The Pittsburgh Steelers struggled on defense on more than one occasion in the 2017 season, and even the most untrained football eye could tell you it was commonly a lack of communication, and poor tackling.
Throughout the 2018 NFL Draft, the Steelers focus when selecting a defender usually revolved around the aforementioned attributes. Players who communicated well, and were known for their tackling.
Out of the seven picks they had in the draft process, the team took two safeties. Both of those safeties were lauded for their ability to communicate well, and their rather sound tackling technique. When Mike Tomlin spoke to the media for the first time during rookie minicamp, he was asked how the safeties were doing.
As usual, his answer was vague, but he liked what he saw, or should I say what he heard?
“The way that you stand out at this juncture is just simply communicating, or willingness to communicate. I like to hear a lot of pre-snap chatter. Both guys [Terrell Edmunds and Marcus Allen] are providing that. It shows you a lot of things. It shows you they are into it. They’re situationally aware. The safety is a communicating so that’s a job requirement. It also shows they’re able to learn things we are presenting them in the classroom and taking it out to the field. So less evaluation in terms of what they’re doing physically. I like what I’m hearing from them before the ball is snapped. It’s an indication of its been a good weekend for them.”
You take reports from rookie minicamp with a grain of salt, but if you have followed the Steelers since 2007, when the team hired Tomlin, you know he isn’t quick with to praise his team. And for Edmunds and Allen, that is about as complimentary as you get from Tomlin during “football in shorts” in the month of May.
Nonetheless, Tomlin being pleased, and somewhat impressed, with the safety tandem is a good start to their NFL careers — for now.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes from rookie minicamp, and as the rest of the team joins the young bucks for their spring workouts.