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The Steelers head coach was asked lots of questions about their upcoming opponent, but he was also asked about some about the Steelers players as well.
The Steelers are back into the swing of things which means hearing from Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin on Tuesday. While not always asked about specific players, this week had several questions about players sprinkled in between others dealing with the Cleveland Browns. Since Coach Tomlin gave us the material, we’ll take a look at the players mentioned in Tomlin’s press conference. Remember these players are ones brought up during the question and answer period.
The Steelers have surrendered more yards through the air so far in 2020 compared to last season. Coach Tomlin was asked what he attributes the increase in touchdowns, penalties, and yards by his two starting cornerbacks.
“I just attribute it to a four-game sample size. Keep watching. We will continue to write our story, particularly as it pertains to comparing it to a 16-game body of work from a year ago. If you took a sample size of our body of work from last year at this time through four games it was miserable, I think. We are very much in development, and I like the overall trajectory of our group in the corners. We’re just going to keep working.”
In 2019, Steelers’ Nation got a glimpse of what life would be like without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Even with his most efficient performance to start a season in his career, Roethlisberger continues to point out the areas in which he feels he can improve. Coach Tomlin was asked about his assessment of his quarterback through the first four games.
“I think he is very mentally sharp. I think sometimes when you have the perspective that he has now, he watched the bulk of football in 2019, and often times, when you get removed from your role and you watch it from a different perspective, it might change your perspective on performance and evaluation thereof. I’m not displeased with the overall trajectory of his play. I like the fact that he is being critical of his performance. I also like where he is from a mental standpoint right now. We are just going to continue to work and knock the rust off and gain the rhythm that we are accustomed to seeing from him, and hopefully, we will continue to win while we do that.”
As a follow up question, Tomlin was asked when he thought Roethlisberger gained his ability to read the field.
“Probably sometime in the last 14 years. He and I have been at it a long time. It’s not something where you flip a light switch on and you can probably point to a date or significant circumstance where it transpired like Eureka. It’s just a continual growth and development over the course of a career which, through an unbelievable blessing, has been an extremely long one. It’s reasonable to expect him to have a different level of awareness and be able to call upon that in circumstances. He’s been in circumstances that most of us won’t be in and he has seen a lot of it over the years.”
A diamond in the rough the Steelers found for the 2020 season is wide receiver and kick returner Ray-Ray McCloud. Coach Tomlin was asked about if he adapted his coaching style to create the family atmosphere McCloud spoke of during his interview on Monday.
“No, I just think we all have a certain vision about how we want to do it if we get an opportunity to lead. That is always been in my vision, but visions are just part of it. You have to make sure that your day to day actions match that. You have to make sure that the people that work alongside you share that vision and I am blessed enough to be in a circumstance where we have that and we have great continuity in the midst of it. It sort of allows us to circle the wagons around a young man with some talent like Ray-Ray [McCloud] that is probably looking for a fresh start and put him in an environment where his talents can come to the stage and he can move on and get better and grow. It’s our job to create that environment. It’s Ray-Ray’s job to come to work everyday and get better with in it and that’s how we all collectively eat together.”
One of the Steelers best defenders when utilized to his strengths has been Mike Hilton who now has 3 sacks on the season. Coach Tomlin was asked if he could see teams trying to force Hilton into coverage.
“I don’t see that, no.”
For a full recap of Mike Tomlin’s press conference, check out our podcast recap below:
Mike Tomlin’s interview can be seen here: