Tomlin Takes

Presented by

'Tomlin's Takes' on road trips, bell cow and more

Life on the road: Other than what happens between the white lines on game day, a lot of what players and coaches have become accustomed to during football season might look a lot different in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One such thing is team travel.

The Steelers won't have to wait long to find out how different travel is going to be with all of the protocols now in place from the NFL as they open the season on the road against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Monday Night Football. 

Coach Mike Tomlin ran the team through some mock road game scenarios during training camp but doesn't know the impact the new protocols will have until all is said and done.

"I don't have the answer to that," said Tomlin. "That is one of the reasons why we have done some of the things we have done, to try and have a feel for that, or a certain level of anticipation of what the protocol means for us. To be quite honest with you we are still getting memos from the league office regarding travel protocol and things of that nature. Many of those questions are going to remain unanswered until we experience it and I would image all of us are going to gain more fluidity and understanding of what the issues are as we gain experience in that area."

Opening day jitters: If you are reading this and you are excited about the Steelers first game of the 2020 season, and even have those jitters that come on game day, well you aren't alone.

Ben Roethlisberger previously admitted that he is going to have some jitters when he takes the first snap, throws that first pass on Monday night, especially after missing the vast majority of the 2019 season.

He won't be the only one feeling that way.

"There are nerves and jitters every time we walk out of the tunnel, at least for me, speaking for myself," said Tomlin. "But especially the first time you walk out in a season, particularly in a circumstance such as this with no preseason.

"I think I am just focusing my energies on using that anxiety in a productive way and working through it. That is what I am going to challenge our team to do. I am not going to pretend it doesn't exist. It's something all of us will have to deal with in 2020 in the next seven days or so."

The bell cow is known: The Steelers have some diverse options in their backfield that they can go to with James Conner, Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland Jr. and Jaylen Samuels.

Who the team will rely on each week could very well be dependent on matchups, but make no mistake, there is only one 'bell cow' in the group right now.

"We're going to discover that week in and week out in terms of what gives us the very best chance to win each and every game," said Tomlin. "We have players with unique and different talents, particularly at that potion. We are not opposed to utilizing all of those talents.

"That being said, there is no question about who our bell cow is. Our bell cow is James Conner and he is our primary ball toter."

Appreciating the opportunity: Several months ago, nobody knew if football would even be played in 2020. And now, less than a week away from the Steelers 2020 opening game, the season is set to go on.

It's something players and coaches are looking forward to and are grateful that they are able to do what they love in such uncertain times.

"We have a group that is appreciative of the opportunity to play," said Tomlin. "That is one thing the offseason has taught us all. These opportunities are precious. They are not to be taken for granted. We are just blessed to have an opportunity to put football on. I have that perspective and I am sure our players do as well. We are very passionate about what we do, and we are relieved we are getting close to an opportunity to do it when there were times during the course of this development, we weren't sure."

Related Content