Steelers Notebook: Tomlin says team has to deliver, 'spoil our fans'

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CINCINNATI -- Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he wants to "spoil our fans" and that "We have to deliver" in an interview with Bob Costas that was shown Sunday night before the game on NBC's "Football Night in America."

Curiously, Tomlin also waded in with some opinions on sports-talk radio, presumably the kind he hears in Pittsburgh while coaching a team that entered its game against the Cincinnati Bengals at 2-3, the worst five-game start in Tomlin's six seasons as their coach.

"Obviously, there's a lot of talk-radio and commentary and things of that nature and they've got to fill air time," Tomlin told Costas.

Here is the transcript of Costas interview with Tomlin, provided by NBC:

On high expectations: "I embrace that. I want to spoil our fans. I want them to have that sense of expectation. I don't see anything negative about that. We have to deliver. I embrace that. I think our guys embrace that. I think it's something that comes with being a Pittsburgh Steeler."

On it still being a young season: "I don't think you have to remind any of us in this business that; obviously, there's a lot of talk-radio and commentary and things of that nature and they've got to fill air time. We're in Week 6 for us. ... Those shows got to run. They got to talk about something. We understand that. What we need to start doing is winning games on a consistent basis and it will take care of itself."

On reigning in Ben Roethlisberger: "I think we're doing a nice job, even in the midst of running the ball as poorly as we are, because we're minimizing negative plays. And if you minimize the negative plays, that means your quarterback is upright. That's one of the goals that we had here for this season, along with winning more games than we have to this point."

On Roethlisberger having the instinct to make a play: "I hope that never leaves him. We just want to tighten up some things around him to make sure that we're keeping him as safe as we possibly can."

Costas: "You made a transition this year from Bruce Arians to Todd Haley. Ben Roethlisberger told me before the first game against Denver, 'Every coach, at some point, their temper starts to come out. But when it comes to that time, we'll be able to deal with it and move on.' Has that time come yet?"

Tomlin: "I don't know. I'm usually pretty busy when they get a little down time. I've always got guys on the grass, as we say in this business. I'm not worried about those interactions. If it hadn't happened already, I'm sure at some point it will and it won't be catastrophic. I'm sure we'll all move on."

On Steelers Nation at away games: "I no longer think they travel. I just think they're there. I just think they're everywhere." Laughs. "I refuse to believe Steeler nation travels. I just think we have fans all over the world and it's something that's special when we touch down in different locations and get an opportunity to entertain them."


Maurkice Pouncey joined a long list of Steelers starters inactive Sunday night with injuries. Others include Rashard Mendenhall, Troy Polamalu and Marcus Gilbert. No. 2 back Isaac Redman and linebacker Chris Carter are out. The only healthy scratch was No. 3 quarterback Charlie Batch.

Will Allen made his second consecutive start at strong safety for Polamalu, a job Ryan Mundy lost last week. Doug Legursky started in place of Pouncey at center. Rookie Mike Adams started at right tackle for Gilbert. Jonathan Dwyer started at running back.

John Malecki, added to the roster Saturday from the practice squad, wore No. 62.

For the Bengals, rookie cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick headed a list of inactives. Kirkpatrick, who has yet to play because of a knee injury that occurred before training camp, has been practicing and thought he might make his debut against the Steelers. Other Bengals inactives: cornerback Jason Allen, running back Brian Leonard, linebacker Dontay Moch, defensive tackle Brandon Thompson, wide receiver Armon Binns and tight end Richard Quinn.

Quick hits

Mike Wallace's first quarter was eminently forgettable: He dropped two passes, both of which would have resulted in a first down, and he lost 6 yards on a running play when he was drilled by Bengals rookie linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

• The Bengals, who came into the game with the worst third-down conversion rate in the NFL (26.7 percent), converted three of four such situations on their first possession to sculpt an eight-minute, 80-yard drive to a 7-3 lead.

• The Steelers came into the game having allowed one sack in the previous two games, and only two in the previous three, a span that included 126 Roethlisberger passes.

• Coming into the game, Roethlisberger had thrown for 360 yards or more in two of the seasons' first five games. The Steelers lost both of them.


Gene Collier contributed to this report. First Published October 22, 2012 4:45 AM


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