The Pittsburgh Steelers practiced again at Heinz Field on Sunday 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.
Rashaad Coward & Kevin Dotson
With guard Kevin Dotson starting Steelers training camp unable to participate due to injury, former Chicago Bears’ guard Rashaad Coward has been holding down the fort on the left side. Coach Tomlin was asked his impressions of Coward so far in training camp.
“I think he’s done an excellent job. He has the mannerisms and the demeanor of a veteran and that’s needed, particularly when we’re going through the transition we’re going through at that group when we’re missing some guys or work at that group. His level of maturity and experience is showing and it’s an asset to him and to us.”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about getting Kevin Dotson back at practice on Sunday and how he performed.
“I can’t tell you. I’ll look at the tape first. It was good to have him back out there today.”
The next question has created some controversy throughout Steelers’ Nation. Coach Tomlin was asked if Kevin Dotson was running with the second team because of what he has seen out of Coward with the first team. Coach Tomlin answered the question in regards to Dotson’s standing after missing several weeks.
“He has done nothing to earn first-team reps. What are we talking about? He’s a second-year guy that hadn’t worked.”
Devin Bush & Najee Harris
Although these two players weren’t grouped together for the initial question, it made sense to put both Devin Bush and Najee Harris in the same category based on the follow-up question and response. First, Coach Tomlin was asked about how Devin Bush has been looking so far in training camp.
“Doing great. Working hard, getting better every day. Excited about getting him back on the grass.”
In a later question, Coach Tom and was asked about Devin Bush going up against Najee Harris in drills and if they have been paired up as much as he hoped.
“We’re just getting there. And again, like I mentioned earlier when we opened, we’re starting to bring some of these guys back to full participation. And that’s a target, that’s a competitive target for him. And so, he got some of those opportunities yesterday and he’ll get more of them as we continue. It’s good for him and it’s good for 22 (Najee Harris) as well.”
Cam Heyward & Eric Ebron
Another player who was brought up along with Devin Bush was Steelers defensive captain Cam Heyward. Coach Tomlin was asked about the relationship between Bush and Heyward,
“Cam does the talking; he does the listening. That’s the nature of their relationship.”
Coach Tomlin was asked another question if Heyward has “old guy tendencies” or if he’s just the old guy on this particular team.
“When he was a young guy we used to talk hypothetically about a certain day when he would be that guy, when he looked up to guys like Aaron Smith and stuff like that. At that time, that point in his career just seemed forever and a day. I just like to remind him that he’s there.”
Finally getting around to Eric Ebron, Coach Tomlin was asked if he keeps track of one-on-one stats in drill work. In his response, Coach Tomlin specifically brought up Eric Ebron.
“We keep track of it but not in the way that you suggest. It’s just a competitive spirit that we want to instill in them. Everybody knows what the good reps or the challenging reps are. The guys want to cover Ebron, for example, because he has strength in that area and so if you cover him, you get an opportunity to cover him again. If you don’t, then you’ve got to drop down and cover someone else. In that sense, we keep score in a competitive way but not anything that we keep a ledger on.”
In the next question, Coach Tomlin was asked how Heyward has been doing in the drill.
“Cam is losing a heck of a lot more than he’s winning. But he’s got a competitive spirit, doesn’t he?”
Finally, Coach Tomlin was asked about if Heyward is sneaking into the drill to specifically go against Ebron or if the coaches manufactured the matchup.
“He is always looking for competition. He thinks he’s an oversized athlete. Notice that I said, ‘He thinks that he’s an oversized athlete.’”
A replay of Mike Tomlin’s interview can be seen at the end of the Steelers Training Camp Wrap Up Show below.