As the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers continue to practice for training camp in Latrobe on Wednesday, we were also graced with a media session from head coach Mike Tomlin. For that reason, it’s time for another installment of the “players mentioned” article. Remember these are current players where a specific question was asked during the Q&A period.
Tyler Snead, Calvin Austin III, & Gunner Olszewski
The Steelers have a number of wide receivers with varying attributes they bring to the team. Coach Tomlin was asked about the specific battles between defensive backs and receivers. In his response, Coach Tomlin mentioned three different receivers in Tyler Snead, Calvin Austin, and Gunner Olszewski by number as he talked about guys with stop-and-go abilities.
“It’s an ebb and flow, it really is, and the skill sets are different depending on the circumstance. And as you guys can see, we have a bunch of different types of receivers. Tall guys, small guys with great stop-and-go, and oftentimes those skill sets really dictate the nature of the matchup. We were working in the red zone yesterday, in the tight red, and we focused on a lot of jump balls to the bigger bodied guys. If you look at people working in the slot, you’ll see guys like [Tyler Snead] and [Calvin Austin III] and [Gunner Olszewski], guys with great stop-and-go trying to lean on those skills. And so, a lot of the work is the same cast of characters, but there’s a different emphasis based on the skill set for the people involved.”
Even though the rookie wide receivers of George Pickens and Calvin Austin III have been making a lot of plays in training camp, so has rookie tight end Connor Heyward. Coach Tomlin was asked what elements of his game he is looking forward to incorporating in the offense.
“You know, I’m just still getting to know him. I’m not ready to anoint him just yet. He’s making some plays and getting better, and we’re liking some of the things that we’re seeing from him. He’s getting better from a conditioning standpoint, and for a lot of young guys, that’s a challenge. They’ve got offense or defense responsibilities, but also these instructional special teams periods are huge for them, and they burn a lot of gas in those periods, and he’s one that I see getting better in that regard.”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about the tightness of the tight end group with Connor Heyward moving in and if that’s typical for a position group to be so close.
“I think it’s very reasonable, particularly in groups that are small in number. Quarterback group, specialists, tight ends, that’s a common occurrence.”
A player who has continued to turn heads yet again is the Steelers second-round draft pick George Pickens. Coach Tomlin was asked what Pickens can get better at.
“Absolutely everything. He’s got talent, but there’s a difference between talent and skill. And that’s what we’re trying to educate him, and others regarding. God gives them the talent, we develop the skill in settings like this, relative to the positions that they play.”
Kevin Dotson & Alex Highsmith
Although nothing has been reported as major so far, there are a number of Steelers players who are dinged up with injury and missing practice time. Coach Tomlin was asked specifically about Kevin Dotson and Alex Highsmith if there are any updates on them.
“No, I think everyone can continue to be described as day to day, the guys that I outlined in that way, and hopefully we’ll start getting some of those guys back sooner rather than later.”
Mike Tomlin’s media session can be seen below: