The 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers pulled out a 32-25 victory in their first preseason game on Saturday night at Acrisure Stadium. Following the game, we were graced with an official 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.
Getting his first NFL action, Steelers fans were ecstatic to see Kenny Pickett enter the game in the second half. After throwing the game-winning touchdown, Coach Tomlin was asked what he made of Pickett and what he was able to do at the end of the game.
“He moved his group. He played situational football. He displayed a competitive spirit. A lot of good things to build on from a first performance standpoint.”
Mitch Trubisky & Mason Rudolph
Even though Kenny Pickett got the game-winning pass, all three of the Steelers quarterbacks who saw action in Saturday’s game had successful outings. Coach Tomlin was asked about his thoughts on Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph and their performances in the first half.
“I could say the same thing about all three, to be honest with you. They moved their units. They did the informal things associated with the position from a leadership and communication standpoint. They were engaged. It was a good first time out for all three. Obviously, we’ll comb through it tomorrow and evaluate it in that way.”
The Steelers had a successful night as a team when it came to rushing the football. Coach Tomlin was asked about what he thought of how his running backs ran the ball, and in his response he specifically mentioned Jaylen Warren fumbling.
“I liked the efforts of those guys. I didn’t like Jaylen [Warren] putting the ball on the ground. I appreciate his tackle breaking and contact balance, but that standard of expectation is non-negotiable. He’s got to get better there. These are good days provided we take care of the ball, and we didn’t do that. Thankfully we got it back. We’ve got to get better.
Making an impression early in the game, Steelers rookie wide receiver George Pickens had three catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. Coach Tomlin was asked if he saw anything from Pickens that surprised him.
In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked about Pickens blocking and other intangibles.
“I’ve got to look at the tape to analyze some of those things, but from a play making perspective his performance was consistent with what we’ve seen in practice settings.”
The Steelers got an opportunity for one last score to win the game thanks to a strip sack from seventh-round draft pick Mark Robinson. Coach Tomlin was asked what a play like that does for a young player trying to make the team.
“It’s a big play, not only for him but for us. Situational splash playmaking to secure victory. We value that.”
After explaining in his opening statement that Calvin Austin III did not play on Saturday due to a foot injury sustained in Friday’s practice, Coach Tomlin was asked about wide receiver Anthony Miller and if he was also dealing with an injury.
“Yeah, he’s got a shoulder also, yes.”
With Pat Freiermuth and Zach Gentry both sitting out Saturday night, sixth-round draft pick Connor Heyward got more of an opportunity within the offense. Coach Tomlin was asked what he thought about Connor Hayward, both on offense and special teams, and how he has progressed in the last week or so.
“It was good to see him make some coverage unit plays. You’ve always got questions about the white shirts. That’s what we refer to as offensive football players in the special teams game, and I think he had a couple of kickoff tackles which is good for him and for us.”
Mike Tomlin’s media session can be seen below: