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Minicamp off to a strong start

It was all hands-on deck on Tuesday for the Steelers first minicamp practice, with a full roster taking part in the mandatory three-day sessions. Coach Mike Tomlin liked what he saw from the get-go, something that is a continuation of the offseason program the team has been participating in the last few weeks.

"Really good day for us," said Tomlin. "Not a lot different structurally than what we've done. More 11-on-11 opportunity. The longer we're out here, we're in week three now of spring and so we get a chance to delve into more situational things and two-minute, pass under pressure and things like that. Just a lot to teach, a lot to learn, a lot of opportunities to teach and learn because of the snaps we're getting and we're just appreciative of that.

"The weather worked with us. We don't complain about the weather, though. We'll take it as we get it. Actually, I was hoping it would rain a little bit because we play in all conditions and it's just an opportunity to educate and see skill sets in that regard. But I'm sure those days will present themselves but all in all, I thought we had a productive day today."

The one thing Tomlin did point out was the two-minute package they worked on, something that is key with new faces on both sides of the ball, particularly at the quarterback position.

"Just good communication," said Tomlin. "It's under duress obviously, but the giving and receiving of information at this stage on both sides of the ball. The formal communication, play caller to signaler on both sides, but also the informal things, after that formal discussion gets had. Formation recognition, mic identification from a protection standpoint, there's a lot of communication that has to happen in a tight amount of time and those drills provide opportunities for those guys to sharpen their skills in that area."

More from Tomlin:

On George Pickens comfort with the route tree:
"Very much in development. He's got a lot of talent but he's raw. But that's okay. That's why we have coaches. It's our job to help him grow and develop, not only him, but all of them. He's got a lot of talent. We drafted him where we drafted him based on that talent. It's our job and his job to develop the skill that allows those talents to show regardless of circumstance."

On the Guardian caps players have to wear as part of a new rule in the NFL:
"We're going to adhere to the rule. It's a new rule, it's for their safety and so we don't run away from those things. We run to those things. We're going to make it a non-issue for us and it's about the work that we do."

On what Brian Flores has brought to the team:
"He's doing a heck of a job. He's providing great insight, instruction. He's a hand in the pile guy. We're glad to have him."

On Diontae Johnson leading by example:
"Diontae is not a big talker. He's more of a doer and I can appreciate that. I'm aligned with that. Just putting his head down and working every day. He's going to provide quality examples of how to go to work and it's going to aid guys like Pickens in the maturation process because he has visual examples of what he needs to do and how he needs to do it."

On working with new general manager Omar Khan and his staff:
"We're just dating right now. We went to dinner last night. It was great. You know how it is. We'll be tested moving forward, there'll be plenty opportunities for that. But right now, we're honeymooning."