Throughout the 2009 NFL season, Coach Mike Tomlin will provide his insight and observations to Steelers.com on a variety of topics pertaining to the team and the National Football League.
Q. Is the No. 3 receiver job still a battle?
TOMLIN: Absolutely it is. To be quite frank, that might be a battle that rages on well into the football season. As long as those two guys – Limas Sweed and Mike Wallace – continue to show us things, we're going to keep both guys alive. And even if it takes a regular season partial body of work to show us who that guy is, I'm not opposed to that. It was a similar situation a few years ago when I got here with Cedrick Wilson and Nate Washington. It was well into the season before it became crystal clear that Nate Washington was the third wideout.
Q. Stefan Logan came to the team as a running back, but lately he has been working with the wide receivers during position drills. Is that a way to get him more touches of the football?
TOMLIN: We were just trying to find the shortest line for him, if you will. A lot of guys who have a skill set that leads to returning kicks are not positional guys. You think about some of the guys in NFL history – I can't tell you what position Mel Gray played, I don't remember what position Dante Hall played, I know that Desmond Howard was a wideout but really wasn't. Those are some of the things that come with being a return man. Stefan understands if he's going to be a part of this thing, it's going to be because of his return ability, and then some of the other things will be a bonus.
Q. What is you opinion of the progress of the offensive line so far?
TOMLIN: A lot has been said about the growth and development of these guys. I like where they are. We have a bunch of guys along the offensive line who are coming into their own in terms of being professionals, becoming veteran players. Guys like Willie Colon, going into year four and so forth, but not only individually but they're also logging time playing collectively and that's so important. I like where we're going, and we just need it to continue.
Q. How would evaluate the progress Rashard Mendenhall has made in his second season?
TOMLIN: This is a guy who has taken a step forward all through the preseason and training camp. We like what we've seen from him, the detail in his work, we like his running personality. He's no longer a rookie, which is quite evident, and it couldn't happen at a better time. We need quality plays from him.
Q. Earlier this week, Dick LeBeau was selected by the Seniors Committee as one of two candidates to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. What did you think of that news?
TOMLIN: This guy has had two legendary careers all rolled into one human being. He's a legendary cornerback in my opinion, his statistics speak for themselves. As a coach, quite frankly, he's one of the innovators of defensive football in this generation. He's got a ridiculous body of work in the National Football League – 51 years – and I definitely think it's an honor that's well deserved.