If you stayed up and watched all four quarters of the Pittsburgh Steelers 14-3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in the Hall of Fame game, you saw some rookies struggle. It isn't abnormal for rookies to struggle under the lights of the National Football League, but some times performances leave fans a bit more perturbed than the usual rookie mistake.
First round draft pick Bud Dupree was unable to make a play, tight end Jesse James had some crucial drops in the game, wide receiver Sammie Coates also had a couple drops and Anthony Chickillo didn't turn any heads as he has in training camp through the first few weeks.
When head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media Wednesday, what was his advice for the rookies? It wasn't just a word or a phrase, but a player which he would point to as an example.
"Young guys freeze up sometimes. That's part of the process. I'd like to show them the cut-up of Lawrence Timmons in the Hall of Fame game in 2007. It was pretty ugly. It provides a window, a ray of light, if you will, to those who are mentally weak enough to need it.
"Regardless of how you start, it's not going to define you. I just use Lawrence as an example of that."
In 2007 the Steelers played the New Orleans Saints in the annual Hall of Fame Game, and Timmons was the prized first round draft pick in Tomlin's first year as a head coach. To say Timmons struggled might be an understatement, and one poor game early in his career certainly didn't define his career.
Rookies can have a fragile psyche, and Tomlin pointing to Timmons, who is a Pro Bowl player, is certainly a great example for rookies to witness and see a player who didn't come out of the gates as a thoroughbred, but had to hone his craft and work hard to get where he is today.
Plain and simple, despite any one player's performance Sunday against Minnesota, they will have the chance to get that taste out of their mouths when the team travels to Jacksonville Friday. If they need someone to look up to, look no further than the 'Law Dog' as a current example of how to make a name for yourself with the Steelers and in the NFL.