Heading into a slightly short week, head coach Mike Tomlin was back at the podium to speak with the media ahead of Week 16. 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.
After missing last weeks game being in the concussion protocol, Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett is looking to get back on the field this week. Coach Tomlin was asked if he is planning on starting Pickett this week.
In a later question, Coach Tomlin is asked if there’s any benefit to Pickett having a week to watch the game from the sidelines rather than playing.
“Maybe if you work it hard to look for one. My preference is to play and grow and gain the experience associated with the in helmet perspective of competing. I just think that’s just where he is in his career. I just think that’s the number one ingredient for getting better. But I’m sure there are some.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers are set to play Saturday night in some very cold weather conditions. Coach Tomlin was asked if it factors into their plan for the game. In his response, Coach Tomlin said some young players will have to get acclimated to the Pittsburgh weather and specifically mentioned George Pickens.
“I’m just acknowledging that it’s a component of December ball. We’ve got to be an all-weather group. I think everybody that that lives here and plays here understands and embraces that, and that’s one of the reasons why we continually take the approach that we take whenever we get an opportunity to work in less-than-ideal weather conditions. It’s always our attitude to work in less-than-ideal weather conditions in an effort to gain exposure and experience. Those that have been here know and understand it, those that are new, guys like George Pickens, we take every opportunity to acclimate them.”
With Kenny Pickett out, Mitch Trubisky got his first start with the Steelers since Week 4. Coach Tomlin was asked if Trubisky grew from what he saw Sunday from the previous four starts in September.
“I think he’s better equipped to answer that than I. He did a really good job of taking care of the ball and playing within the game-planned approach that we had prescribed for that opponent. He should be congratulated for that.”
Diontae Johnson & Marcus Allen
The Steelers were hit with a couple of costly penalties that were based on bad decisions which occurred after the whistle. Coach Tomlin was asked if he had conversations with Diontae Johnson or Marcus Allen about their penalties.
“I’ll leave that in-house. I’m not going to give you the pound of flesh you’re looking for.”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about players such as Kenny Pickett having experience playing in Pittsburgh in college and dealing with the weather. In his answer, Coach Tomlin brought up Diontae Johnson’s college experience.
“He’s probably better equipped to answer that than I, but I think that’s an example that we often cite when we analyze people in draft prep. Diontae [Johnson] played at Toledo. He’s from Tampa, but he played at Toledo. That Wednesday MACtion has probably got him a little prepared. So,all the offensive guys, usually there’s a discussion of some kind in draft analysis of that exposure or what that might look like or if it might be an issue for them. Oftentimes not a significant decision maker, but a variable, certainly.”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked if either Johnson or Allen came up to him to say that they messed up.
“I’ll leave that between us.”
Kevin Dotson & Dan Moore Jr.
The Steelers offensive line has needed time to gel this season, and the players with less experience are situated on the left side. Coach Tomlin was asked how he would grade Kevin Dotson and Dan Moore as a pair and how they have progressed this season.
“I think the arrow pointed up. I think that’s not only reflective of them, I think it’s reflective of the collective. They’re doing a better job of communicating. The time that they spend together, I see them working hard at the things that you can’t measure, the intangible quality that makes a group a group. They spend time together formally, informally. They’re legitimately close. I think it helps that many of them are at similar stages in life. They’ve got similar experiences and responsibilities. Nobody’s got a bunch of car seats in the back of their car and those type of things. They’re young men that are evolving as players and doing so together. I just think it’s helpful when you have community in that.”
It was noted in the question that Devin Bush seemed to be playing very aggressively in the Steelers last game. Coach Tomlin was asked how has seen him progress this year in being a better linebacker.
“He’s been solid. He’s done all the things that we’ve asked him to do. I can’t say enough about some of the things that you don’t see, the communication things and things of that nature. He’s just evolving as a young professional.”
Larry Ogunjobi & Terrell Edmunds
The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to lock down the run against the Panthers on Sunday. In his opening statement, Coach Tomlin praised Larry Ogunjobi and his efforts in the run game. Coach Tomlin was asked about the challenge of stopping Josh Jacobs this week, and in his answer he referred to his previous comments about Ogunjobi and specifically brought up Terrell Edmunds.
“Different groups are different sets of challenges. Probably, in some instances, similar potential solutions. It’s about us and making sure that we highlight the appropriate skill set of the men that we have available to us and that we match personnel appropriately, that we play sound, that we come off blocks and do fundamental things well. I mentioned Larry O[gunjobi], I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Edmunds as well. I just thought that he did a nice job in and around the line of scrimmage and those down safeties oftentimes are significant components of minimizing strong running attacks. So, I would imagine guys like Edmunds are going to be big in an effort to minimize what Jacobs is capable of.”
Getting a helmet for the third time this season, rookie Mark Robinson saw his first defensive snaps of the year. Coach Tomlin was asked what he saw from him.
“Not enough of a sample size to make any bold statements. Great for him to get an opportunity to get some play. Hopefully he gets an opportunity to get some more play. I know he’s been doing the things day-to-day from a detail and professionalism standpoint that make us comfortable to be open to that, which is a good thing for him.”
Failing to mention him in the injury report, Coach Tomlin was asked the status of Myles Jack after he missed last week’s game.
“He’ll probably be limited at early portions of the week, but I don’t anticipate it negatively affecting his availability at the end of the week.”
Playing fewer snaps than normal and not being targeted in the game, Pat Freiermuth was also dealing with a foot injury going into Week 15. Coach Tomlin was asked if his injury is an ongoing thing.
“We’ll see tomorrow. We’ll see whether it’s significant or not, but again, obviously he played and we anticipate him playing again this week.”
For more information on Mike Tomlin’s press conference, check out the podcast below:
If you want to watch Mike Tomlin’s press conference, you can see it in its entirety below.