6 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin following Saturday’s practice
The Pittsburgh Steelers held their first practice since their final preseason game on Thursday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Following practice, head coach Mike Tomlin spoke to the media. Even though training camp has concluded, there was enough this time for a players mentioned article. Remember these are players where a specific question was asked during the Q&A period.
During Sunday’s practice, it was reported that tight end Zach Gentry was in a walking boot. Coach Tomlin asked how Gentry is doing with the injury.
Minkah Fitzpatrick & T.J. Watt
While the Steelers are still doing general preparation stuff for the season during practice, it doesn’t mean the players aren’t putting in time for their Week 1 opponent. Coach Tomlin was asked if players who have been around a while such as Minkah Fitzpatrick and T.J. Watt would start turning their sights towards the 49ers.
“I’m sure as individuals they have already, but it’s not something that we’re addressing as a collective. Our days and focus here right now are Steelers vs Steelers and us getting better at things that we’re focusing on.”
Nick Herbig & Nate Herbig
Not only is Nick Herbig new to the Steelers in 2023, so is his brother Nate who signed as a free agent ahead of Nick being drafted in the 2023 NFL draft. Coach Tomlin was asked with three games worth of tape what has impressed him the most about Nick Herbig.
“You know, it’s not just the game tape. Those of you that watch practice, he’s not doing anything at the stadium that you haven’t seen with a high level of consistency in practice. And so, we just expect that to continue. You know, he’s getting a lot of notice because of his rushing but that’s just a component of his game and play. He’s got to be good against the run. He’s got to be skilled and productive in the kicking game. And so, there’s a lot of things that a young guy in his position needs to focus and work on.”
In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked if Nick has been everything that his brother Nate promised he would be.
“I was just getting to know Nate. I didn’t care what Nate had to say about him to be quite honest with you. We were just evaluating him on his merits.”
With everything Steelers fans have seen, quarterback Kenny Pickett is poised to make a significant jump going into his second NFL season. Coach Tomlin was asked if Pickett’s leadership and communication coming from him being more comfortable is something that was gradually realized or if Pickett showed up as a different guy for year two.
“No, experience has taught me to anticipate it and better than that to cultivate it. So, you know, we talk openly about it during the course of team development, he and I met every morning. To start a day we talked about a variety of things, leadership, things that come with being him. I want to be a part of his growth and development. I’m not going to sit on the side and hope that it happens. It happens in the ways that we need or want it to. And so, we’re intentionally constructing it.”
In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked if the meetings he referenced having every morning with Pickett were one on ones with just the two of them.
Mike Tomlin’s full interview can be seen HERE on the Steelers YouTube channel.