The Pittsburgh Steelers had a closed practice on Sunday before their scheduled day off on Monday. Despite not having fans in the stands, Coach Tomlin spoke to reporters following practice. Even though it was very brief, there was still enough 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.
Despite Ben Roethlisberger practicing on Sunday, Dwayne Haskins managed to get some time playing with the first team offense. Coach Tomlin was asked what gave Haskins the chance to play with the first team in the two-minute drill and if he liked what he saw.
“More than anything, the lesson to be learned there… The defense had an interception in its hands and didn’t finish the play. And you just can’t give signal-callers another shot at you. That was the lesson from that period. Obviously, he went on and produced a scoring drive, but when the defense gets their hands on the ball, we’ve got to close out. We’ve got to close it out. That’s the lesson to be learned from that segment of work today.”
Sunday was the first practice for new Steelers linebacker Joe Schobert and he was thrown right in with the first-team defense. Coach Tomlin was asked a number of questions about Schobert, and the first one was if he was now a starter on the defense.
“We’re just trying to teach as much as we can, and the best way to teach is to get him into competitive situations.”
Coach Tomlin was asked another question about Schobert where if it is safe to say he has seen everything.
“I’m sure a lot of guys that hadn’t played ball in Pittsburgh have similar stories. That’s just the story of the NFL.”
Another question asked of Coach Tomlin was if there are similarities from what they had seen from Schobert in his time in Cleveland and how the Steelers run things now.
“I’m not looking for similarities or differences in defensive scheme. I’m looking for his instincts and playmaking abilities, regardless of schemes. Look at his stat line. He’s highly consistent. So, the scheme is somewhat irrelevant. His instincts and playmaking ability is what’s relevant.”
With the Steelers usually taking an inside linebacker off the field in their dime package, Coach Tomlin was asked if having Schobert might convince them to play more nickel defense.
“Again, we’ve got to get into game-planning. We’re not even in that mode. That makes some of those discussions’ hypothetical. I like his versatility; I like the versatility he gives us.”
Although it was actually a question about Joe Schobert, Joe Haden was brought up by Coach Tomlin as a player who had an a lot of NFL experience when he joined the Steelers late in training camp. Coach Tomlin was asked about how long it would take to get Schobert up to speed and Coach Tomlin used Hayden as his example.
“Depends on the guy and his ability to learn. Usually, guys that have played football acclimate quickly. I remember when we acquired Joe Haden a number of years ago going into the fourth preseason game in Carolina. Veteran players usually adapt and adjust quickly. Most of them have been in multiple systems and can relate things to things they’ve done in the past. I’m sure he’s been in enough systems where he can do that.”
A replay of Mike Tomlin’s interview can be seen on the Steelers YouTube channel HERE.