The Steelers head coach was asked several questions about players as the they head into the postseason.
The Pittsburgh Steelers get an immediate rematch in the 2020 postseason as they are set to face the Cleveland Browns yet again in the Wild Card Round. Of course, Mike Tomlin held his usual Tuesday time with the media. While not always asked about specific players, Tomlin sometimes brings up more players in responses than ones he was specifically asked about. Remember these are players mentioned in response to specific questions during the press conference.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is preparing for his 22nd NFL postseason games. Coach Tomlin was asked if beleives it is an advantage to have a quarteback with so much playoff experience.
“I do, and so I hadn’t thought a lot about it. I just acknowledged that it was helpful to our cause. I haven’t spent a lot of time enjoying the potential aspects of that. I’m more focused on the challenges of preparation.”
Coach Tomlin was asked a follow up question about if he suggested to Roethlisberger to have a players only meeting a couple of weeks ago.
“I didn’t suggest it to him, no.
In his first game being active for the Steelers, tight end Kevin Rader made same nice tackles on special teams on Sunday. Even though Coach Tomlin was asked a question about the depth at inside linebacker, he chose to address the special teams aspect and specifically mention Rader.
“More than anything, it provides quality depth at some of the core special teams positions where linebacker play is a significant component. I mentioned the contributions of Kevin Rader on kickoff. Well, I’m excited about the tight end who is capable of making three tackles on kickoff because of the body type, because of the scarcity of linebacker body types to provide that service. Forget defense, having quality depth at that position fills very important roles in the special teams phase as well. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that.”
The Steelers also have several players on the Reserve/COVID-19 List. Coach Tomlin was asked the potential for a player like Eric Ebron to be available on Sunday.
“Again, I’m not going to speculate about availability or not. You guys understand the protocol and the sensitivity to it. When those guys are out of the protocol and available, we will utilize them. In regard to this morning, it was a good morning.”
Kevin Dotson & Matt Feiler
For the last two games, rookie guard Kevin Dotson has filled in more than adequately for the injured Matt Feiler. Coach Tomlin was asked if the comfort of Dotson at guard will factor into the decision to activate Feiler from the Reserve/Injured List.
“That doesn’t become a component of play unless Feiler is viable. Until Feiler becomes viable, I won’t spend a lot of times pondering those things.”
Chris Boswell & Matthew Wright
For the second game in a row and the third time this season, kicker Chris Boswell missed the game due to injury and Matthew Wright was called upon to replace him. Coach Tomlin was asked an update on Boswell and his level of comfort with Matthew Wright.
“I’m comfortable with Wright. He is putting the ball through the uprights and that’s job one. We’ll support him in the kickoff coverage area with quality coverage if need be. Boz’s participation and the quality of it throughout the week will determine if he is in uniform on Sunday.”
Active for the first time during the 2020 season, the Steelers used quarterback Josh Dobbs in certain packages on Sunday. Coach Tomlin was asked how serious he is to have Josh Dobbs available on Sunday.
“We are going to have that discussion as an offensive staff. We meet a little bit this afternoon. It was good to have both guys in the stadium. Both guys helped their cause. Neither guy hurt their cause. We talked openly about what Josh [Dobbs] brings that is a little bit different that maybe levels the playing field and creates things to work on and think about. That is an asset to him. We will ponder those possibilities and make an appropriate decision that best benefit us. Maybe it is one or the other in regard to them, maybe it is both guys. All things are on the table as we work to put ourselves in position to win this football game.
After being benched for part of Week 14 against the Buffalo Bills, Diontae Johnson came back to lead the Steelers in receiving yards for 2020. Coach Tomlin was asked about the importance of Johnson’s bounce back.
“It is important that we all, if we can, going into this single-elimination tournament on the upswing. There are ups and downs over the course of the season and sometimes you are not afforded that opportunity. You don’t get do-overs. It is what it is. The tape is our tape and it is our walking, talking, breathing resume. It’s not about what we say, it’s about what we do. Through it all, I think he understands that, and he has not run away from that and I think that’s why his play is moving in the direction that it is moving.
Kevin Dotson & Cam Sutton
Two players called into starting duty towards the end of the season are guard Kevin Dotson and cornerback Cam Sutton. Coach Tomlin was asked his general thoughts on both players.
“I think both guys have been more than adequate. They have helped our cause, they have helped their cause from a career standpoint. I have confidence in both guys regardless of what we ask them to do this weekend.”
For a full recap of Mike Tomlin’s press conference, check out our podcast recap below:
Mike Tomlin’s interview can be seen here: