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20 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin in Tuesday’s press conference

The 2023 regular season is underway. The Steelers are attempting to wash the stink off from Week 1 and are beginning their preparation for Week 2. 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.

Cam Heyward

Coach Tomlin was asked about how tough it is to lose what Cam Heywood brings beyond his play on the field.

“You know, I don’t imagine we would lose that. You know, Cam is not the type of guy that moves away from his teammates whether he’s participating or not. And so, you know, some of the intangible things, some of the things that you get day-to-day outside the white lines, we’ll still receive the benefit of that. But make no mistake, there’s enough for us to do replacing his tangible contributions, his play, his presence and so forth.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked if Heyward‘s injury was something that was nagging him from last week or if it occurred in game.

“In game.”

Coach Tomlin was asked if it was a specific play in the first quarter that led to Heyward’s injury.

“I don’t know when it happened. I had a couple of conversations about him feeling less than ideal in-game. So, I’m not sure about the sequence of events, but he got injured in-game.”

DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk, & Keeanu Benton

Coach Tomlin was asked what he has seen from DeMarvin Leal and Isaiah Loudermilk, and then his answer he also mentioned Keeanu Benton.

“Man, I’ve been really impressed by the growth and development and what those guys have shown me throughout team development, not only Leal and Loudermilk, but younger guys like (Keeanu) Benton and others. I thought that was one of the strengths of our group coming out of team development, the depth and competition and the tough decisions that we had to make in the defensive line. And it won’t be a long period of time before we get a chance to call upon that. And so, we’ll get a chance to see what that depth looks like in play.”

Armon Watts

Coach Tomlin was asked what Armon Watts brings and if he can be the guy to help cover the loss of Heyward.

“He certainly is a guy that’s under consideration. He’s a guy that bought veteran experience, played a lot of ball in Chicago a year ago. I thought he really warmed up to our environment as he got a sense of what we were about and what we were asking and that’s why we continued to do business with him. But there’s a reason he’s been an inactive type man, he’s continually getting up to snuff with what it is that we do and technically and, in the nuances, and the detail and so forth. And he had a good week last week, and we’ll see where the week leads us this week in terms of making decisions about who we use and how we divide the labor up. But certainly, he’s under consideration. He’s a veteran guy that played some ball. That’s why we kept him on our 53.”

Kenny Pickett

Coach Tomlin was asked what it is about Kenny Pickett that tells him he can bounce back and have a better performance on Monday.

“Just his commitment. You know, there’s football justice, when you work at it, man, you generally get good things that come out of it. This is a guy that’s fully committed. This is a guy that works his tail off and largely man, those guys create their own fortune. And so, that’s my general tenor about the trajectory of him and his career. But also, in the short term, it’s reasonable to expect guys that work the way he works and prepares the way he prepares to bounce back from negative performance. Individually and collectively, I expect this group to do similar things.”

Coach Tomlin was asked if Kenny Pickett was banged up on the first sack and if he was evaluated for a concussion.

“Level of banged up I’m not certain of. You know, there’s so many protocols in place now, independent medical specialists and so forth. I would imagine the quarterback position has less of my eyes directly than it used to because of it. So, I didn’t have direct eyes on what it is that you mentioned. Obviously, I saw it after, but there was no hesitancy from the independent medical experts and so forth. He didn’t express any, you know, symptoms relative to that play that you mentioned. So, it was a non-discussion for us.”

Coach Tomlin was asked if there was anything he could put his finger on regarding Pickett’s relative inaccuracy.

“We’re not looking for comfort or excuses. The tape is who we are at this juncture. And so, we’re going to work to change the tape that we have control over. That tapes in the bin. That’s his, it’s mine, it’s ours. Monday night is a little bit different and that’s why we’re working.”

Allen Robinson & Diontae Johnson

Coach Tomlin was asked what he liked from Allen Robinson and if he could assume a larger role with the Diontae Johnson out.

“You know, he has a pretty big role. Obviously, it’s subject to change based on matchups and schematic game in and game out, planning and so forth. That’s why we went and got him. He’s a steady presence man. He’s a professional. He’s highly competitive. I think all of those things were evident on tape and I don’t think that surprised any of us. And sure, it’s a reasonable expectation that his role might grow due to game circumstances, particularly if you’re down a significant contributor like Diontae.”

Broderick Jones, Joey Porter Jr., Darnell Washington, & Nick Herbig

Coach Tomlin was asked about the limited snaps in the game by the rookies.

“Nothing really. All of those guys are performing well. We expect those guys to be contributors not only over the course of their career here, but this year. We dipped their toe in the water in Week One, we tried to have limited roles in an effort to control what it is that they were preparing for. And so, if you’ve got a narrow focus in terms of your preparation, you tee up the potential for a nice high flowing performance and then we build from that as we move. We feel comfortable with our depth and competition across all positions. And so, that afforded us an opportunity to do that with those guys. No negative reports on the trajectory of their performance or how they assimilate themselves into this journey. You should expect their contributions to continue to grow, whether it’s Broderick (Jones), Joey (Porter), (Keeanu) Benton, Darnell Washington, (Nick) Herbig, I imagine that the same applies to all of those guys.”

Dan Moore Jr., Chuks Okorafor, James Daniels, Larry Ogunjobi, & Pat Freiermuth

Coach Tomlin was asked about how he feels about Dan Moore possibly having to move to the other side of the offensive line, and in his response he mentioned injured players who can still potentially play on Monday.

“Again, I’m not ready to assess or talk about hypotheticals in that regard. There’s a number of guys that I spoke to in terms of the front part of their week being altered, but it doesn’t necessarily change our trajectory in terms of planning or their inclusion in the plan. And so, Chuks, James Daniels, Larry Ogunjobi, Pat Freiermuth as we sit here and make plans for participation, it includes them.”

Najee Harris & Jaylen Warren

Coach Tomlin was asked a question about Joey Porter only playing in dime and if that would be his role moving forward, but in his extended response Coach Tomlin mentioned the running backs.

“That was his role last weekend, and they did such a really good job of staying on schedule that it was probably less than we anticipated. And oftentimes you guys are asking about division of labor, the amount of exposure of talent and so forth, we have intentions and an agenda and sometimes game circumstances change those agendas. And that’s why I described the game the way I’ve described it. The 49ers were able to play to their agenda and their plans, and we were not. Obviously, we had intentions of playing Joey more than that, but you better have them behind the chains and off schedule a little bit more than we had them off schedule. If not, then you’ll play seven snaps of dime because you don’t play dime on third down and two, you know what I mean. And so, same thing on offense, man, you want to run the ball at people, you want to wear people down with Najee (Harris) and Jaylen (Warren) and so forth. But if you’re taking 15 snaps through two quarters of football, because you’re three and out and you’re not winning possession downs, that’s not going to transpire. And so, I just wanted to pause and be really transparent about what I’m talking about when I’m talking about agendas, and why division of labor may appear to be what it was, and it might not reflect our intentions, or our personality, etc.”

Desmond King

Coach Tomlin was asked what he needs to see from Desmond King in order to feel comfortable having him active on game day.

“You know, I’ll let the week tell me man. I’m not worried about his level of conditioning or health. We checked that box before we acquired him, but knowing what to do, how and how much he communicates, infusing him into a group that already includes some new people. And so, I’m just talking out loud about some of the thought processes that go into the discussion about when and how we infuse him into it.”

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


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