The Pittsburgh Steelers held a padded practice at Heinz Field for 2021 Training Camp on Monday following their day off. Since the Steelers were back on the field, we were also given the typical media session from head coach Mike Tomlin. Therefore, 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.
For the first time in training camp, right tackle Zach Banner saw a small amount of action in pads. Coach Tomlin was asked what he saw from Banner on Monday.
“I didn’t put direct eyes on him, to be honest with you. I don’t have enough to make a comment.”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin brought up Banner when he was asked about the progression of the offensive line.
“I thought they answered the bell today. I thought we won the line of scrimmage when we had to. I didn’t see a lot of guys in the backfield in terms of some of the negativity. Most of the time, in those scenarios, you win the line of scrimmage and you get a varsity runner to the line of scrimmage clean, he does the rest. And so largely, I thought they did what it is they needed to do and Zach, of course, is a part of that.”
While Steelers fans are not exactly sure what to expect from the Steelers new offensive coordinator this season, some are curious if the Steelers will get back to using the fullback more often. Coach Tomlin was asked how he views Derek Watt as a pass catcher since he was used in that manner in Los Angeles.
“And I think we’re discovering that through this process. As you can see, we intend to potentially use that position more than we have in the past, or at least the recent pass. The plays that he makes, the skillset that he shows will dictate some of that discussion.”
Benny Snell Jr.
One surprising absence from Monday’s practice was running back Benny Snell. Coach Tomlin was asked about Snell’s status.
“He’s being looked at. Maybe I’ll have an update for you when I determine the severity or the lack of severity of it. Right now, we’re exploring his status.”
In two seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has made first team All-Pro both years. Coach Tomlin was asked if he is looking for more of the same from Fitzpatrick or if he’s looking for ways to get even more out of him.
“We’re exploring more ways to get work out of everyone. No question. What we do with him oftentimes has nothing to do with what he’s capable of; it’s what others are capable of. I’ll put him in 11 different places on a football field.”
Miles Killebrew & Terrell Edmunds
When Terrell Edmunds has not been available to run with the first team defense, former Detroit Lion Miles Killebrew has been the next man up. Coach Tomlin was asked since Killebrew was on the field today if Edmunds was dealing with injury.
“We’ve been watching Edmunds the whole time. Where you been?”
Coach Tomlin was asked a follow-up question if Edmunds’ injury has led to Killebrew’s added snaps.
“34 (Terrell Edmunds) had offseason surgery, and so we’ve been protecting him through physical contact since day one we’ve been out here.”
Last season wide receiver Diontae Johnson was targeted 160 times including the postseason which was tied for the fifth most in the NFL. Coach Tomlin was asked how Diontae Johnson has been playing so far in training camp.
“I thought he came ready for the work. I think he’s doing a good job thus far, but we’ve got a lot ahead of us, not only him, all of us.”
A portion of Mike Tomlin’s interview can be seen below as well as a link to the full interview on the Steelers’ YouTube channel.