Share & Comment:

16 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin in Monday’s press conference

The 2023 regular season is almost to the midway point. With the Steelers on a short week because of playing on Thursday night in Week 9, head coach Mike Tomlin took to the podium on Monday to address in the media. 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.

Kenny Pickett

Coach Tomlin was asked if he would try to have Kenny Pickett practice Tuesday or wait until game time.

“We’re going to work on Wednesday. Wednesday is going to be a really functional practice, and so he’ll have an opportunity to display readiness at that time.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked if he needs to see something from Pickett Tuesday and Wednesday or if it’s purely medical.

“Certainly, I’m going to want to see something, absolutely. He’s a young guy. Position withstanding, he is a young guy, so I need to see some physical preparation in order to consider him certainly.”

Levi Wallace & Joey Porter Jr.

Coach Tomlin was asked if regardless of Levi Wallace‘s health if Joey Porter has done enough to be a starter going forward.

“He has.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked if Wallace could come back to play this week.

“We’ll see. We’ll see.”

Mitch Trubisky

Coach Tomlin was asked if Kenny Pickett can’t go on Thursday if Mitch Trubisky will be the starting quarterback.


In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked his thoughts on how Trubisky did on Sunday and now he’s done in his role with the Steelers.

“Largely, man, Mitch (Trubisky) has done a really good job, and I’m talking about day-to-day, the things that come with being a backup quarterback in terms of being an asset to Kenny (Pickett), being an idea guy, being a really good communicator, making sure quarterbacks and receivers are on the same page, et cetera, et cetera. He is highly professional and really good at those things. Hasn’t had a lot of opportunities to play, but when called upon, he is always ready above the neck and competitive, and so just really comfortable with him. But we’ll see where the week leads us in terms of him having a week of prep or a couple of days of prep on a short week and what that might mean in terms of quality of play. All those things are up in the air, especially considering Kenny’s availability is up in the air. We’ll kind of walk through some of those things day by day.”

In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked if he sees more aggressiveness from Trubisky from where he was a starter compared to how he played in relief.

“You know, that’s tough to compare. I don’t necessarily remember some of the details or some of the things that transpired in the early
portions of last year.”

Diontae Johnson

Coach Tomlin was asked about if he had a discussion with Diontae Johnson after being outspoken about the poor officiating after the game.

“I haven’t seen the comments, and so I reserve any comment until I see what he said.”

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Miles Killebrew, Damontae Kazee, & Keanu Neal

Coach Tomlin was asked about losing Minkah Fitzpatrick from a communication standpoint and who takes over the responsibilities. In his response, he mentioned Miles Killebrew, Damontae Kazee, and Keanu Neal.

“Obviously, the loss of Minkah (Fitzpatrick) is a significant one. It’s a multi-man job, not a one-man job thankfully. We have some veterans back there, guys like (Miles) Killebrew and (Damontae) Kazee and Keanu Neal who are veteran NFL players, and that lessens the impact hopefully, but obviously it’s not a one-man job when you’re talking about replacing Minkah (Fitzpatrick), whether you’re talking about his play making ability or his hub of communication ability.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked since he’s used Fitzpatrick in so many different ways if it will lessen now that it will be other guys piecing together that role.

“You know, when Minkah is doing things and moving around, the guys that he’s working with are also moving around and doing other things. I’m not worried about their ability to execute assignments from that perspective. The fluidity of that has been a process. I think where the collective has grown.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about Miles Killebrew who has not played much defense in Pittsburgh but if he is a guy that they can trust to play.

“Miles (Killebrew) has started as a safety in this league. I’m not concerned about his abilities if that’s what you’re asking.”

Patrick Peterson

Coach Tomlin was asked if having Patrick Peterson play some safety is an option.

“Pat (Peterson) has been very versatile. He displays really, really good football intellect. That’s one of the things that attracted us to him. As I mentioned last week when we lost Cam Sutton in free agency, that made him an attractive option because of his flexibility, positional flexibility and his football intellect that will allow him to move around and do some of the things that Cam was able to do when he was here.”

T.J. Watt

Coach Tomlin was asked about the idea of moving T.J. Watt around in the defense and how that process is coming.

“It’s week to week. It’s week to week.”

Rodney Williams & Darnell Washington

Coach Tomlin was asked about Rodney Williams getting more snaps than Darnell Washington and if that was game-plan specific.

“Just how the game was unfolding. Probably we were down multiple scores, particularly late. Rodney (Williams) played a lot there, when we were in the one-dimensional phase, if you will. Sometimes snap counts don’t always reflect intentions from a planning standpoint. It’s probably more a reflection of how the game unfolded.”

George Pickens

Coach Tomlin was asked if they need to get the ball to George Pickens more.


In a follow up question, Coach Tom and was asked if he had any idea why it unfolded the way it did on Sunday.

“They did a really good job of doing some different things and rolling coverage his way. But not overly concerned about that component of it. We’ve had dynamic receivers here before who get a lot of attention. When you’re right and well, it creates opportunities for others in the running game and passing game and then opens up their opportunities. Our issues yesterday was we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities provided in other areas because of the attention that George(Pickens) was getting. That’s probably our focus as opposed to George(Pickens). When George (Pickens) occupies two guys, that’s a great opportunity for others in the running game and passing game, and it just wasn’t enough dominance from us in those other areas. It’s probably my knee-jerk response to the subject matter.”

Darius Rush

Coach Tomlin was asked how Darius Rush has progressed in the short time he’s been with the Steelers.

“He’s done a really nice job. We put him in a helmet yesterday. He did enough to be considered in that way. Liked the overall trajectory of his play. It will be a big week for him continually as he shows the details and the communication things that make you comfortable in terms of putting him on the field.”

James Pierre

Coach Tomlin was asked how he thought James Pierre did in the snaps he got on Sunday.

“James (Pierre) has stepped up for us in the past before, and he’s always a game guy, detail guy, good communicator. I thought he did a serviceable job.”

Mike Tomlin’s complete press conference can be seen here:


Sign up below for the latest news, stories and podcasts from our affiliates