10 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin in Tuesday’s press conference
As the Pittsburgh Steelers prepared for their final preseason game of the 2023 NFL season, head coach Mike Tomlin had his formal media session on the typical Tuesday. With plenty of questions asked by those in attendance, it is once again time for a players mentioned article. Remember these are players where a specific question was asked during the Q&A period.
Elijah Riley & Chandon Sullivan
One of the biggest position battles still to be determined is who will be the primary slot cornerback for the Steelers. Coach Tomlin was asked how Elijah Riley has done in the slot position and how he would characterize the competition. In his response, Coach Tomlin mentioned Chandon Sullivan.
“It’s been tight. Both guys have been above the line. Both guys have made splash plays. And so, we’ll continue to rotate them in this last opportunity. Talking about he and Sully (Chandon Sullivan) the way that we have in the most recent outing.”
T.J. Watt, Nick Herbig, Cam Heyward, DeMarvin Leal, & Keeanu Benton
Whenever a veteran player is not utilized as much in practice or a preseason game, younger players benefit from the extra experience. Coach Tomlin was asked about using a more mix-and-match approach for defense rather than keeping to a more structured “first team versus second team” approach they have used on offense. In his response, Coach Tomlin mentioned the five players listed above and how veteran rest leads to more playing time for younger players.
“You know, first-team all-pros and 30-year-old corners I know more about. And so, it’s not about the guys oftentimes that I choose not to play. It’s about the opportunity for others. You know, every rep that T.J. (Watt) doesn’t take, I know he’s first-team all-pro caliber, it’s an opportunity for (Nick) Herbig to show his skills and get better. For example, every time I don’t play Cam Heyward it’s an opportunity for (DeMarvin) Leal and (Keeanu) Benton and others. And so, that’s the mentality. My job is to provide these guys individually and collectively what it is they need. And some of those guys need less physical reps in an effort to be game ready, their resumes prove that. And so, I redistribute those reps to others.”
Another player in the mix for playing time at the slot cornerback position is veteran Patrick Peterson sliding inside in certain packages. Coach Tomlin was asked if seeing Peterson more on the inside is something he wants to look at this upcoming game.
“I’m comfortable with what I’ve seen. There won’t be an additional emphasis in that regard in this game, no.”
While other members of the defensive line have missed time, Montravius Adams has received some playing time outside of his traditional role in the Steelers base defense. Coach Tomlin was asked how Adams is coming along outside of playing nose tackle.
“There’s a rotation. When three D linemen become two, we generallyrotate,and we’ve done that in the past and will continue who goes first or second. I wouldn’t read too much into it at this juncture.”
Last week Najee Harris talked about how there was a plan when it came to his usage throughout the preseason. Coach Tomlin was asked if he expects Harris to get a few more carries this week if he wants to.
“We’ll see. We’ll see. It depends on my agenda.”
Mike Tomlin’s complete interview can be seen here:
LIVE: Coach Tomlin addresses the media ahead of our preseason game against the Falcons. https://t.co/Rxwm3eZMph
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 22, 2023