Following the release of the entire 2020 NFL schedule, Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin appeared on the NFL network in an interview with Steve Wyche. To kick things off, Wyche asked Tomlin about his initial assessment of the schedule and how everything laid out for the Steelers.
“I’ve been at it a while. I hadn’t seen a schedule I didn’t like,” Tomlin replied. “We all are football lovers and we miss competing, so it’s an exciting day when the schedule comes out.”
Wyche wasted little time getting to the big question many have about the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 2020 season— Ben Roethlisberger. With the Steelers opening in primetime on Monday Night Football at the Meadowlands against the Giants, Tomlin was asked if he believed if Roethlisberger would be ready and under center for the black and gold to start the season.
“As we sit here today, we’re extremely confident in his readiness,” Tomlin stated. “But we like where we are. He’s throwing on a rehab schedule, it’s going well, and we fully anticipate him being ready to go for that opener.”
While Tomlin is hopeful with Roethlisberger’s rehab and recovery, the current global pandemic has kept the Steelers quarterback from the typical evaluations at this point in the offseason. Although Tomlin didn’t go into any detail about communications with Roethlisberger, one would be naïve if they didn’t think the head coach was in constant communication with his franchise quarterback and any medical personnel who have been working with Roethlisberger.
Wyche went on to address one of the biggest marquee matchups of the season for the Steelers: Hosting the Baltimore ravens at Heinz Field on Thanksgiving night.
“We just are humbled and honored to entertain our fans on a special day like that,” Tomlin acknowledged. “We’ve had an opportunity to be in a number of those games over the years. We don’t take them for granted. We’ll be excited about this one.”
While the Steelers appear to be excited about hosting such an important game, Tomlin also acknowledged the issues in preparation for such a key matchup on a short week.
“It also presents some special challenges from a preparation week. We’ll address that appropriately so in preparation for that game.”
When I asked about the the flow of the schedule for 2020, particularly with groups of away games, Tomlin downplayed travel as a significant factor in the schedule.
“As long as I got 8 at home, 8 on the road, and a bye, I don’t read too much into it.”
To finish up the interview, Coach Tomlin addressed dealing with the current situation in our country and how it pertains to the business of football. Having to hold virtual workouts to begin the season, Coach Tomlin understands the challenge behind it yet the necessity of preparation for the upcoming season.
“I’ll take any opportunity to work with our players and get this ball rolling for 2020,” Tomlin answered. “I’ll be glad when we can get back out there and roll the ball out on some grass and play the game.”
I think we all can agree that seeing football played is something many can look forward to. Hopefully our country can continue to move forward confidently and safely to where life can return to normal as much as possible. And for many Americans, being able to view their favorite NFL teams in the fall would be a huge step.
Coach Tomlin’s entire interview can be seen below.