No excuses: The Steelers sit in a place they didn’t anticipate, and nobody ever anticipates, at 1-4 heading into a Week 6 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.
You could write a dissertation on what has happened through the first five weeks, but the one thing you won’t be able to write in there is excuses that have been made for the disappointing record coming from Coach Mike Tomlin or his players.
And Tomlin doesn’t expect that to change. When asked what his reaction would be if his players made excuses, Tomlin said he doesn’t anticipate that being an issue and while he is not big into hypotheticals, has confidence in the attitude and approach of his players.
“We have a right-minded group,” said Tomlin. “We have a group that is competitive by nature. We have a group that is (ticked) off to be quite honest with you, and appropriately so, but not displaced. We don’t see ourselves as misfortune. We have had control and opportunity to win these games. Our record is our record. We’re bringing that approach to our preparation. That is my level of expectation. I don’t waste a lot of time hypothesizing about any other.”
Positive reviews: When you are 1-4 sometimes the contributions of individuals can be overlooked, but the play of two newcomers to the secondary definitely hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Steve Nelson, who was signed this offseason as an unrestricted free agent, and Minkah Fitzpatrick, who the Steelers acquired via trade from the Miami Dolphins in season, have both made a significant and fast impact on the defense and it’s getting rightful attention.
“Both guys are professional, both guys are really low maintenance, both guys are really good preparers,” said Tomlin. “The things they do. Their personal relationship with the game. To watch them move around during the course of the work week, how they take notes, the things they do in walkthrough and in practices. They’re both low maintenance in that regard. They take a mature approach to prep and that is why they are capable of delivering consistent, varsity performance. I still think we are really getting to know both guys. We have a larger sample size of Nelson than we do Minkah. But really positive reviews from both so far.”
Focused on football: You knew when Tomlin stepped to the podium on Tuesday that it was inevitable someone would ask him about rumors that the Washington Redskins have him on the short list to replace Jay Gruden, who they fired on Monday. Tomlin made it quite clear he has a lot more on his mind than rumors.
“I’m not worried about that, to be quite honest with you,” said Tomlin. “I am the head coach of a 1-4 football team that is going on the road to play a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback with my third quarterback. Do you think I am worried about anything this week other than that.”