The Pittsburgh Steelers returned to Heinz Field on Saturday for their next practice as they prepare for their next preseason game on Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles. 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.
News broke on Friday when a report surfaced that Steelers wide receiver James Washington had requested a trade. Following practice on Saturday, Coach Tomlin put the rumors to rest when he was asked if Washington had indeed requested a trade or has expressed dissatisfaction with his role in the Steelers offense.
“He has not. Those unnamed sources we don’t react to or respond to. James has been great here and working and having a good camp.”
Benny Snell & Kalen Ballage
The Steelers are getting a little thin at the running back position due to injuries as neither Benny Snell or Kalen and Ballage were practicing on Saturday. Coach Tomlin was asked about if there was any update on either player.
“No. They’re not working. Hopefully they’ll get back out soon.”
Antonie Brooks Jr.
Another player unable to take the field on Saturday was nickel cornerback Antoine Brooks Jr. Coach Tomlin was asked if there was an update on Brooks or if he was in the same boat as the running backs.
“Same. He had a minor deal that he’s working with. Hopefully, it’s just a number of days and he’ll be prepared to play on Thursday, but we’ll see.
The Hall of Fame Game gave Steelers’ fans the first real glimpse of third-round draft pick Kendrick Green playing the center position. Coach Tomlin was asked how Green did in his first NFL game.
“I thought he was above the line. His conditioning allows for great effort, and I think that’s a component of his game and that’s one of the things that’s allowing him to play above the line. I like the way he’s finishing. He’s got a way to go from a technical standpoint and things of that nature, but that’s just the process. I think he’s putting himself in a position to do so because of his conditioning.”
One of the Steelers young wide receivers who has been limited throughout training camp is Cody White. Coach Tomlin was asked what potential White brings if he is able to get on the field.
“He’s missed so much. More than anything, he’s just gotta get healthy.”
As part of the positive aspects of special teams on Thursday night, Matthew Sexton had a 36-yard punt return to set up the Steelers first touchdown. Coach Tomlin was asked who gave Sexton the nickname ‘Cheddar Bob.’
“Man, who knows? We’ve got more nicknames out here…”
Coach Tomlin was asked a quick follow up if he was the one who came up with the name.
“No, I don’t claim that one. But I like it. We’ve got a bunch of nicknames out here.”
Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler told the media on Saturday that T.J. Watt was not practicing because of working out a new contract. Coach Tomlin was asked if he expects to get Watt back before the deal is done or if they will have to wait.
“I’m not speculating in that regard. I just focus on today and who’s working and getting better that way. I’m sure that’s going to naturally run its course. I know he’s working hard with our trainers and so we’ll see where it all leads us.”
On a positive note, Eric Ebron returned to practice on Saturday. Coach Tomlin was asked what he liked from Ebron during practice.
“It’s good that he’s back out here.”
Coach Tomlin was asked several questions about Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins. The first was if Coach Tomlin wants Haskins to take more chances rather than live up to Tomlin’s nickname for him of ‘Check Down.’
“It depends on what he does and the result of it whether I actually mean that nickname or not. You know what I mean? He gives me a lot of latitude.”
It was brought up that it appeared Haskins wanted to go deep a few times but instead threw the underneath route. Coach Tomlin was asked if it was the correct read.
“It was solid under the circumstances that you mentioned, yes.”
The final question Coach Tomlin was asked about Dwayne Haskins was if he was letting the ball fly more at practice on Saturday.
“It’s all about what the defense gives him. Sometimes we’re in two high and it becomes a check down game. Sometimes we’re in single high and we have an opportunity to go down the field. The appropriate thing is that he’s reading the defenses and making quick and fluid decisions.”
A replay of Mike Tomlin’s interview has not been made available at this time.