The 2021 NFL regular season is underway and teams are starting to get into a routine with what occurs during a typical game week. Heading into a short week due to playing on Monday night, the Steelers have a quick turnaround with Coach Tomlin speaking with the media only about 12 hours after his post-game press conference. With many players discussed, it’s time for another players mentioned by Coach Tomlin during his media time. Remember these are current players where a specific question was asked during the Q&A period.
On Monday night, Steelers rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth doubled his touchdown output for the season with two scores in the game. Coach Tomlin was asked what it is about Freiermuth that has made him so dependable for the Steelers in such a short amount of time.
“He’s doing what we’ve all seen him do throughout the process, and that’s catch the football. He makes combat catches. He makes the tough catch seem somewhat routine. His hand-eye and his body control are exceptional for a bigger body guy, a tight end type guy. He’s still young and growing in a lot of ways on and off the field week in and week out, but he’s got an awesome base and a nice skillset to build upon.”
Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt was not happy Monday night when the opposing right tackle of the Bears kept starting early and was not called for a false start. Coach Tomlin was asked what advice he had for Watt when dealing with this issue.
“Don’t seek comfort would be my advice to him, and control what he can control. He plays left outside linebacker for us and plays at an extreme high level. That would be my suggestion to him. There are things that transpire in games from time to time that are troublesome, but that’s just life, and particularly at this level. I don’t worry too much about it.”
The Steelers offensive line struggled on Monday night against the Bears. Coach Tomlin was asked about the possibility of using Zach Banner and make a change in the starting lineup.
“We proceed with that assumption every week. We’re going to put our best group on the field every week that we believe gives us the best chance of winning that particular game. The guys that we had on the field last night were reflective of that. We’ll see what this week holds. Zach will be included in that mix this week just like some others, and at the end of the week, we’ll decide who gives us the best chance and that’s who we’ll go with.”
Anthony McFarland Jr.
After playing in his first game of the season the previous week, running back Anthony McFarland was inactive for the Steelers in Week 9. Coach Tomlin was asked how he determines which running back will get a helmet and if McFarland had a setback with his injury which kept him out of the first part of the 2021 season.
“He did not. We just chose to play the guys based on plan that we thought gave us the best chance of winning and fit what we were trying to do last night. He’ll be included in the potential formula this week, and we’ll see where that road leads us in terms of how we divide the running back labor up this week.”
One of the offensive linemen who particularly struggled at times was rookie center, Kendrick Green who got pushed into the backfield on several occasions. Coach Tomlin was asked how Green is able to fix the issue or how they would address it with him.
“Get back to work. You win some, you lose some. You learn from those that you lose. Hopefully, you learn from those that you win as well. But we roll the ball back out and we’ll go back to work. Guys like him that are working on a small body of professional work, I just think they grow exponentially each time they step in and out of stadiums.”
Arthur Maulet & Cam Sutton
On the Bears final touchdown of the game, it seemed that they were particularly going towards Arthur Maulet coverage. Coach Tomlin was asked about utilizing Maulet or Cam Sutton in the slot and if it is something he will do moving forward.
“Cam plays inside on possession downs anyway. He and Arthur play inside on possession downs. Position flexibility is just a component what he does in some of our sub packages. That’s kind of an independent conversation as it pertains to Arthur Maulet.”
One of the biggest plays which allowed the Chicago Bears back into the game Monday night was a fumbled punt return by Ray-Ray McCloud. Coach Tomlin was asked if he was going to stick with McCloud as a returner.
Pressley Harvin III & Chris Boswell
Another player who struggled on Monday night was rookie punter Pressley Harvin. Coach Tomlin was asked how he would evaluate Harvey’s performance at this point of the season. In his response, Coach Tomlin mentioned the holding for Chris Boswell.
“Largely, I’ve been pleased with his performance. And I say that because initially your knee jerk reaction is to think about his performance as a punter, but he’s also a holder. And this guy’s been in some really big moments for a young guy from a holding perspective on some 50-plus-yard kicks and game winners and so forth, and our operation there has been flawless. Bos has a great deal of confidence in the snap hold and kick component of what it is that we do, and he’s to be acknowledged for that. In terms of punting, he needs to be a little bit more consistent. He doesn’t have an opportunity to warm up to it from time to time. That’s just a lesson that needs to be learned, and we’re doing some things from a practice standpoint to aid him in that. But largely, I’ve just been pleased with the overall trajectory of his play and in the direction it’s headed.”
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