Tomlin Believes NFL Will Happen On Time

Feiler & Alaalu listed as early starters

Jeff Hathhorn
June 23, 2020 - 4:43 pm
Heinz Field play

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) – They play the first game of the preseason and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin believes they will start NFL football on time and play the season.

“I have been a part of the process,” Tomlin said Tuesday.  “I sit on committees.  I’ve had intimate conversations with logistical people and professionals.  There is probably greater comfort when you are a part of the process than when you are on the outside, so it allows me to be optimistic.”

ESPN reports the Steelers will open training camp in less than a month, July 22nd, and with the league prohibiting holding practices at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, the Steelers will use Heinz Field as the home of their preseason workouts.

Tomlin said there is more space there than he even realized, saying he’s normally very focused when he’s in that building. 

“My only concern about the utilization of Heinz Field is not space, it’s about the wear and tear on the field,” Tomlin said.  “Our intentions are right now, on a regularly scheduled basis to be determined, that we will get on buses and come to the South Side and utilize the fields here to help preserve those fields.”

“I’m comfortable with our ability to execute the protocol at the end of the day when we gather all the information and we continue through this process when we get our groups moving in a training camp-like circumstance.”

Two starters named

It is not like Tomlin to announce starters for a position battle, however these are not normal times.  Tomlin named starting right tackle Matt Feiler as the first-team left guard to begin camp and Tyson Alualu as the starting nose tackle.

“We don’t have time to mess around in this environment,” Tomlin said.  “We lost 900 snaps, like everybody did, with the virtual off-season.  You have to give the benefit of the doubt to the people who have been here.  At least as the basis to begin.”

“Those young tackles in Zach Banner and Chuks (3rd year veteran Chukwuma Okorafor) have been here and have played.  The combination of those guys provide the most experience for us and that’s an appropriate place to begin.”

Tomlin said there will still be competition, but warns.

“We have to leave the door open for viable men and those men have to move quickly in terms of developing an understanding and displaying that understanding,” Tomlin said.  “There will be big-time urgency in that regard.”

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