Something new we’re doing for Steelers Depot. Every Tuesday is a Tomlin Tuesday, his noon press conference outlining what happened the previous weekend and focusing on the upcoming one. While we’ll write about the most notable things Tomlin had to say in separate articles, we’ll throw in a couple of smaller nuggets of information in this post. A one-stop shop for the rest of what Coach T had to say.
And if you want to hear the full press conference, hop on over to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ YouTube channel by clicking the link here.
Before we get into tidbits, here’s everything we’ve written so far today.
Mike Tomlin Doesn’t Commit To A Starting Left Tackle For Rams Game
Injury Roundup: Steelers Looking Healthy Exiting The Bye
‘Taking A Step Forward Every Day Of His Professional Life:’ Mike Tomlin Not Surprised By George Pickens’ Growth
‘Minkah’s Gonna Make His Plays:’ Tomlin Not Concerned With Fitzpatrick’s Lack Of Splash
Mike Tomlin Pleased With Growth Of Rookies, Says ‘It Doesn’t ‘Behoove Them To Be Patient’ Even As they Wait Their Turn
Mike Tomlin Lauds Kenny Pickett’s Play In Big Moments: ‘I’ve Always Thought It Brought Out The Best In Him’
Mike Tomlin Happy To Have ‘Expert’ Route Runner Diontae Johnson Back On The Field
‘We Did Our Due Diligence:’ Mike Tomlin Says Coaches Took Hard Look At Fixing Offense During Bye
Najee Harris/Jaylen Warren Division Of Labor
Another “How will Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren split carries?” question tossed Mike Tomlin’s way. His answer was relatively vague — he’s spoken about it enough — and essentially said those types of decisions happen on an individual basis and aren’t made in a vacuum.
“Decisions are made by guys like me day in and day out in this business. Some of it’s very black-and-white informational. Some of it is gut oriented. Some of it is a mix of the two. And that’s how it gets done. So, I try not to do it specifically with a cookie cutter because you miss opportunities to get better…I’m comfortable enough in my skin and in my position that I don’t make cookie cutter decisions. I view them on an individual basis and I’ve outlined in great detail that both guys are gonna be significant components of what we do and have been and will continue to be. And how we choose to divide the labor up on a game in and game out basis is continually evolving.”
On the season, Harris has played 53 percent of the Steelers’ offensive snaps compared to Warren’s 45 percent. Against the Baltimore Ravens, the team toyed with “Pony” groupings with both players on the field, something that could be sprinkled in going forward. Warren’s carries have increased a bit, but it seems like their roles are pretty clearly defined.
Unsure Of Identity
Five games and six weeks into their season, Tomlin’s still unsure what the team’s identity is. Which is probably fair given all their struggles. Asked what the team’s identity is, who they want to be, Tomlin paused and couldn’t give a clear answer.
“We do in some ways, but we’re evolving in others. And so it’s an ongoing process.”
That’s one way to put it. Pittsburgh entered the offseason expecting to play bully ball. Instead, they’ve been getting stuffed into the lockers. Their running game has been bottled up while the passing game has been inefficient. The truth is the Steelers might have a better understanding of who they want to be on paper but they’re miles from actually achieving that vision. Hopefully they get on track after the bye as they did to close out 2022.
Rookie defensive lineman Keeanu Benton has made steady progress, something reflected by his increased playing time. He got the nod as the team’s starting right defensive end in Sunday’s game over the Baltimore Ravens and played well. Tomlin continues to be encouraged.
“That’s a young guy that’s utilizing all his avenues to getting better. The opportunity avenue has been increased for him because of Cam Heyward’s injury and I think with more exposure he’s playing more consistent and getting more comfortable. And so, I’m excited about the continued trajectory of that.”
The Steelers’ line is healthier for Week Seven than it was for Week Five with DeMarvin Leal expected to play after missing with a concussion. We’ll see if Benton keeps his starting RDE spot or loses it to Leal. And, of course, Heyward should return in roughly a month, possibly sooner, and that spot is his once he’s recovered from groin surgery.
Leave Obscure Stats At Home
Don’t bring up anything stats of the weird to Mike Tomlin. Because he doesn’t care. One media member attempted to ask him about the Steelers’ secondary giving up the eighth-most yards to opposing receivers this year and Tomlin quickly shut down that notion.
“I’m not concerned about obscure stats like that at this juncture. Keep watching. Seriously. My objective is to win and if we’re gonna win consistently, we’ll address all little tidbits and things of that nature. It’ll get cleaned up with a bigger volume to study with a bigger volume of tape and games. And so we’re just working on doing what it is that we need to do to win this week. And if we do those things enough continually, we’ll address all of those tidbits.”
The defensive backs have struggled this season or at least been inconsistent with a continual mix of big plays created and allowed. They’ll face a Rams’ wide receivers corps Sunday that features Cooper Kupp, who is coming off two big games after missing the first month with a hamstring injury. There’s also rookie sensation Puka Nacua, who filled in nicely early in the year. The Rams are sixth in the NFL in passing offense, averaging just under 259 yards per game.