The 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers pulled out a 16-15 victory in their second preseason game on Saturday night in Jacksonville. 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.
In his second game as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, 2022 first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett saw all his action in the first half of the game. Coach Tomlin was asked if he had seen all he wanted to from Pickett and if that was his plan to not have him go into the second half.
“Yeah. That was all I had planned to play him. I would have liked to possess the football more in the first half and thus have a bigger body of work, but some things are outside of your control. We’ve got to get first downs in order for that to happen. Oftentimes when you’re not possessing the ball enough, there’s not enough snaps to go around for everyone. So, it could be said for some of the offensive people we wanted to take a look at, a lack of conversions limits some of that.”
In a follow-up question, coach Tomlin was asked what it is about Pickett where he’s able to produce last-minute touchdowns in each of his first two games.
“You know, it’s probably who he is. I know he did it next door [in college at Pitt]. He probably did it in high school. He probably did it in little league. Some things people are born with.”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked if anything has been changed in regards to Kenny Pickett and the quarterback depth chart.
“We’ll address depth chart related things over the next couple of things as we zero in on our next opportunity. I don’t make knee-jerk reactions or statements following a performance.”
Mason Rudolph & Tyler Vaughns
When the Pittsburgh Steelers got the ball late in the game off of a turnover, Mason Rudolph moved the ball inside the 10-yard line after two plays to Tyler Vaughns. Coach Tomlin was asked a question about Kenny Pickett moving the offense during training camp, but in his response Coach Tomlin focused on the Steelers two-minute drill and mentioned how it was successful with Rudolph and Vaughns.
“I just think largely as a collective we put time into two-minute football. You guys have been at our training camp practices. You know how much we devote to that. I think it paid dividends in the stadium, not only at the end of the half but at the end of the game. We were in two-minute there when we went down the field with [QB Mason] Rudolph and [WR Tyler] Vaughns.”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about Rudolph's success playing with the third team but yet making the plays to win the game.
“I thought he looked like a varsity guy in a JV game, and I told him that. It was reminiscent of when we had Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich up as backups. When you’ve got a veteran guy like that late in the preseason game in the quarterback position, he should be the best player on the field. It should show and I thought it did.”
The most lackluster performance of the Steelers quarterbacks came from Mitch Trubisky, although he was not given much help in terms of pass protection. Coach Tomlin was asked about how he thought Trubisky played overall.
“I thought Mitch [Trubisky] played well. I thought he created and extended some things when there wasn’t much there. We’ve got to do a better job in protecting him and having some semblance of a running game if you want a fair evaluation, and I’m just being bluntly honest.”
Mike Tomlin’s media session can be seen below: