The 2021 NFL regular season is over and the Pittsburgh Steelers are still alive as they have qualified for the the playoofs. Going into a normal week due with a Sunday night game, Mike Tomlin held his typical Tuesday press conference. With many players discussed, it’s time for another 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 Pittsburgh Steelers have been in two emotional games as part of the sendoff for Ben Roethlisberger. Coach Tomlin was asked about continuing to ride the wave in regards to Roethlisberger’s final games.
“Those are our intentions, certainly.”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about how Ben Roethlisberger stays steady when others are not.
“He was born with that. I’d imagine he’s displayed that on every team that he’s ever been a part of all the way back to Findlay, Ohio.”
J.C. Hassenauer & Kendrick Green
After starting the first 15 games of the season, Kendrick Green yielded the center position the last two games to J.C. Hasenauer due to injury and availability. Coach Tomlin was asked what he liked about Hassenauer‘s play and if it’s something he wasn’t seeing from Green.
“No, I don’t know that there’s anything that I wasn’t seeing from Kendrick. I just appreciate J.C., his professional approach. His communication skills. His desire to communicate and be a hub of communication, embracing that component of the position. It’s just been a good few weeks for him.”
Corliss Waitman & Pressley Harvin III
Another position where the Steelers are not sure where they’re going to go this week is at punter between Corliss Waitman and Pressley Harvin. Coach Tomlin was asked if he was going to keep an open competition for the position this week.
“We’ll see what this week holds. We got some planning to do in that area in terms of the division of labor, but we also have it in some other areas as well. That’s what the week’s prep is about. The big thing for us is that we don’t make too many decisions too quickly. Oftentimes, when you have that mentality, the right decision reveals itself to you. And so, I’m in no hurry, the game is on Sunday night.”
Another player who had to fill-in in week 18 due to injury was Joe Haeg at left tackle. Coach Tomlin was asked how Haeg graded out for the game.
“Joe’s a pro. Joe’s a Swiss army knife, like were fer to him as, because of his position flexibility and his availability. He did a great job,and we were appreciative of his efforts. But we always are.”
Moving into unfamiliar territory, running back Najee Harris is dealing with an injury which could limit his participation in practice this week. Coach Tomlin was asked how he manages a player who wants to go so hard even if he’s not completely healthy.
“That’s a joy to be quite honest with you. I’d rather say ‘woah’ than ‘sickem’. It’s a good issue and problem to have when you have a guy that’s wired the way that he’s wired.”
The Steelers had a key interception by versatile defensive back Cam Sutton in the end zone on Sunday to halt a Ravens scoring drive. Coach Tomlin was asked what he thinks of how Sutton can bring everything together in the back end of the defense.
“Much like I was talking about Honey Badger, Cam Sutton is that type of guy for us. And he’s always been. He’s outside corner capable. He’s inside corner capable. He’s safety capable. Many weeks he does all three in one football game and so it has good variation to what it is that we do. It makes us a tough nut to crack. And we’re appreciative of that versatility. But being honest with you, we were highly evident of that versatility in the draft process. Kevin Colbert and I had an opportunity to spend an evening with him prior to his pro day. And it was just obvious that he was cut in that way from a football intellect standpoint. That he was going to have the ability to do those things and do them within the same game within the same drive. And that’s value.”
Terrell Edmunds & Minkah Fitzpatrick
Another player who came up with an interception in Sunday’s game was safety Terrell Edmunds. Coach Tomlin was asked about Edmunds versatility in the secondary, and in his response coach Tomlin also mentioned Minkah Fitzpatrick.
“That kind of comes with the strong safety position, at least in terms of how it is utilized in our scheme. Minkah (Fitzpatrick) is a middle of the field player and keeps a lid on everything and ties things together. T.E.’s challenges are coverage related usually around a tight end and there’s some dynamic ones and he always runs to that fight. He doesn’t run away from it. I love his attitude regarding the last week, but obviously this is a new week and so he’ll be challenged in a big way that way.”
In a follow up question, Coach Tomlin was asked if the ability to knock the ball out like Fitzpatrick did against Hollywood Brown at the end of regulation on Sunday is something they teach or if it was simply Fitzpatrick doing what he does.
“Both. But that’s not the first time we witnessed that. He made a big significant fourth down play late in the game when we were in Cleveland a number of weeks ago. We get used to seeing Minkah make significant plays like that. Not that his work is not appreciated. We could just anticipate it and we’ve seen enough of it to know that’s coming and it’s needed.”
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