Tomlin on free agency, Martavis & more

Posted Mar 21, 2016

Coach Mike Tomlin shared his thoughts on the Steelers offseason.

The Steelers approach to free agency this year has been strikingly similar to what it’s been in the past. It’s a scenario where, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. It’s an approach the entire organization embraces, including Coach Mike Tomlin who talked about the offseason roster shuffling during the NFL Owners Meetings in Boca Raton, Florida.

“We are taking our usual approach to it,” said Tomlin. “We are adding talent via free agency. What we don’t get done in free agency, we intend to get done in the draft from a need standpoint.

“More than anything, I am pleased that we have been able to retain some of the guys that we retained. They are not only quality players, but quality men and leaders, guys like Ramon Foster and William Gay. It was critical for us to continue to do business with them. It goes beyond knowing the drill, their jobs and knowing what to do. They are Steady Eddies. They utilize their experience for good. Both of them are very efficient at what they do. They are very professional. Really they provide a good example for young guys to follow.”

Another player that Tomlin was pleased to bring back was receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, a guy who has shown how unselfish he is with the role he has embraced on special teams.

“He is endearing himself to us with what he is willing to do since he’s been here, whether it’s at receiver in the passing game or run game, or on special teams,” said Tomlin. “He has a can-do attitude. He is always positively upbeat. We like doing business with guys like him. We are glad that he is going to be a Steeler for years to come.”

Free agency hasn’t been about just signing their own, though. With the retirement of tight end Heath Miller the Steelers knew they had a hole to file, and did so with veteran Ladarius Green, a player Tomlin is looking forward to seeing what he adds to the mix.

“We know the talent,” said Tomlin. “We played against him last year and prepared for him, and we saw him. We have a lot of respect for his talents. We did good research on him when he came out for the draft. He was a guy that visited with us at our facility prior to that. I thought it was the basis of a relationship. We just quickly got back up to speed with what has been going on with him.

“He is a talented guy, and I think we are going to discover ways to use him, and I look forward to that process of seeing how he fits and what dimensions he is going to add to us. I am not going into it with any preconceived notions or to try to squeeze him into a box of any kind. More than anything it’s about getting to know him and utilizing his talents within our offense.”

Tomlin also addressed the following topics:

On replacing Martavis Bryant’s production on the field:
“We are going to throw the ball to the open man. Really, it’s just that simple. We’ve played without him in the past. So we are not overly concerned about playing without him in 2016, to be honest with you. We have talent at the position. We’ve acquired talented men at the position. We are excited about the growth and development of Sammie Coates. I am more concerned about him, the man, as I am, him, the contributor to our offense on our football team.”

On if his confidence in Cortez Allen coming back from a knee injury and contributing this year has changed since the end of the season:
Not at all. It hasn’t. It’s health. I don’t know where his level of health is. I don’t think that any of us do. I am sure we will at some point. I don’t know where he is in terms of his schedule of rehabilitation but I am sure at some point in this process we are going to have a sense of where he is and what he is able to do, those types of things. I just don’t have the answers to that as we sit here today.”

On if he is pleased with Le’Veon Bell’s progress and what his timetable is:
“I am. I don’t have any specific update, in terms of where he is in the process, but Le’Veon doesn’t have bad days. You ask him, he’s ready to go right now. I love that about him. I believe the process is going well for him. I think we need to do what’s right and we’re going to do that. When he’s ready, he’s ready.”

On how Maurkice Pouncey is progressing:
“I think that’s going to be determined. What he’s capable of doing and what I allow him to do may be two different things. I haven’t had those discussions or thoughts at this juncture. More than anything, we’ve just been watching some of those guys go through their rehabilitation processes.”