 into the teeth of a blitz, and we had unblocked people at the point of attack.”

The Steelers’ defense created two three-and-outs on the two first possessions by the Eagles. On the other side of the ball, the offense drove 62 yards on 14 plays. On the Eagles’ third possession at third-and-9, the game changed.

“We just have to make those plays, and sometimes the process of learning is not an alteration of what it is we do in preparation, or even the level of attention to detail in terms of our play. It’s just an acknowledgment that in those weighty moments you have to make those tackles, you have to make the catch, you have to make the significant block. Sometimes through the course of this journey there are some negative experiences along those lines and they just provide reinforcements to things that we already know. There may not be any adjustment moving forward except an acknowledgment of how miserable it is. That play changed the trajectory of the day for them and for us, particularly as it pertained to those possession downs, and it made it tough sledding along the way.”

Pittsburgh’s third-down defense has been a topic of discussion for Tomlin.

“Some of the issues aren’t issues,” said Tomlin. “Some of the issues are that No. 13 (Travis Fulgham) was making some combat catches and you have to acknowledge that. A couple of those conversions were thrown into tight coverages and were great throws. That one down the middle of the field, we were in two-deep, man-under, and Mike Hilton was in close proximity to (Fulgham), and he made a combat catch down the middle of the field running blind. You have to respect that. He made a circus, jump-catch in front of our bench with Steve Nelson draped all over him and challenging the catch from start to finish.

“It’s not always something that you have to fix,” added Tomlin, “and that’s what I meant when I said earlier that sometimes it’s just an acknowledgment that they work, that they have a plan, that they have quality players who are capable of making plays, and sometimes they’re going to make a play and you have to roll up your sleeves and fight on. It’s good to see our group gain that understanding. Everything doesn’t require a meeting or a dry-erase board or an adjustment. Sometimes it’s just, get back out there and fight. And there was some of that. If I didn’t acknowledge that, I’d be doing the Philadelphia Eagles a disservice.”


Let us know what you think in the comments section below, Steeler Nation. Does the team have issues on the defensive side of the ball?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *