In his press conference following their practice on Monday, head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media and briefly answered questions. Coach Tomlin was asked about specific players in regards to issues such as health and performance. This list isn’t to suggest these players were the only ones who stood out, but highlights players about whom Tomlin was asked questions.
Vance McDonald also in uniform, but it looks like rookie TE Zach Gentry is down— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) August 17, 2019
One of the biggest concerns Steelers’ fans have going in to the 2019 is depth at the tight end position. With the loss of Jesse James in free agency, the Steelers don’t have an obvious choice as a quality second tight end. Zach Gentry had a touchdown against Tampa Bay in Week 1 of the preseason, but was unable to participate due to injury in the Steelers’ second game. While more uncertainties remain as to who else will be able to play along with Vance McDonald, Steelers’ fans do not need any reminder that McDonald has yet to be healthy for an entire season in Pittsburgh. So when McDonald failed to participate in practice on Monday, Steelers Nation is continuing to hold their collective breath.
Coach Tomlin was asked about the current status of McDonald.
“Just day-to-day. He’ll be fine.”
Ulysees Gilbert III
Another player who made a significant jump Saturday IMO was Ulysees Gilbert. Yes that was Necole Hardman he was covering (closely) deep. Natural and instinctive football player.— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) August 19, 2019
The last of the Steelers’ three sixth-round draft picks in 2019, Ulysees Gilbert III has put himself into serious discussions about making the team’s 53-man roster. With 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in Week 1, Gilbert found himself on the field much earlier in Week 2. Registering four tackles, Gilbert’s pass coverage may have been the most impressive part of his game on Saturday.
Coach Tomlin was asked what Gilbert has shown him so far this season.
“He’s a young, talented guy. He’s made some plays like we acknowledged late in the football game in Week 1. He made some more plays, not as splashy as the plays in Week 1, but he was in stiffer competition. So we’ll continue with his developmental process like we’ve described.”
With Vance McDonald, Zach Gentry, and Christian Scotland-Williamson all dealing with injures and Xavier Grimble standing out the wrong way, Kevin Rader is getting more time to show the Steelers his skill set. With a costly fumble in the fourth quarter in Week 1 of the preseason, Rader is also not getting noticed for the best reasons. Out of Pine-Richland High School, Rader does have a hometown crowd pulling for him to make the roster.
Coach Tomlin was asked about his impression of Rader to this point.
“Kevin’s done some good things. He’ not lacking in physicality. He’s consistently physical. He’s got to get better in terms of some of the minutia, some of the details relative to the position. But I like his energy. I like his physicality.”
Other News & Notes
Tomlin: “When we break camp, man, we come back here and we get in this simulation week, the opportunities to stake a claim on a position or carve out a role for yourself are getting scarce. I think everybody understands that.” #Steelers— Blitzburgh (@Steel_Curtain4) August 19, 2019
Tomlin: “Position flexibility has to be an element of this thing, particularly when you're talking about adding quality depth. You can turn 53 men into 60 if you’ve got good position flexibility, and that’s what we strive to have.” #Steelers— Blitzburgh (@Steel_Curtain4) August 19, 2019
Tomlin did not offer an update on the timetable for Ola Adeniyi, who is out with a torn meniscus. #Steelers— Blitzburgh (@Steel_Curtain4) August 19, 2019
Mike Tomlin’s full media session can be seen here: