Mike Tomlin Defends Play Call To Extend Antonio Brown 'Record'
PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) - In his weekly press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin recapped the teams victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, previewed their upcoming matchup with the Cleveland Browns and of course addressed the play call at the end of the Jacksonville game that was designed to extend wide receiver Antonio Brown's record of 21 consecutive games with at least 5 catches and 50 yards.
When asked why he allowed the team to run an additional play to extend Browns record rather than taking a knee and securing the victory, Tomlin said, "He's got a significant record that kind of exemplifies what he is doing in his career, and you know, we want to support him in that." If the play called didn't get Brown the record Tomlin admitted addressed whether or not they would have called another play for the receiver. "It's not that significant. If he don't get it on that play, it's a wrap."
Responding to a comment on some people seeing that play as putting an individual ahead of the team, Tomlin responded saying, "I don't care to be honest with you, I really don't."
Tomlin also looked back at the 17-9 win over the Jaguars which left much doubt about the Steelers ability to execute in the redzone.
"I thought we needed to be better in our red zone offense," Tomlin said. "The way we were able to control the ball and possess the ball and move the ball, I don't think our points reflected that. Really, that's a function of some red zone failure."
In an attempt to narrow down the reasons for the poor redzone efficiency rates, Tomlin admitted part of the blame belongs on the play calling,
"Play selection is always the first place you look in terms of defining issues." When it comes to their failures in the Jacksonville game," Tomlin used hindsight to point out what could have been done differently.
"Looking back at it, I wish we would've run the ball some considering that the passes were unsuccessful. Largely, I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge some of the good things Jacksonville did defensively against us in the red zone. But we have to execute better, we have to look at our play selection, and we'll do both."
Another area the team was looking to improve upon this week was their discipline when it comes to penalties after an embarrassing performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which they took 13 penalties for 125 yards. After taking only 8 penalties for 65 yards, Tomlin said he likes the direction they're headed but pointed out one area that still needs work.
"The penalties were much improved," Tomlin said. "I thought specifically on special teams, it was a detriment to our efforts. We lost critical field position on two penalties in the return game."
Going into an AFC North matchup on the road against the Cleveland Browns this week, the Steelers will need to improve upon their red zone efficiency as well as their discipline in the return game if they want to sweep the season series against their divisional rival.
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