As the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers continue to practice for training camp at St. Vincent College on Thursday, 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.
After getting a two-year contract extension, Diontae Johnson was a full participant at practice on Thursday. Coach Tomlin was asked about getting Johnson back doing team activities.
“He’s a significant piece. He’s done a good job of staying connected throughout the process. His train left the station today. I imagine there’s not going to be much of a transition in terms of him getting up to speed. I know he was excited about work today and I’m sure he’ll have an opportunity to tell you guys and expand upon that.”
On Johnson’s first play, he caught a deep pass. In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked about Johnson’s work ethic that allowed him to not miss a beat stepping into team activities.
“He’s been working, you guys have seen him work. And so, we’re not surprised by that.”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about Johnson not being a big or lightning-fast receiver and asked what makes him so good.
“He’s got game. Skill relative to the position, he has at a high level. He’s got ridiculous body control. And I just think that those are significant components of determining dominance at that position, probably more so than the things that are measurable that you mentioned.”
Benny Snell Jr. & Najee Harris
The Steelers have already made two changes at running back after reporting to Latrobe. Coach Tomlin was asked about Benny Snell with where he has grown the most and where he can carve out his niche in the backfield. In his response, Coach Tomlin also brought up Najee Harris.
“You know, he’s done a really good job of understanding NFL conditioning and that’s gradually improved over the course of his time here. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that. He works hard in offensive periods. And in particular, when a guy like [Najee Harris] is down, he gets an opportunity to really show his capabilities. But at the same time, he doesn’t wane in regard to his special teams responsibility. That’s why I mentioned his conditioning, because you think of his expanded opportunities as an offensive player, but as a coach, I look at a guy taking expanded offensive reps while at the same time maintaining his special teams responsibility and that is impressive.”
Steven Sims, Tyler Vaughns, & Tyler Snead
After talking about special teams in the previous question, a number of wide receivers who are trying to find their way via special teams were brought up. Coach Tomlin was asked what he thought of Steven Simms, Tyler Vaughns, and Tyler Snead.
“They’ve had their moments. I really think that story gets told once we start getting into stadiums.”
Despite only being mentioned as having an illness, Levi Wallace has not been participating in practice for some time. Coach Tomlin was asked if there was a physical ailment with Wallace or if he is simply ill.
“He’s just ill.”
Mike Tomlin’s media session can be seen HERE on the Steelers YouTube channel.