Week 13: Pittsburgh Steelers Conference Call

Head Coach Mike Tomlin

On if a shorter week makes a difference when you're facing a familiar opponent:"I think every short week I've had, really since they've been doing these Thursday night games in '08, has been with a familiar opponent. I think that's something that the league makes a conscious effort to do."

On if he was surprised to see the Ravens use the Wildcat offense against the Jets, and if he anticipates they'll see that on Thursday:"Not surprised, no. I've known Tyrod [Taylor] for a long time; his dad and I are from the same area [and] kind of grew up in the same circles. He's a talented, sharp young man. It's a weapon that's at their disposal. Why not use him?"

On what the Steelers are doing better now that maybe they weren't doing earlier in the season:"I really just think, largely, everything, and not only from a playing perspective, but from positions that we're putting the players in as coaches. I just think we're all continually evolving, and thankfully we're evolving in the right direction."

On how challenging it is to build an offensive line in the NFL, especially when you consider injuries and other factors that come into play throughout the season:"It's really what we're called to do, not only in terms of the evaluation and the acquisition of talent, but the development of the talent. I think that's something that we all embrace. We've been faced with some adversity this year over the course of that, but it's given us an opportunity to work with guys like Kelvin Beachum and help them grow and develop and get solid and stable. It's not always a comfortable process, but it's a rewarding one, and hopefully one that will continue to be."

On how RB Le'Veon Bell is developing:"The best thing about him is he doesn't pretend to know everything. He comes in the building every day ready and willing to learn. He listens well, and I think those are great skills and perspective to have to go along with his obvious physical talents."

On the atmosphere playing in Baltimore and if the Steelers embrace that challenge:"We're going into the lion's den. I think anybody that is a competitor embraces that. We've got a great deal of respect for those guys and their fans and the atmosphere that they create, and [we're] really looking forward to pitting our skills versus theirs within it."

On the importance of this game, and the stretch run, with so many AFC teams in the mix for a playoff berth:"[We] don't spend much time looking around, and that's one of the things that we talk openly about. If you handle your business on a week-to-week basis, and win this week's challenge as they say, you don't have to look around, because your position can be no worse than it is as you sit here."

WR Antonio Brown

On his relationship with WR Torrey Smith:"He's one of the guys I had a chance to meet his rookie year coming in. I worked him out down in Miami. [He's a] guy who's been excelling and extremely hungry. I'm excited about his kid on the way. I think he has a bright future."

On games between Pittsburgh and Baltimore being close: "It's just an intense rivalry. Great defense is played. I think everyone understands the urgency of the game. It's just iron on iron. It's always a tough battle, and it always comes to the fourth quarter and to the end of the game."

On what has changed since the Steelers' 0-4 start:"I think we're a lot stronger. The adversity we've been through has made us even tougher as a band of brothers. We appreciate winning, and we know what it's like to be on the down of things. We appreciate what it feels like to be on the up of things."

On how much the no-huddle has helped the offense:"Definitely some emphasis on the no-huddle. It allows us to keep teams off balance and not allowing them to get in their defensive calls, giving guys our position. It definitely allows us to start fast, allowing us to come into football games and start on the right note."

On his season and last performance against Browns CB Joe Haden:"I want to continue to get better. There is still a lot of football to be played. I still want to do some things to help my team get in position. Here we are with a perfect opportunity Thursday night against a great opponent, a division opponent, and a rivalry game. It's an opportunity to just paint our picture and get reacquainted with our goals to make it in the postseason."

On playing against Browns CB Joe Haden last week: "Joe [Haden] is a great corner and is a great matchup. You've got to tip your hat to a guy like Joe who comes to stadiums and mans-up guys week-in and week-out."

On if the short turnaround is not as bad considering they know the Ravens well: "We'll get prepared today. We've got an opportunity to prepare tomorrow and we've got 48 hours until kickoff to make sure we know the ins and outs of what things have stayed the same and what things have changed and what have been evolving. We'll get on the screws today, watch some tape and on the practice field just to make sure we're prepared for a great opportunity this Thursday."

On what he liked about WR Torrey Smith and if he sees any similarities in their games: "Absolutely. He's a big playmaker. [I] love his speed, love his intensity, love his hunger [and] his passion for the game. [He is] a great friend of mine, and I'm excited to see him continue to develop and unfold as his career continues to go."* *

On if the first win against the Ravens rejuvenated their season: "I wouldn't deem it that, but absolutely, a great win. We want to continue to get better, and we've got a great opportunity to go on the road and win against a great opponent and compete against another challenge."

On how much improvement he has seen in the Ravens' secondary, particularly CB Jimmy Smith and CB Lardarius Webb: "Jimmy [Smith] is really good. [He is] a big, physical corner who likes to use his hands. Lardarius Webb [is] a fast, elusive corner who tries to make plays on the ball. Those guys are doing some great things. I think Lardarius is playing more in the slot and in the nickel package manning guys up. So, it's going to be interesting to see where those guys line up and battles that present themselves this weekend." On how they will celebrate Thanksgiving: "We're going to have a team dinner at the hotel, but we're just singularly focused on this opportunity Thursday night. We've got a lot to be thankful for, and what a good opportunity to go in front of your peers on national TV on Thanksgiving with a great opponent in the Baltimore Ravens."

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