12 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin in Tuesday’s press conference
The 2023 regular season has surpassed the midway point. With the Steelers coming off their three-game home stand, they now hit the road for a key AFC North matchup. As is typically the case, head coach Mike Tomlin took to the podium on Tuesday to address in the media for Tomlin 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.
With so many players, I’ll mostly stick to just the questions.
Coach Tomlin was asked how Mark Robinson has grown and what he has seen from him.
“He’s grown really fluidly and consistently the way that you would expect a guy in year two to grow. Thankfully, he had an opportunity to kind of rise up and experience some legitimate growth at the latter part of last year. Get some quality defensive play and I thought that was a springboard into his offseason. I like the trajectory of his play in the team building process, but you know, we’ll see where it all leads us because he obviously will be at the front of the line in terms of getting an expanded role opportunity as we prepare for this one.”
Coach Tomlin was asked about what he liked the most the last two weeks about the execution of the running game and if it was a coincidence that the Steelers seemed to turn the corner right around the same time as they did last season. In his response, Coach Tomlin talked about the offensive line, then switched to the defensive line where he then talked about Cam Heyward.
“I think for a variety of reasons, it has become that. Last year, we had a bunch of new people, guys that were new to us. Our center was new, our right guard was new. We just had some new people. This year I thought we, you know, obviously, a new left guard but our left tackle missed some time, our right guard missed some time. And I think that group, like a secondary, needs collective experience in order to gain the type of cohesion that you desire to be a consistent performer. And so, for a variety of maybe different reasons, just depending on what year you’re talking about, the last two, it’s been in development. And so, I’m comfortable with where we are. I see the development of cohesion, but I expect to, to be quite honest with you. Things don’t stay the same over the course of this journey. You better be getting better and minimizing some of your negativity and gaining traction in certain areas. And obviously, that’s the space that we need to gain traction in. Just like stopping the run is a place that we need to gain traction in. Felt better about just the feel down in and down out of that last week, although we did give up a 40-yard run to (AJ) Dillon that you can’t take back. But we got Cam Heyward back on that side of the ball. And so, you know for a variety of reasons, oftentimes you don’t perform the way that you would like. You know, you don’t seek comfort in that, that’s just the realities of this business, man. The outcome still needs to be determined by us, but sometimes, the way it looks is circumstantial. And so, during the course of those guys missing time we’ve gained some experience with some of our younger people. We’ve grown together and it’s reasonable to expect that cohesion to continue to be on display as we push into November. It needs to be.”
Jaylen Warren & Najee Harris
Coach Tomlin was asked what went into the decision to have Jaylen Warren introduced with the starters on Sunday.
“You ask me about him every week. You see the consistency in which he has played. He’s deserving of that. It’s really nothing more complex than that. Oftentimes, I’ll rotate around in terms of who I introduce in an effort to pay respect to those that are deserving. Sometimes I’ll introduce two tight ends in an effort to pay respects to a blocking tight end, when I know his contributions might be significant in a game. Sometimes I’ll introduce subpackage defenders when I know we’re going to spend a lot of time in subpackage defense, for example. It’s just what you do. You acknowledged preparedness. You acknowledge professionalism. You acknowledge production. And sometimes it’s something that’s petty as, you know, a guy getting an opportunity to be introduced at home.”
In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked about having Warren‘s and Najee Harris’ snap accounts and touches being about the same and if that is the position that they were in now.
“That’s where we were Sunday.”
Coach Tomlin was asked about how much pass coverage Elandon Roberts has played throughout his career and how he thinks he does in that area.
“He has. Obviously, we didn’t deem him as good as Cole Holcomb or Kwon Alexander and that’s why he wasn’t, but he has. He’s been every down player. You know, as I mentioned, several times, when we had all three of those guys it was somewhat of a luxury, and we divided things up to highlight the skill set of all three and to spread their talents out over two positions. And so, just because we haven’t utilized Elandon in that area doesn’t mean he’s deficient. It’s just how we chose to divide the labor up in an effort to utilize the luxury of three very capable guys that we had at two positions. But again, I’ve mentioned that several times, in discussions about them.”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked if Roberts would be wearing the green dot this Sunday.
Darnell Washington, Broderick Jones, Keeanu Benton, & Nick Herbig
Coach Tomlin was asked about the cohesion of Darnell Washington and Broderick Jones from when they played together in college and if that is noticeable now. In his response, Coach Tomlin also talked about college teammates Keeanu Benton and Nick Herbig.
“It is, but you know, you understand that there’s some benefit there. You know, (Keeanu) Benton and (Nick) Herbig play well together, you know, when they get opportunities to play together defensively, for example. And so, you know, some guys have covered some ground together, there’s some knowing, there’s a feel, there’s some nonverbal communication associated with having spent some time together. You know, that’s just the component of it for sure.”
In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked what he is seeing from Benton because he appears to be very active and disruptive.
“He’s come on like gangbusters. Every week, he’s getting better. You can’t deny that and it’s an awesome thing because we need it.”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about Broderick Jones mentioning the importance of meetings between the offensive line and the running backs.
“Broderick’s (Jones) just talking. (laughter) Broderick, man, is like an oversized toddler man. He loves to play football man. He’s flat getting after it, but don’t start talking about all these little things that he’s doing in preparation and so forth. (laughter)”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about Keeanu Benton and the other rookies making an impact and what stands out about the way the rookie class has developed and come together to be contributors.
“You know, I think they’re just beginning to write their story, to be quite honest with you. We’ve really been intentional about integrating them into play because oftentimes, man, this journey that is the NFL season is a long haul for a rookie. You think the preseason games are not significant, but for a rookie, man, every time they step into a preseason stadium, it’s the biggest game of their life. And so, they play three tough, significant games before the season even starts. And so, you know, we understand that, and we want them to be guys on the rise in the significant moments, when we need them, man, at the end of the season. We want them to be arrow pointed up type people. And so, we’ve been thoughtful and intentional about their growth and development. You have asked a lot about that and the trajectory and our mindset and all of that and you’re looking at it. It’s their time if they’re capable, we need them, the attrition component of the battle, the journey oftentimes dictates it. (Keeanu) Benton is getting an opportunity for an expanded role because Cam (Heyward) missed a significant amount of time. Now Mon (Montravius) Adams is missing time for example. That’s how this thing goes.”
Even though he’s on the practice squad, I’m including Mykal Walker because he was specifically mentioned about being more involved this week. Coach Tomlin was asked if with Walker having experience but not with the Steelers if he simply needs to know his job or if he needs to know the whole package in order for him to play.
“You know, he’s got to know what he needs to know. He’ll be partnered with someone else if he’s in the game that has been here, has been through team development, training camp and so forth. So, you know, it’d be prudent for us to ask his partner, whoever that may be, to do the communicating.”
In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked what he has seen from Walker since he’s been here as far as communication.
“Not a lot. He’s been on card defense. I’ve been focused on the guys that I’ve been getting ready to play, but I might have a different answer at the latter part of the week.”
Coach Tomlin was asked to evaluate Kenny Pickett‘s performance and if he needs to see more from him moving forward.
“Certainly. Man, we’re going need more particularly as this road narrows. But guys like Kenny (Pickett) and myself, man, we’re measured by wins and losses. He and I talk about that often and openly. We know what our jobs are. Our jobs are to win. And so, that’s where we are. That’s where our focus is. You know, I love the fact that he embraces that. Down in and down out there are some things to work on, certainly, but it’s not like we’re going to start on Wednesday, working on those things. We’ve been working on those things, and we will continue until we get the desired result.”
Joey Porter Jr.
Coach Tomlin was asked about how he has seen Joey Porter Jr. deal with the communication component of his game.
“You know, he’s a perimeter guy in that. He’s a corner, an outside corner. And so, it’s really a less significant component of his game and in terms of what we need from him. Guys like him do a lot of receiving information as opposed to giving it.”
Mike Tomlin’s complete press conference can be seen here:
Coach Tomlin addresses the media ahead of our Week 11 game against the Browns. @PNCBank
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 14, 2023
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