It’s back by popular demand! The return of looking at the players mentioned in Mike Tomlin’s press conferences carries on as the team finished up their second practice in full gear on Tuesday. As is usually the case, these players are not always ones Tomlin brought up himself but are specifically players about whom Tomlin was asked questions. In fact, several players were brought up by Tomlin before he took questions as either missing practice or leaving due to injury.
Terrell Edmunds has reportedly got off to a great start at training camp this season. Coach Tomlin was asked what Edmunds needs to do to make more plays than he has in past seasons.
“You know, it’s a collective effort for us on the back end. Much like offensive line play, it’s a collection of the individuals and so he’s a significant component of that. We’ve got to keep a lid on it collectively and that unit has to operate as just that—a unit. It’s good that he’s making some plays, but from a unit standpoint we’re challenging the secondary collectively.
With the spot of reserve outside linebacker wide open in training camp, Ola Adeniyi comes in with more experience at the position than the rest of the competition. After being fired up with his production in a drill that day, Coach Tomlin was asked about what he has seen so far in camp in terms of improvement from Adeniyi.
“He showed up in great condition and ready to work and that’s always the first thing that you notice. He’ll continue to write the story of his overall readiness through his performance, but so far so good.”
Ben Roethlisberger & Kevin Dotson
Unfortunately, one player Tomlin had to discuss was Kevin Dotspon who suffered a knee injury during practice. Coach Tomlin was asked about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger coming to Dotson’s aid and helping him off the field.
“He’s a teammate. He’s been there. He’s been down on the field before. He knows the fear associated with that. Dotson’s a young guy trying to make this football team. Often times the fear of the injury is worse than the injury itself. He’s just doing what considerate, thoughtful leaders do in terms of helping him work through that. Obviously, the medical experts handle the injury itself, but a guy in his position can relate to some of the things maybe emotionally Dotson’s feeling when faced with what he was faced with today.”
Coach Tomlin was also asked about Roethlisberger participating in practice the second straight day and if it was by design.
“We have a schedule for all of those guys and we adhere to the schedule.”
Tomlin was asked yet another question about Roethlisberger and his impressions of him as he’s coming back from injury.
“I have very little reservations about the approach. He’s been given full clearance from the medical expert so I don’t look at him and distribute reps based on the fact that he’s coming off an injury. Really, we’re taking the same rhythm in terms of preservation of his arm that we’ve always had in a training camp like setting in terms of the amount of work that he’s done. My impressions are what they were the last time I spoke to you guys last week. It just hasn’t been a lot of work as of yet for me to have a significant impression. I like his velocity. I acknowledge that I have seen his spiral tighter. But I also acknowledge that is August and we’ve got roughly a month before we step into a stadium. So we’ll all keep working.”
Ulysees Gilbert III
Ulysees Gilbert is coming into his second year in the NFL, but his first was cut short due to injury. Coach Tomlin was asked about Gilbert making a leap in his second season, especially after making some nice plays earlier in the day.
“I don’t know the answer to that. I wouldn’t necessarily characterize him as a second-year player because he missed so much time in year one. Hopefully, because he’s been a part of the program and been in the building, there’s some residual benefits from it. But in terms of play or exposure to play, he hasn’t experienced nearly as much as some of the others in his class because of injury.
When it came to a question about the wide receivers room, many players were listed by name. But when Coach Tomlin answered the question about the nature of the wide receivers room and if anyone is pushing JuJu Smith-Schuster to be the number one guy, Chase Claypool was the only player he specifically mentioned although he talked about the group as a whole.
“It’s a bunch of young guys in that room. Some of those guys are so worried about their responsibilities from an assignment standpoint and making sure that they’re on the details that that’s not a relevant discussion for them. Claypool is just trying to figure out how we function here and his place in it. Some of those other guys who have been here and had roles obviously, this ‘moving up or moving out’ and I’m sure they got a desire to expand their capabilities in terms of helping us win football games. And so I expect those guys to do that.”
Another player other than Ben Roethlisberger coming back from injury is Stephon Tuitt. Coach Tomlin was asked about if Tuitt was being handled any differently this season coming off his injury.
“He is not. Again, he’s a guy that’s been given full medical clearance. So I have little to no reservations about management of reps from him from that perspective. He’s just getting his legs back on the ground, if you will. Being out of football as long as he’s been I’m sure he’s excited about being out there. He and I did have that discussion yesterday. In terms of some of the detail of execution of some of the fine motor skills associated with play, that’ll be a work in progress.”
Mike Tomlin’s interview can be seen here: