Mike Tomlin made his first regular season appearance today before the reporters in his usual Tuesday spot and offered some insights on the Tennessee Titans as well as his own team. While Tomlin always plays his cards very close to the vest when it comes to the Steelers, there were a few noteworthy comments.
On the signing of Zoltan Mesko…. Gives an immediate upgrade, left-footed kicker who is used to punting in less than ideal weather situations. Tomlin also said he will hold on place kicks by Shaun Suisham as Drew Butler held that job prior. With less than a week to get comfortable, don’t dismiss that as a minor thing.
On the release of Jonathan Dwyer…. As expected Tomlin focused attention on the backs he does have. He also went on to say that Isaac Redman will start and that Felix Jones and LaRod Stephens-Howling will see time in the backfield as well. Tomlin said the cutting of Dwyer had nothing to do with anything off the field and that he and the coaches were pleased by what they’d seen out of the current group of backs.
He made another comment that I immediately took as ‘they don’t like how Dwyer missed yards with unnecessary cutbacks.’
On Jarvis Jones…. Tomlin stated that Jason Worilds will start at ROLB but made it extremely clear that Jones will play. He will also play on special teams as well. I think because of Jones’ injury, they had no choice but to start Worilds. It will be very interesting to see how much time at ‘backer Jones gets on Sunday.
On the Return Game…. The team will go with LaRod Stephens-Howling to return kickoffs and will use Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton on punt returns. My assumption is that anything deep in the Steelers’ own territory will be handled by Brown.
Lastly, on new guard Cody Wallace… Tomlin replied to a question about Wallace playing center and said that was absolutely a major reason they scooped him up. That meant the release of John Malecki who wasn’t great but was serviceable. It still also leaves a gaping hole in mind as to why this team continues to employ the services of one Mr. Guy Whimper.
I’m just glad this thing gets going for real Sunday.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.