The Steelers 2020 training camp is now officially over. Friday was the last time Mike Tomlin will be speaking to the media following practice as he is scheduled to return to his typical “Tomlin Tuesdays.” So for one last time, we’ll take a look at the players mentioned in Tomlin’s press conferences. Remember these players are ones brought up during the question and answer period.
Joe Haden & Steven Nelson
One of the best parts of the 2019 season was the break Steelers’ fans received from having to worry about cornerback play thanks to Joe Haden and Steven Nelson. Coach Tomlin was asked what it was like to return the same two veteran outside cornerbacks who have the position held down.
“They’re a quality veteran tandem. And not only resting on their resumes, they’ve had good training camp processes—both guys. Both guys came in in great condition. Both guys have performed at a consistent high level through this process and that’s where I find my comfort. Not necessarily and what’s been done in the past or their presence, but the things that they’ve done since we’ve begun this process.”
Zach Banner & Chukwuma Okorafor
One thing the Steelers have kept under wraps is who is leading the way between Zach Banner and Chuks Okorafor to start the 2020 season at right tackle. Coach Tomlin was asked what he plans on doing for the release of the teams first depth chart on Monday.
“Yeah, you may see ‘or’ listed on that depth chart on Monday. Meaning O-R.”
Coach Tomlin was asked a follow up question about quickly he would be likely to make a change at right tackle if things weren’t going well.
“I think it’s been a challenging decision for us because both guys are capable. Both guys have been consistently above the line in their performance. And so those are good problems to have. I don’t know that I necessarily view it as a negative thing where whoever gets named starter could have a short leash etc, etc, etc. I think we’ve seen two guys that are capable NFL starters at that position battling it out. That’s why we’re not in a hurry to make a decision from my perspective.”
Coach Tomlin was asked yet another follow up question specifically about Zach Banner and his maturation process as he has shut down his social media to focus on his craft during training camp.
“I just think that’s what professionals do. I know that’s what I encouraged him to do and he was in agreement with that. So, I don’t know if that’s a maturation process, that’s just getting singularly focused on appropriate professional business and he’s displayed that.”
The biggest injury concern on the Steelers to begin the regular season is not the elbow of Ben Roethlisberger, but more the availability of All-Pro guard David DeCastro. Coach Tomlin was asked about DeCastro’s status and if he’ll be ready for the opening game in 10 days.
“He wasn’t good enough to go today. Hopefully he’ll be good enough to go to first the next week. We do have a bonus day on Monday. I don’t know if I want to expose him to that. Hopefully we’ll see what it looks like as we get into the normal rhythm of our preparation week.”
Mike Tomlin’s interview can be seen here: