15 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin in Tuesday’s press conference
The 2023 regular season is underway. The Steelers did not look pretty on offense in Week 2, but their defense bailed them out and scored more points. But playing on Monday night, it’s a quick turnaround to start the preparation for Week 3. 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 stick to just the questions.
Jaylen Warren, Najee Harris, & Joey Porter Jr.
Coach Tomlin was asked about how he could tweak the running back snap distribution going forward especially with Jaylen Warren being so effective in the receiving game. In his response, Coach Tomlin mentioned Najee Harris.
“You know, we’ll see what this week holds for us in terms of our planning. We acknowledge that Jaylen is a significant player and a guy that’s capable of being a significant component of what we do as is Naj [Najee Harris], and we’ll do what we do every week. We’ll make decisions about how we divvy up the labor based on what’s most advantageous in an effort to create victory this week.”
In a follow-up question, coach Tomlin was asked what has helped Warren be more effective the last two games and in his response he talked about younger players gaining experience and brought up Joey Porter Jr.
“You know, he’s just making plays when given the opportunity. You know, and I think that’s a reasonable expectation. Here’s a guy that, that did similar things as a young guy a year ago and as a rookie and has done some really good things in the team development process, and so it’s probably a natural maturation process for to it transpire in stadium. And it’s probably a natural maturation process for us to give him more opportunities for it to transpire in stadium. I think you can say the same thing about all the younger guys that are building upon performances. Joey Porter, played seven plays in the first game, didn’t get much action, played more plays last night, got some more action, made some more plays and thus is reasonable to expect the process to continue to feed itself.”
Coach Tolman was asked if Minkah Fitzpatrick was still in the hospital or if he had been released.
“Yeah, he’s in our training room as we speak.”
In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked why Fitzpatrick was sent to the hospital and exactly what happened.
“Precautionary reasons. He had a chest injury. They wanted to exercise an abundance of precaution, and so, they took him to the hospital.”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked if Fitzpatrick was hurt on the dive to save the touchdown or from the collision with Nick Chubb.
“Specifically, what took him out of the game the second time. I am not certain.”
Coach Tomlin was asked if Pickens having 10 targets was due to not having Diontae Johnson or if it’s what is needed to get the offense going.
“Probably a little bit of both based on what transpired the variables last night, but again, every time you step into a stadium the variables may differ based on planning.”
Coach Tomlin was asked if he received an explanation from Olszewski as to why he didn’t let the ball go out of bounds on the kickoff.
“I did not. Sometimes I don’t ask questions because I don’t want to hear excuses.”
Coach Tomlin was asked what more he needs to see from Kenny Pickett specifically this week.
“I just want to see him continue to work in the manner in which he’s been working. Continue to communicate in the manner in which he’s been communicating and lead his group. He’s done a lot of things well, in preparation performance. He could play better. We all could play better. But procedurally I like what I see from him and usually when a guy procedurally is in the right spot, the performance soon follows.”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about Pickett holding onto the ball and throwing in dangerous situations and what they are looking to do to help him figure out when to take better risks.
“There are a lot of dangerous circumstances in our business. I don’t know what you’re specifically referring to, but we make no excuses. We have to perform better. We didn’t perform as well as we would like last night. We performed well enough to win, but we don’t run from that we run to that. We’ll keep working in the meanwhile, we have absorbed the negativity that comes with the quality to our performance. We’ll keep our mouths shut, we’ll make no excuses, and we’ll see you at a stadium real soon.”
Keeanu Benton & DeMarvin Leal
Coach Tomlin was asked specifically about Keeanu Benton and DeMarvin Leal filling in for Cam Heyward and how they played.
“You know, I appreciate their efforts. Obviously, we need better results. We’re giving up too many yards via the run.”
Coach Tomlin was asked about how Cole Holcomb has stepped up from game one to game two.
“Much like the other guys that are new to us as I’ve mentioned. I just thought I saw more fluidity in his play, more assuredness in how he communicated, and more comfort in the environment, which is a reasonable expectation. But we have to keep working.”
Coach Tomlin was asked about what allows T.J. Watt to be so good.
“T.J., DNA, will, talent, commitment, a lot of things. You know, this is a good environment and system for him. It’s a lot of things that produce performance. Obviously, we’re really excited about having him and appreciate what he does, but it’s a lot of variables to that discussion. But he is a key component of any component of that discussion.”
Damontae Kazee, Keanu Neal, & Elijah Riley
With Minkah Fitzpatrick out, Coach Tomlin was asked how he saw Damontae Kazee, Keanu Neal, and Elijah Riley step up to fill-in for such an elite player.
“I like their efforts. I thought both guys, all the guys that you mentioned did a nice job of working to communicate and make it necessary plays. But as is the case when you’re replacing a guy like Minkah man, it’s not a one-man job, it’s a multiple man job and we called on several people last night and I’m sure you know that’s the case when you miss a guy of that level of significance, just like it’s the case when you’re playing without Cam Heyward.”
Coach Tomlin was asked about the coverage ability of Alex Highsmith.
“Hey, we’re appreciative of his coverage, but we pay him to get to the quarterback. We change things up every now and then for balance. We’ll ask him to drop. We’ll ask T.J. to drop but you guys know what they do. They’re edge rush men.”
Mike Tomlin’s complete press conference can be seen here:
Coach Tomlin addresses the media ahead of our Week 3 game against the Raiders. @PNCBank
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 19, 2023