The Steelers head coach was asked lots of questions in regards to the team’s areas of improvement moving forward
It’s hard to believe the Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 regular season has moved past the halfway point. But as is like in the NFL, there is no time to dwell on the past as the Steelers are moving forward with their preparation to travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars. Of course, this means Mike Tomlin’s weekly press conference. While not always asked about specific players, this week had several questions about players and Tomlin took liberties to bring up others. Remember these players are ones brought up during the question and answer period.
Marcus Allen & Others
This response by Tomlin had so many players listed, I felt it would be cheap to count them all. The original question was about what Coach Tomlin saw specifically from Marcus Allen as the dime linebacker on Sunday. In his response, Tomlin mentioned five other players, both healthy and injured.
“I’m just living week to week in that regard. I like the contributions of Marcus, and Marcus has a skillset that lends itself to those with environmental things. He is a good blitzer. He can run really good for the linebacker position. He is a good coverage guy for the linebacker position. His attributes have been an asset to us in that area. We will continue to work with him in that area, but we are not opposed to looking at a bunch of different combinations that you guys have seen thus far. We have looked at a lot of different combinations in the time that guys like Mike Hilton and Devin Bush and Ulysees Gilbert have been out. We’ve looked at guys like Marcus Allen and Antoine Brooks and on the outside at the cornerback spot, even Justin Layne We like our experiences there. We are getting a sense of what those young guys are capable of and how they can help us. We have had some success along the way in spite of some of their lack of experience. All of those are good discussions and good issues to have as we formulate this plan.”
It isn’t exactly groundbreaking that Coach Tomlin would be asked multiple questions about his franchise quarterback. Coach Tomlin was first asked about the team’s excellent turnover margin and if it was a specific conversation he has had with Ben Roethlisberger.
“It goes beyond conversations. It’s about action, and we start every Wednesday workday with ball handling and ball security drills for those that throw it, catch it and run it. It’s just a part of our culture. Just like pursuing and working to take care of the ball on the other side. We believe that those two things work hand in hand and discussions are just the very beginnings of it. We have to make sure our actions match our words, and, as a staff, we are working extremely hard to do so from a drill standpoint in our week’s prep.”
Tomlin was also asked if he had a conversation with Roethlisberger about throwing less in practice since he had a great game coming off of a week with no practice due to being on the COVID-19 list. Roethlisberger had mentioned the subject in his post-game press conference.
“We did have that conversation. I’ll acknowledge that it was a very brief one, and I will see him at practice on Thursday.”
Over the last season and a half, the Steelers have been at the top of the NFL when it comes to takeaways. Coach Tomlin was asked about their continued success in this department, and he specifically gave credit to Cam Sutton who has had a forced fumble in each of the last three games.
“Like I mentioned, we not only talk about it, but we drill it. And the guys. I can’t say enough about the effort of the guys. Cam Sutton has forced a fumble in the last three football games, and that is the guy that doesn’t play every snap of defense. He’s more of a situational defender. I can’t say enough about his awareness and his willingness to put that on tape and how it builds and encourages others to do similar things. We are just going to keep working in that regard. We recognize that the turnover element of play is significant and something that we have to continually work at.”
Mike Tomlin opened his press conference talking about the need to improve the Steelers’ running game. Coach Tomlin was asked if he was satisfied with James Conner as the “bell cow” at running back and if he thinks a change at the position is needed.
“I do not. He is. We are going to get better.”
For a full recap of Mike Tomlin’s press conference, check out our podcast recap below:
Mike Tomlin’s interview can be seen here:
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 17, 2020