Happy New Year Steeler Nation!
Pittsburgh Steelers’ Head Coach Mike Tomlin have his final press conference of 2019 yesterday. His first comment was about feeling “numb” about the fact his team wasn’t in the playoffs and believe me, we know the feeling Coach. More importantly, I think Tomlin was quite frank at times which was a bit of a departure from usual. Oh there were certainly “read the tea leaves” moments but overall I was left with the impression that there will be changes coming. Tomlin made it clear that Bud Dupree is a priority. That’s easier said than done considering the price he will garner.
Tomlin on… Big Ben
Tomlin could not comment too much on Ben Roethlisberger which is more than fair. At this point, Big Ben has yet to throw a pass since surgery. This means he hasn’t thrown a pass since September and the feeling is that he may be another month or two away from the first toss of a football. The good news here is that his arm has had a ton of rest and he may come back fresh and re-energized. The bad news? He could still have issues with his elbow which at 38 is not a good sign.
Tweet of the Day… Welp.
— SteelCityBlitz (@SCBlitz) January 1, 2020
Tomlin on… Rudolph
The Steelers’ head coach was firm in his commitment to Mason Rudolph as the team’s primary backup. A couple of things on this… First, Rudy’s injury in week 16 was much worse than previously thought but he should be OK for 2020. Secondly, I’m told there was some regret about him not starting against Buffalo. This makes sense when you consider the gameplan called for 38 passes. Perhaps Randy Fichtner thought Rudolph was playing instead of Duck Hodges. Either way the team is committed to Rudolph right now.
Tomlin on… Coaching Changes
There is no doubt in my mind that there are changes coming to the offensive staff at least and Tomlin didn’t exactly say that but I sure got the feeling it’s going to happen. I think you start with Receivers’ Coach where Ray Sherman filled in when Darryl Drake unexpectedly passed away in Training Camp. I did not see the type of improvement that I normally see. The inability of receivers to ‘box out’ defenders and create space was evident. I think Offensive Line Coach Shaun Sarrett is in trouble as well. Despite the tutelage of Mike Munchak, Sarrett did not do enough to make any of us forget Munch. The OL regressed this season. Part of that – to be fair – is the different QBs and different backs they protected and blocked for but overall the unit was not what we normally see. Lastly is Randy Fichtner. The idea that he is untouchable because of Roethlisberger is not nearly as solid as it may have been. I think there is a real possibility that Fichtner could return to being the QB Coach with a new OC coming in. I am not saying this is going to happen but I wouldn’t be surprised.
Have a great New Year’s Day Steeler Nation!
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