In his press conference following their Week 3 preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media and briefly answered questions. Coach Tomlin was asked about specific players in regards to their in-stadium play, or lack thereof, on Sunday night. This list isn’t to suggest these players were the only ones who stood out, but highlights players about whom Tomlin was asked questions.
Benny Snell Jr. & Diontae Johnson
No Joe Haden, Benny Snell, Diontae Johnson or Anthony Chickillo tonight. All not in uniform as warm ups have begun. Everyone else appears to be available. #Steelers— Chase Williams WPXI (@chasepwilliams) August 25, 2019
With the first-team players taking the field for the Steelers on Sunday night, almost every player on the 91-main roster was in uniform to take on the Titans. Of the four players who did not dress, two of them were 2019 draft picks. Both Diontae Johnson and Benny Snell were held out of the game in Nashville along with Joe Haden and Anthony Chickillo. With Johnson already missing Week 1, not having two of the Steelers top four rookie draft picks was quite undesirable.
Coach Tomlin was asked if Snell and Johnson did not see the field because they were both injured.
“We worked them here at the stadium. They missed some time during the week. They’re both young guys. They need in-helmet preparation in order to be given a legitimate chance to play. We’ll play those guys next week. I didn’t feel like it was appropriate to play them tonight given the time they’d missed in prep for the game.”
The Steelers’ defense looked amped up Sunday as they got after the Tennesse Titans. Stephon Tuitt had arguably the biggest night with two sacks, one of which was a safety. As a whole, the Steelers’ defense recorded seven sacks, forced two fumbles, and held Tennessee to 233 total yards of offense.
Coach Tomlin was asked if it was encouraging to see Tuitt be so disruptive to the Titans offense.
“We’re expecting big things from him. He’s expecting big things from him. He’s had a good preseason, both in stadiums and out. That was not unlike what we’ve been looking at from him.”
That's a night for Ben Roethlisberger, who in 19 snaps went 8-of-13 with 63 yards and a 17-yard touchdown to JuJu Smith-Schuster. Steelers offense had a few mistimed passing plays on the first two drives but looked at ease on the final drive as receivers got open pretty easily.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 26, 2019
In his only work of the preseason, Ben Roethlisberger had a fairly productive night. After each of the the Steelers first two drives stalled after only picking up one first down, Roethlisberger ended his night on a 9-play, 58-yard drive which concluded with a 17-yard touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Coach Tomlin was asked if he was happy with Ben’s performance in his first action of the preseason..
That last Steelers drive was emblematic of Josh Dobbs' preseason. He makes plays under duress but often struggles with short passes.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 26, 2019
Although he threw for the most yards of the Steelers quarterbacks on Sunday night, Joshua Dobbs was the only one of the three who did not even complete half of his passes. Coupled with the fact he threw an interception in the red zone with less than five minutes remaining in the game, Dobbs was unimpressive while recording a 36.1 quarterback rating.
Coach Tomlin was asked about the play of both the back-up quarterbacks, but chose to focus his answer on Dobbs.
“Dobbs has got to take better care of the ball, particularly in situations. We’ve got the ball in the red zone, that’s points on the board. We’ve got be a little more prudent there. But we don’t paint with a broad brush on game day. We play on game day, we evaluate the day after. I look forward to getting in there and dissecting tape and doing what’s appropriate from there.”
James Washington strikes again. Shocker. Steelers find another WR gem. pic.twitter.com/hu92ssaoP8— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) August 26, 2019
While it was disappointing to not see James Washington targeted by Ben Roethlisberger, the first pass thrown his way was a 41-yard strike from Mason Rudolph. The Stillwater magic wasn’t working for the duo on Washington’s only other target of the night as a miscommunication led to an interception. So far in the 2019 preseason, Washington has two touchdowns and has recorded a reception of 40 yards or more in all three weeks.
Coach Tomlin was asked about the importance of Washington performing consistently in each game.
“We talk about all second-year players taking a significant step. He’s done that, but he’s just kind of representative of the group. Jaylen Samuels has taken a similar step. We expect big things from those guys that have been a lap around the track, that understand the culture and the environment and that experience should show. And it is.”
Although Mike Tomlin did not specify beforehand which quarterback would get the nod after Roethlisberger on Sunday, Mason Rudolph entered the game with over two minutes left in the first quarter. It was his first pass attempt of the game when he connected with his college teammate for the score. After his first drive, Rudolph went 5 of 8 passing for 34 yards and an interception.
Since he didn’t address him when asked earlier, Coach Tomlin was asked again to evaluate Rudolph’s performance.
“We’ll evaluate it tomorrow. Like I mentioned earlier, we played tonight. We’ll comb through it in great detail tomorrow.”
Mike Tomlin’s full media session can be seen here: