LATROBE – Steelers coach Mike Tomlin held his firs pre-game press-conference to address the pre-season opener this weekend against the Detroit Lions.
“I’m excited about our first opportunity for preseason action coming up here with Detroit,” Tomlin said. ” As always the first time out, we’re concerned with the things we do, the nature with which we play. Is it physical enough? How we block, how we tackle. Do we play within the rules of the game? How do we play technically.”
Of course the biggest question entering the opener, is how he will handle the quarterback situation, as the Steelers find themselves with a unique situation in which quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is able to play in the pre-season, but not suite up for at least the first four games.
“We’re somewhat undecided about those things,” Tomlin said. ” I think that’s been the best thing about the way we’ve approached this quarterback situation thus far.”
Asked if all four quarterbacks, (Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch would play, again Tomlin had no definitive answer to that.
Ive stayed true to form thus far and we’ll stay true to that as we get into the games.”
As for things he wants to see, the primary one is how the young and new guys perform.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the play personality of some of the young guys, the new guys,” he said. ” Looking forward to watching how those players acclimate themselves in that element of the game. Special teams, of course, how they contribute in that area is going to be big.”
Tomlin did single out some players the team plans on taking an extended look at though. First round pick Maurkice Pouncy will play both guard and center, and rookie running back Jonathan Dwyer will also see significant action in the opener against Detroit.
“On an 80-man roster, when you’re talking about removing 22 to 25 of them 12 snaps in, the remainder of snaps go to guys like Jonathan Dwyer and Thaddeus Gibson and guys like that,” Tomlin said. “There are going to be a bunch of snaps. It’s going to be 35-plus snaps for guys in the position those men are in. Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, those guys are going to play a bunch of snaps, maybe more than they bargained for.”
Other questions addressed, were the return game, Isaac Redman and who would handle kickoff duties among others.
“It’s the unknown. It’s the thing that keeps you coming back,” Tomlin said. ” It’s the thing that’s exciting about preseason football. I love preseason football, contrary to some people. You know, I’m excited to watch some of the guys who’ve caught my eye out here on the practice field, to see if they can take the next step. It’s going to be a fun evening.”