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24 September 2014

Week 4 Conference Call Transcripts: at Pittsburgh (9/28/14)

 
PITTSBURGH CONFERENCE CALLS WITH TAMPA BAY MEDIA
                                
HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN

 
(On the return on linebacker James Harrison and the impact he hopes Harrison will have on the field)
“It’s less about impact. I know he’s James Harrison, but he’s coming back in a different role than which he left. Here’s a guy that wasn’t in a training camp-like setting. So first and foremost, we’ve got to see what he’s capable of executing in terms of assignments and see what he remembers. He’s been gone from us for over 12 months. Obviously, his level of conditioning is going to weigh in to any amount of the participation. So it’s not as shiny as it appears, but obviously, we’re excited to have him back. It fortifies us from a depth standpoint at the outside linebacker position with a guy that we know, that knows us, that understands how we do business and is in line with us in that regard.”
 
(On what it was like for him to come into the NFL out of college and work with Tony Dungy in Tampa)
“It wasn’t anything uncomfortable about that. I’ve been in meeting rooms and dealt with guys all my life and I’ve been coaching all of my professional life. That introductory press conference, that was new. That was the first time I’ve ever had a press conference. That was interesting. I remember Joe Berry, myself and Jim Caldwell; Coach [Dungy] had an introductory press conference for all of us and we had the opportunity to speak with you guys. That was more of a concern for me than meeting and dealing with the guys.”
 
(On how his time in Tampa helped mold him into the coach that he is now)
“I was in just a great learning environment for a coach. Obviously, Coach Dungy is a great teacher and mentor, but just everyone: Rod Marinelli, Monte [Kiffin], even the offensive guys I didn’t work as closely with. We had a veteran-laden staff and they were helpful to me in terms of my personal growth and development. And it would seem like they always took a personal stake in it, which I appreciated.”
 
(On what is different about him between now and then)
“I was in my late twenties, now I’m in my early forties, so I’m probably as different as anybody between their late twenties and early forties. I’ve experienced a lot and I’ve learned from it and hopefully I’m better for it.”
 
(On how teams come back after big losses)
“I think it’s a lot easier than people realize. These guys are professional athletes because they’re capable of overcoming adversity. That’s why they’re at this level of football. There’s plenty of talented people out there; usually the ones that persevere and ascend to this level, it’s because they can overcome adversity. The big thing about this level is being able to deal with success. So it’s a natural act to respond to adversity, to bounce back from a negative performance; that’s what those guys have been doing all their life. That’s what I warned my football team against this morning. They understand and expect to get the very best of the Buccaneers, because like anybody, they’re going to bounce back and come back fighting us, just like we did the week before. We got embarrassed on Thursday Night Football against the Baltimore Ravens. It doesn’t sit well with a professional athlete, and they all better understand and recognize that.”
 
(On quarterback Mike Glennon)
“I’m just starting to familiarize myself with him. Obviously, them being an NFC team, I didn’t look at them a lot last year. We’re in the midst of that process right now. He does have long ball capabilities, he’s willing to put balls up and give those big wideouts an opportunity to make it – he’s got a legitimate rapport with Vincent Jackson. We’ve got to respect those 13 games he started a year ago. I’m sure it’s going to serve him well as he moves forward. I’m sure he’s excited about playing, I’m sure he’s got a different perspective on this opportunity having lost it in the midst of the starter this season. So we’re anticipating the very best from him. Really, I’m just beginning to familiarize myself with him and his capabilities.”
 
(On if the Tampa 2 defense is still a viable defense in the NFL)
“Oh Gosh, yeah. I mean, Carolina was essentially the best defense in the league with it a year ago.”
 
(On if the Tampa 2 defense relies on the pass rush)
“Like any defense, it all works together. Rush and coverage works together – you can’t say one without the other. It’s all predicated, of course, by your ability to stop the run and get people in non-advantageous third down situations. And that’s any defense.”
 
(On how difficult it can be changing offensive coordinators)
“What they’re going through is not a change in systems. Obviously, I’m sure there’s some adjustments that need to be made. I’m sure they’re obviously better equipped to answer their situation than I am. But that’s not a coordinator change, it’s probably not a system change; they’re simply just moving forward through Coach Tedford’s stuff and having to make the necessary adjustments to overcome his absence.”
 
RUNNING BACK LE’VEON BELL
 
(On the Tampa Bay defense)
“I think those guys are really solid. They have a really solid front seven and they have two really good safeties who really tackle well in open space and like to hit hard. They have a great defensive line – they like to penetrate the gaps. They try to spill their tackles to the linebackers and a lot of their linebackers have an easy job.”
 
(On Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David)
“He’s a great linebacker. He was great in college. Going against him is going to be another challenge. He’s really quick, he tackles really well and he’s a really smart player. It’s definitely going to be a challenge this week.”
 
(On the Pittsburgh running game coming together last week against Carolina)
I think we’ve been clicking through the whole course of the year. We’re obviously just going to continue to get better as the season goes on. We were just patient and we stayed with the running game. We ran the ball 30-plus times during the game. We hadn’t gotten that chance during the course of the year to run the ball 30-plus times and the one time we do get to do it, we showed everybody what we were able to do. The offensive line up front took pride in going against a good front seven and they really moved some guys off the ball and made it easy for me and LaGarrette [Blount] to find some running lanes and get some open space.”
 
(On teammate LaGarrette Blount)
“It’s been an honor, because I know he’s a great runner and even growing up I was watching him when he was at Oregon and his rookie year at Tampa Bay, and I definitely took a lot out of his game and put it into mine. It’s great to have him in our backfield. He’s obviously another starting running back who comes in and shows people what he’s able to do. He’s a solid running back and I’m excited to have him in the backfield.”
 
(On LaDanian Tomlinson’s comment that Bell is “the best” running back in the league)
“It’s an honor to have a guy like LaDanian Tomlinson say something like that, because growing up, that’s who I used to watch and I looked at him as the best running back in the NFL. So for him to say that and give me that kind of praise and that kind of honor, it is just really humbling and I’m just glad to have that said from him, a guy who is a future Hall of Famer. It means everything in the world to me.”
 
(On Pittsburgh’s history of success adding pressure)
“We don’t look at it as adding pressure. We obviously know what this organization has done over the course of the years, but we’re just going to continue taking it week by week and continue to try to win. I don’t look at it as pressure, we just have to get better each and every week and take it one week at a time and as long as we do that, I think we’ll be in the right situation that we want to be in at the end of the season.”
 
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