Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin joined the NFL Network for a few minutes yesterday, discussing the team’s offseason thus far, as well as some of the changes that the Steelers have undergone since the end of last year.
As though you couldn’t guess, Tomlin believes that the team has had a “very productive offseason” thus far, as we sit here closing in on mid-July, about two weeks before the long-awaited beginning of training camp.
The eighth-year head coach said that health has been the most significant element of the offseason thus far, referring specifically to some of the veteran players.
Of course, Heath Miller labored through an ACL injury all of last season, and Maurkice Pouncey and Larry Foote were lost for the year early on, among other significant injuries, such as the foot injuries dealt with by Matt Spaeth and Le’Veon Bell.
In a way that only he can, Tomlin described it thusly: “we had more guys building this year as opposed to rehabilitating”. Building, of course, as well as in the building, in the weight room and practice field, rather than the training room receiving treatment.
As is his norm, Tomlin refused to place his team and its development into any kind of narrative, routinely deflecting such questions with dry observation.
He was asked if he believed it was important for the team to get younger on defense. Instead of directly answering the question, Tomlin pointed out that “it’s just something that happens over time”:
You work with a core group of guys, you try to get them to a certain level of readiness so that they can pursue greatness. As time goes on, those guys get into their mid-thirties and move on with life and then you replace those guys with new aspirants. So that’s kind of what we’ve done, not only this year, but the last several years.
Likewise, when asked whether the team was placing especial emphasis on improving their turnover production from the lows that they’ve reached over the last three seasons, Tomlin said that producing turnovers is just one facet that the team is focusing on, “because quite simply it increases our chances of winning”.
The conversation also addressed new offensive line coach Mike Munchak’s influence on the team, the new stable of running backs with LeGarrette Blount and Dri Archer, and the unique personality that is cornerback Ike Taylor.
Overall, it was certainly nothing that you wouldn’t expect to hear from Tomlin if you’ve heard him give interviews or speak to the media over the past eight years. He’s an expert in deflating questions and saying much while providing little. In that sense, he’s very much like Bill Belichick. Only Tomlin also has a personality, and a much more impressive arsenal of clichés.