Steelers’ Mike Tomlin in Midseason Form at Pressers


Getty Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin isn’t known for being warm and fuzzy with the media, but I think being stuck at home for several months made him miss doing pressers—at least a little bit.

Ben Roethlisberger might have been “very nervous” at his first media Q&A of 2020, but Tomlin has been in midseason form from the get-go at training camp. Last week he got warmed up with his first new Tomlinism of the season, relating how it’s “one fail, all fail in this [COVID-19] environment.”

But today he delivered a new classic that is sure to stand the test of time. Talking about the subject of conditioning, he said something akin to: ‘You can’t get that Jello back in the box,’ a roundabout way of saying that some of his players may look a little too jiggly for his taste—that is, not in NFL-ready physical shape.

He implied that it’s the youngest players who don’t yet know what it means to be “in shape,” saying, “We’re getting an opportunity to display conditioning or improve conditioning, and we’ve got a good sense of where the group is. Largely, the veterans are a highly-conditioned group. They answered the challenge that we presented to them in the offseason when we worked remotely and that is to come in very good condition.”

“We acknowledged that was the JELL-O that we couldn’t get back in the box, if you will, if they showed up out of shape….”

Most Twitter users loved the JELL-O reference, with Robert Jacobs’ reply to Steelers beat writer Mark Kaboly a representative example.

On the other hand, not everyone loved it, implying that Tomlin should be spending more time developing game plans and less time thinking of new Tomlinisms.

Mike Tomlin on Ben Roethlisberger’s Arm Strength

As for Tomlin’s big news of the day, he related his first impressions of watching Ben Roethlisberger throw passes again. How you perceive his comments might depend on whether you are a glass half empty or glass half full kind of person.

On the one hand, Tomlin perceived Roethlisberger’s velocity to be “excellent.” On the other hand, “maybe his spiral could be a little tighter,” Tomlin said. “I’ve seen it tighter, but nothing to alarm you in any way.”

Tomlin did go on to point out that Pittsburgh’s regular-season opener is still more than a month away—scheduled for Monday Sept. 14 vs. the New York Giants—but his use of the word ‘alarm’ is going to set off alarm bells for at least a portion of the Steelers fan base.

No Steelers Players Opted-Out

The other big news of the day is that not a single Pittsburgh Steelers player opted-out of the 2020 season by the established deadline.

This is remarkable insofar as only three NFL teams—the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Chargers being the other two—had no players elect to opt-out because of the threat of the coronavirus.

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