Tomlin Excited to Get in a Stadium

Roethlisberger to Sit in First Preseason Game

Josh Rowntree
August 07, 2018 - 2:23 pm
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin at press conference at training camp in 2018
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Steelers coach Mike Tomlin puts more weight into what players do in preseason games than what they do in practices and in training camp. 

So, Thursday, when the team takes on the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, Tomlin will be keeping a lookout for those who stand out. 

“I’m looking for displays of awareness, situational awareness,” Tomlin said Tuesday at Saint Vincent College. “We’ve worked a lot of situational football, particularly over the last week that we’ve been up here.

“I want to see that awareness show in stadium, as we’re moving the ball and playing legitimate football.”

While breakout performances in preseason games can catch a coach by surprise, Tomlin is able to see the writing on the wall with much of his roster. 

“Usually what happens out here is a pretty good indication of what’s going to happen in a stadium,” he added. “Very rarely are you drastically surprised, positively or negatively, and see a performance in stadium that’s not, in some way, revealed to you out here.”

Tomlin has already ruled out some of the Steelers starters. All-Pro wideout Antonio Brown, who returned to Latrobe Tuesday, will not practice leading up to the game or play in it. 

Linebackers T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree, as well as tight end Vance McDonald will not play due to injuries. 

Tomlin hopes to play three quarterbacks, though the starter will not.

“I haven’t determined how I’m going to utilize them, in totality, other than Ben [Roethlisberger] won’t play,” he said.

That would indicate that Landry Jones, Josh Dobbs and rookie Mason Rudolph would be in line to play. Rudolph said Wednesday that he has been told he will play, but would not get into the gameplan.

“Mason’s done a really good job but, again, he hasn’t been hit,” Tomlin said. “There will be attempts to hit him on Thursday night. So, stay tuned. 

“A quarterback’s ability to secure the football really doesn’t get tested until they play preseason football.”

Tomlin said he has yet to formulate much of a plan for the Eagles, saying this time is about bettering his own team instead of preparing for an opponent.

“We’re just taking it week-to-week because week-to-week the variables could change,” he said. “Who’s available to us could change next week.

“I have a plan as to how I want to approach this week. I’ll harden that plan as I get closer to game time and, really, I don’t get any deeper in it than that.”

While Tomlin has seen growth in his team, particularly the younger  players, he acknowledges that, at this point, it’s best to not make those impressions public.

“I think there’s always some of that,” he said. “That’s why I’m always somewhat reluctant to praise or overpraise based on what I’m looking at out there, because it’s just an element of the process. Experience tells you that.”

Hear more of what Tomlin had to say below.