Head Coach Mike Tomlin
Not a lot to discuss, but we did good work today. The work that we're doing in this setting is not much different than what we've done in our OTA sessions. It's a little more structured and the days are a little lengthier, but the process we're going through, the atmosphere in which we're working and the spirit in which we're working remains the same. I appreciate the effort. It was a nice day and a lot of good work was done.
Regarding the spirit, did your guys going at it like that bother you?**
It's football. It's obviously not something that you embrace, but it's an element that comes with the game. It's an opportunity to teach more than anything and that's the way I approach it. Things are going to happen along the way, as we build this group, which will provide us with opportunities to instruct our guys on how to deal with situations when they occur in the fall. When it's happening out here, under this setting, that's the spirit in which I approach it. Obviously, if it happens later, this will be a different story.
What can you learn about young guys in this setting?
How they take in information, how they learn, how they communicate and whether or not they're capable of learning from the mistakes or actions of others. There's a lot of information you can gain about a young man in this type of a setting.
Is that something that you just wait to see how it develops at camp? Or, is that a characteristic that's usually the same once it has been established?
Some of the things you can glean in this setting are unchanging, regardless of circumstances. Some things are just exclusive with football and pads. So, we reserve perception on those things. With other things, experience tells me it's unchanging.
It looks like Ben Roethlisberger is doing a lot of teaching. Do you welcome that? What does that mean?
Certainly. That comes with being him.
Is it happening more this year?
I think it has evolved in the nine years I've been with him, and it should. It's a natural maturation process, not only in terms of him understanding what he's doing, but also understanding the overall scheme and approach that we are taking offensively. We have some continuity in that area now. Coach Haley has been here a number of years, so that's something we should expect.
2015 Minicamp is underway at the Steelers practice facility.
Does having that extra voice as a player rather than a coach resonate a little more with the younger guys?**
I'm sure it does, because the ball comes out of his hands. [Laughs]
What makes you confident that some of the new and old players on defense can create continuity?
I'm not looking for confidence. I'm really not. I'm just watching these guys work and time will tell the story.
Because of the changes with the extra point rule, do you have a way you want to go? Or, are you just experimenting?
At this point, I don't. My mentality regarding that is largely based on the situation I'm in offensively, or defensively.
QB Ben Roethlisberger
Before throwing an interception what went well in the two-minute offense?
We got down the field. We had 30 seconds left with the ball on the four-yard line. We had no timeouts but it was first down. That's what you want to do, give yourself a chance to win it. It didn't end the way we wanted to, that particular drill, but it did in a kind of way. We got a look from a crafty veteran (William Gay), and that's good for Markus Wheaton, who hasn't played inside at all until this year. Hopefully he can learn from it and hopefully not let it happen again.
Re: Running the two-minute drill:
It's competition. There's more thrill in that than just throwing seven-on-seven every day and throwing the same routes. It's a lot of fun. The other guys like to compete as much as we do. The defensive linemen yell, "Sack." Coach Butler yells it. It's a good, competitive period.
Do you think your offense got what it needed out of these offseason workouts?
So far. It's kind of hard to work on the run game without pads on. Coach Tomlin talked about it today, this spring has been a lot about throwing the ball. That's not necessarily who we are going to be offensively, but it's who we have to be now, because we don't have pads on. Once we put the pads on at camp, then we can really work on our run game.
Re: You coaching a lot this spring and is that because of some of the younger guys:
It's fun, because I can tell the guys what I want on the field. And they are going to listen, because we all want to help each other be the best that we can be, and try to win. I am just happy to have the Coach's blessing to be able to do that and not step on any toes. Yeah, [I'm probably doing it more] because there are younger guys. Wheaton has moved inside, and that's a position he hasn't played yet, but I think he can be really good there. Plus, we have some young guys that are new to the team. Even Martavis Bryant is still learning. Heath Miller and I are always talking about things. I don't think you can ever stop improving.
S Shamarko Thomas
What do you have to do to make sure you get one of these starting jobs?
I work hard, I prepare, I study film and I read my playbook. I just need to go out there, be around my team and make plays.
Do you feel like you're a better player than you were at this time last year?
I'm definitely a better player, and a better man. I learned from Troy Polamalu that it's not all about being a better football player, it's about being a better man. You need to have a sense of focus. That's important to me.
Is he (Polamalu) your biggest mentor?
He's the greatest mentor, ever. He's like a big brother to me. Troy showed me a lot of things on and off the field. He's a genuine and humble guy. I give him all the praise in the world.
CB Antwon Blake
Are you approaching this season any differently?
Not really. I'm just trying to improve every day. I feel like if I do that, the sky is the limit.
How much confidence did you build last year, knowing there was an opportunity for you?
It definitely helped my confidence. I always knew that I could do it, but knowing that you can do it and actually doing it are two different things. Making plays last year is helping me going into this year.
What are some things you've been working on this offseason that you didn't work on last year?
The smaller things, learning different ways to play the same coverage. I'm just adding more to my toolbox.
The team brought in some young guys. How do you feel about that?
I'm very impressed with the guys the team brought in. I know from watching their film, they're some true football players. I'm looking forward to watching them play.
LB Bud Dupree
What are some things you think you can improve on?
Making sure I know the plays and keeping up with the speed of the game. Once I get those down, I'll be good.
Are you optimistic that you might be a starter, or get playing time?
I'm just focused on what I need to do for my teammates. I just want to win and work hard.
Do you think there's more teaching going on with the inside and outside linebackers separated during meetings?
I don't know what it used to be like, but the people who have been here a long time say they are learning more from just being with Coach Porter.
How intense is Coach Porter?
He's a great, intense coach. He used to be a player, too, so he knows what it takes.