Important Time of Training Camp According to Mike Tomlin

Steelers head coach says time is getting tight to make this team

Jeff Hathhorn
August 14, 2019 - 6:00 am

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

LATROBE (93.7 the Fan) – Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin says it’s an important time for camp as they are studying film from the first game.

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“We can’t be thin-skinned and defensive, and we talked openly about those things before we broke down and dissected the video,” Tomlin said.  “I thought there were some positive things and things that need to be improved upon.”

Tomlin said the quarterback play was ‘positive’ and ‘above the line’ from all three players (Josh Dobbs, Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges).

Tomlin liked the hustle and finish from his team and also what he saw from first round pick, linebacker Devin Bush, who led the team with 10 tackles Friday night.

“It was a very solid performance,” Tomlin said.  “I thought it was very reminiscent to me of Ryan Shazier’s first home preseason game a number of years ago in terms of production and getting around and making a number of plays.”

The Steelers head coach said Bush will continue to write his story about his role and he still has to get back to work and prove what he can do.

It wasn’t as positive for third round pick and Michigan State rookie corner Justin Layne.

“It looked a little big for him at times and we talked openly about that,” Tomlin said Tuesday.  “I told every member of the team not to overanalyze performances.  Justin Layne is a very young guy who stepped in a stadium for the first time and had an opportunity to start and start against a NFL starting quarterback because of injury and lack of availability of others, maybe not necessarily because of what he did to get that spot.”

Much like a tough college test, Tomlin is grading on a curve.

“There’s a lot of guys playing well, but as I mentioned earlier, against various levels of competition,” Tomlin said.  “Those who have performed well in the groups they were running with, maybe this week they get an opportunity to see if they can sustain that level of performance against stiffer competition.”

“You take Ulysees (Gilbert) who made a number of splash plays, but I pointed out to the team those plays were made between play 80 and 89 defensively.  The people he was on the field with were not the quality of people that Justin Layne was on the field with.  We all just better keep our heads down and keep working.”

Tomlin was pleased with third year defensive back Cam Sutton against Tampa Bay.

“His performance to this point has been really solid,” Tomlin said.  “His versatility is really showing.  I think he’s been above the line outside and inside and I think that’s useful for him in terms of earning and establishing a role.”

Tomlin also said that James Washington looks like ‘a guy that’s been a lap around the track’.  And the 12th year head coach is also happy, for the most part, with the other receivers.

“They played well,” Tomlin said.  “We are excited about getting some others out who missed time.  We are just going to keep working.  I like the accounting those guys made for themselves.”

The Steelers final preseason home game is Saturday against Kansas City with little time left to make an impression.

“As time gets short, we are going to get more deliberate in terms of the positions that we put people in,” Tomlin said.  “We acknowledge that once you start stepping in stadiums your opportunity to state a case for a role and an establishment of those roles get tighter.”

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