[B]Tomlin on the start of training camp[/B]
Bob Labriola - Steelers Digest
Q. There was a lot of change during this offseason for the Steelers, both in terms of personnel and with the installation of a new offense. Do you believe that every so often you just need to stir the pot a bit just to keep the players’ attention?
A. I believe that discomfort every now and then is beneficial to all parties involved. I don’t think it’s something you need to set out to do, but if you’re committed to putting yourself in position to be the very best each and every year, that just happens in the pursuit of greatness and the pursuit to be that team. Change is a part of that. Over time, change just happens.
Q. Are you happier with the choice you made to hire offensive coordinator Todd Haley the deeper you get into the process of preparing for the 2012 season?
A. It has done nothing but confirm what I already thought of him, not only strategically and schematically in terms of putting together a plan, but also in terms of his overall approach to working with and the utilization of coaches, the discussions that have been had, and the development of players. It has been all I expected it to be at this point.
Q. Is there a next phase?
A. Just our ability to adjust once we see what we theorize come into form in pads. There is an adjustment then, and that’s a critical part of the development. What do we tailor, what do we add to, what do we take out, all based on the talent pool we’re working with. I think that’s the most critical stage. There’s a plan and that plan needs to be definitive, but at the same time we need to be light enough on our feet to cater that plan to the 53 men who are going to run it. We see those things once we put the pads on in Latrobe and in preseason stadiums, and to me that is the most critical element of us developing as an offense and as a football team.
Q. What do you need to see from David DeCastro and Mike Adamsfor them to be in the starting lineup?
A. They have to be in the top five. Their quality of play has to put them in that mix. Not potential. Not up-side. Not pedigree. Their play. I’ve been very black-and-white with them, as I have the group. We talk about these things openly in team meetings because I believe in it. If they are who we think they are, they’ll prove they’re worthy to be in the lineup and they’ll be in there sooner rather than later.
Q. Are you pretty close to knowing what you’re going to do with the starting cornerback job opposite Ike Taylor?
A. I put a lot into the growth and development of guys like Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown. This is an offseason for them, their first offseason. The room for growth and development is great, and I expect we should see that. I can’t wait to see it. The second time in Latrobe for Allen and Brown in competition with Keenan Lewis is going to be very interesting. Obviously we know what Keenan can do – and he played an important part in our defense last year – but I think it would be premature to discount what those two young men are capable of doing. They were both very productive and high-energy special teams players as rookies with no offseason. I would imagine they’re capable and willing of expanding their roles this year, and I’m looking forward to watching that unfold in Latrobe.
Q. With the personnel changes, with the installation of the new offense, this training camp could be viewed as a very challenging one. Do you see it that way?
A. I agree that there are some challenges, but I think there are challenges in every camp. I understand the perception from the outside that there are unanswered questions, but I’ve had that mentality about every camp I’ve been a part of. For me, there are questions every year. There are ascending players, there are descending players. There are role expansions and reductions, job opportunities to be had and lost. It’s about the evolution and development of a football team, and I go in expecting the unexpected and looking to answer questions every year.
[B]Players pleased with Tomlin’s deal[/B]
By Ralph N. Paulk
Published: Thursday, July 26, 2012.
The Steelers are expected to transition rather easily from one of the oldest teams in the NFL to one with several young players who will affect the team’s hopes of making another playoff run.
Of course, the key to the team’s success or failure depends largely on how well coach Mike Tomlin manages his personnel, including the team’s top draft picks — offensive linemen David DeCastro and Mike Adams.
Steelers president Art Rooney II is convinced Tomlin is the man for the long haul. So he inked the 40-year-old to a three-year contract extension through the 2016 season.
“I’m honored the contract extension got done,” Tomlin said after putting the Steelers through conditioning tests Wednesday at St. Vincent College.
Tomlin, who led the Steelers to victory against Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII, is likely to be driven this season by his team’s bitter playoff defeat to Denver in January. He may have nothing to prove after two Super Bowl appearances, but the players sense he’s hungry to secure the Steelers a seventh title.
“Everyone knows what kind of guy (Tomlin) is, and he’s probably going to be around here for a long time,” backup quarterback Byron Leftwich said. “To me, he’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever been around. Evidently the Rooneys believe that also. We all know what we have in Coach Tomlin.”
Doug Legursky, who split time at guard and center last season, said Tomlin’s extension reflects the team’s dedication to continuity.
“He’s a great coach and well deserving of that contract extension,” he said. “The Steelers are a team that always keeps its coaches for a long time, especially with the record he has and the intensity he brings to the team.
“(The Steelers) are always thinking about keeping continuity intact. As players we’ve had a good relationship with Coach Tomlin and vice versa. He embodies the Pittsburgh Steelers perfectly, so it’s not surprising he’ll be around.”
Tomlin earned the extension, in part, because the Steelers finished 12-4 last season. And the Steelers advanced to the postseason for the fourth time in five seasons.
“I hope as long as I’m here, he’s here,” said second-year defensive end Cameron Heyward, last year’s No. 1 draft pick. “I’m going to work at getting my extension.”
Again, the Steelers will rely heavily on a defense that three times has been ranked No. 1. Yet even with DeCastro and Adams expected to strengthen the offensive line, Tomlin is without two pivotal offensive threats: wide receiver Mike Wallace (contract holdout) and running back Rashard Mendenhall (knee injury).
Tomlin said he’s prepared to work with what he’s got. Unlike last season’s camp, he has plenty of depth on the offensive line.
“We’ve got a lot of good competition on the line,” Legursky said. “We’re all about figuring out what it takes to win ballgames.”