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Re-visiting Mike Tomlin’s comments on the quarterback position this offseason

The NFL is a rapid fire business with not days off, and sometimes things can get lost in translation during the few down weeks of the calendar year. One of those areas where things can get skewed are pertaining to specific positions, mainly at the quarterback position. Nothing gets discussed more than where potential quarterbacks will land, either free agency or via trade.

As time goes on, people start to twist what coaches and players said, almost like a giant game of the kid game “telephone”. When one person starts the chain and says “I like dogs” the last person in the chain hears “I hate dogs”.

With that said, and media speculation swirling around the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback situation, I found it appropriate to go back and revisit what Mike Tomlin said about the position after the season officially wrapped up in his season-ending press conference.

This is from the Steelers official transcript:

Will Kenny (Pickett) resume his QB1 status?

You know, he will, but obviously, there will be competition. There’s always competition in this thing. We don’t anoint anyone. Man, I’m appreciative of his efforts and where he is and excited about continuing to work with him. But certainly, he will be challenged from a competition perspective moving forward. Competition brings the best out in all of us.

Is it the hope of the franchise that Mason Rudolph will be back and providing that competition?

It is, but he is a free agent, and it is free agency. And so, we’ll see where that leads us

Diontae Johnson said that he hopes Mason Rudolph gets the job. Do you worry about a competition situation potentially dividing the room or the team?

I do not. I think competition is good. I think it’s good for all of us. I think it brings out the best in all of us.

Do you expect the competition to be between Mason Rudolph and Kenny (Pickett) or are you trying to bring someone else in, rather that be draft or outside?

Again, we got a lot of decisions regarding free agency. Mason (Rudolph) is scheduled to be a free agent. And so, I’d be speculating about some of those things.

Did (Mason) Rudolph change your perception of him or what he might be capable of this year?

Oh certainly. I don’t think that any of us can deny what we’ve seen over the last month or so. I cannot underscore how impressive it is to be ready. Forget performance man, to be ready, to deliver and he was. And that preparedness showed. And so, certainly. You know we’re less speculative about his capabilities because there’s evidence of it. And evidence of it in tough circumstances.

Does the fact that he came into two training camps and came out as the number three quarterback and when he got to play, he gave you some of the best results you’ve gotten, give you some pause or tell you to look into the processes that led you to decide that he was going to be the number three in the last two years?

No, oftentimes I say there’s a fine line between being a Pro Bowler and a backup in our business and it is. And so, you know, I’m not surprised by anything that has transpired man. He is very capable. They all are across positions. I just think that when you’re at the tip top of the food chain, that’s how it is. And it’s our job as professionals man to be ready and to let our talent show. He did those things.

What’s your confidence level in Kenny (Pickett)? Not just on the field but everything that comes with being starting quarterback, captain, leader of this team?

I’m extremely confident in him. I feel stronger about some of the intangible things than I did obviously when we first started doing business with him because I have evidence of it. He’s highly competitive and professional. He doesn’t run from challenges, he runs to challenges. I think that’s evident in the way he plays, particularly at the end of close football games. He’s got a good framework to work with and for a young guy he’s mature beyond his years. I’m excited about him.

With that being said, is he at the point of his career now where some of that improvement has to be tangible?

Certainly, it’s a big year for him. We met this morning, and we acknowledge that. It is a huge year for him. But I’m also excited about just watching him wear that component of it because I just, I know how he’s wired and built and I’m excited about watching him attack it.

Does that interest in quarterbacks extend to free agency. I know typically you guys haven’t brought in a lot of big named quarterbacks that are free agents. Does that interest when you look outside to bring in competition for Kenny (Pickett) extend to that?

Again, I’d be speculating at this juncture. We’re just at the early stages of it. I will acknowledge obviously, that Mason Rudolph is scheduled to be a free agent and we do have interest in doing continual business with him. The rest of it man, is kind of speculative at this point.

As far as the quarterback position, will there be any interest in bringing in a veteran to kind of help mentor Kenny (Pickett)?

You know, I’m speculating at this juncture, and I want to stay away from that. I hadn’t had any legitimate conversations about building for 2024 at this point. And so, you know, I’m trying to stay away from some of those speculative things.

There are times when we tend to forget some of the fundamental things said during that press conference, yet how so many have twisted what he said right after the season wrapped up. Take this information for what it’s worth, but keep it in mind when you read other narratives floating around the inter-webs.

Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for free agency at the beginning of March.


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