The Pittsburgh Steelers practiced again at Heinz Field on Monday and were in pads for the first time since the Hall of Fame Game. Since Coach Tomlin spoke to reporters following practice, it’s time to look at the 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.
The Steelers are starting to get their offensive line back in place. Coach Tomlin was asked about tackle Zach Banner and his progress in regards to his rehab coming back from ACL surgery.
“The process has been a good one. He’s worked his tail off. In terms of close to being 100 percent or what, we’ll continue to watch him and monitor him and thoughtfully infuse him into this, and we’ll see where it leads us.”
When the Steelers are doing drills and team work, all eyes are on first-round draft pick Najee Harris. Coach Tomlin was asked if Harris scored on one play during “7 shots” as it was apparently very close.
“I didn’t see it. I didn’t see. Somebody said his knee was down, somebody said the ball crossed the plane. We don’t have officials out here; I’m just speculating.”
After rumors floated around of James Washington requested a trade over the weekend, he left practice early due to injury on Sunday. Coach Tomlin was asked about Washington‘s status.
“He’s being evaluated for medical purposes. I’ll have an update for you guys, I’m sure, maybe tomorrow.”
Steeler seventh-round draft pick Tre Norwood appears to be on a path to making the Steelers 53-man roster. Coach Tomlin was asked about players at his specific position drafted in the late rounds being able to make the team.
“Because so much of the position is intangible qualities: above-the-neck play, communication skills, instincts and feel for the game. And some of those things don’t show up at combines and so forth.”
In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked if Norwood was specifically showing these things.
“He has thus far, yes.”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked if Norwood has the tenacity and personality similar to that of Mike Hilton during his time with the Steelers.
“He’ll have opportunities to display that, and we’ll have opportunities to discover that with more work.”
As Coach Tomlin was discussing above-the-neck play, the Steelers veteran in the defensive backfield was brought into the discussion. Coach Tomlin was asked if Joe Haden shows the same traits they had been discussing about defensive backs taken late in the draft.
“Yeah, but Joe Haden has freakish talent as well. That’s why he went wherever he went in the draft. But certainly.”
Being a former first-round pick of another franchise who was cast off and ended up in Pittsburgh, Dwayne Haskins is constantly being brought up in press conferences. Coach Tomlin was asked how Haskins has developed over the last two weeks.
“I have no idea. He’s working hard every day. He’s doing a great job communicating with players, with coaches, working with a myriad of receivers and things that he does. He’s putting good days on top of good days, and so it has been a good process, but I’m not really looking to measure his growth relative to where he was two weeks ago. I just expect everybody to continually get better through this process.”
Marcu Allen, Ulysees Gilbert, and Buddy Johnson
A position where quality depth has been in question lately is at inside linebacker. Coach Tomlin was asked what he has seen in the group of reserves, specifically Allen, Gilbert, and Johnson.
“All giving us good days. All doing a really good job of communicating. Some good plays, some bad; it’s the process. But I like the way the group’s working.”
Creating a “players mentioned” sandwich is the other member of the Steelers coming off an ACL injury. Coach Tomlin was asked if it has been a challenge to hold back Devin Bush who is ready to show he can do everything possible coming back from injury.
“Not at all, it’s the job. I like those guys being on go and having that mentality and us being thoughtful about how we preserve, protect them, and challenge them. It’s the job.”
A replay of Mike Tomlin’s interview can be seen on the Steelers YouTube Channel by clicking HERE.