Despite there being a very low showing from the local Pittsburgh media, head coach Mike Tomlin was back at the podium to speak ahead of Week 17. With a few 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.
Terrell Edmunds, Damontae Kazee, & Minkah Fitzpatrick
The Steelers have been utilizing more of their safeties over the final part of the 2022 season. Coach Tomlin was asked about an injury update on Terrell Edmunds and if using Damontae Kazee in his position changes what they are able to do with Minkah Fitzpatrick.
“We move Minkah around week-to-week based on game planning, and it doesn’t have a lot to do with who his partner may be. Edmunds is versatile in that way, allows us to do that; Kazee is versatile in that way, and allows us to do that. I’m assuming that TE [Terrell Edmunds] is going to push back toward availability, but I just didn’t want to be presumptuous. We’ll let his participation and the quality of his participation be our guide. But I fully expect him to be available to us.”
Robert Spillane & Alex Highsmith
Over the last two games, linebacker Robert Spillane has not left the field on defense. Coach Tomlin was asked if Spillane‘s usage has been because of the run aspect or more because the quarterbacks they have been facing have not been as mobile. In his reply, Coach Tomlin also mentioned Alex Highsmith.
“It’s all of the above, man. We just like what Rob has been doing. He plays physical. Rob is a guy that has been in continual growth since he’s been here. Coming in as an undrafted guy and practice squadder and working his way through making the team and becoming a core teamer and part-time defender, and now increasingly so, almost an every-down defender. I just think what you’re seeing is the maturation and growth process of a quality professional, no different than Alex Highsmith, for example. We believe in being a part of the development of guys and watching them grow and develop within a system of football and we expect them to get better. As we were talking about the other discussion, the position is irrelevant. We expect guys to get better every day and those results to show in their play.”
After not being used as much in the passing game this season, Najee Harris saw a season-high nine targets. Coach Tomlin was asked if it was a concentrated effort to get Harris more involved in the pass game or if it was circumstantial.
“Probably a little bit of both, yes.”
Leading a come-from-behind touchdown drive with less than three minutes in a prime time game was a big step forward for the Steelers rookie quarterback. Coach Tomlin was asked about Kenny Pickett having “that moxie” and where it comes from.
“I imagine he was born with it, man. I know that it’s not the first time I’ve seen it. I know it’s not the first time that people from Western PA have seen it. We’ve seen him do it next door. I think that’s why we have such a great deal of comfort in his intangible quality and from a draft-evaluation perspective. We were in close proximity to it. And when you’re in close proximity to it, it becomes less intangible. You can almost feel it. It is real. I don’t think any of us are surprised by it.”
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