Head Coach Mike Tomlin
Opening Statement:It was a good start today. No real injuries to speak of, just general good hustle and enthusiasm. Obviously we're not perfect. We're not going to be. It's a good base to begin. We'll continue to do similar things in terms of how we structure our work and compete. We do it hard and in a professional manner. That's what we're seeking. We have a lot of young guys out there. We're challenging and evaluating them, but we're teaching them at the same time. I thought they did a good job of receiving the message and instruction.
Re: You started off with the two-point conversions, as you did in the offseason. Defense won a couple this time:
Yeah, we've been doing that for over a year now. It's not a reaction to the rule change or anything of that nature. We've been doing it for over a year because we realize that on both sides of the ball that's a significant space on a significant down. It's been good work, hopefully it's competitive, meaning that the offense is going to win some and the defense is going to win some. The defense won a majority today.
You start earlier with practice, but you also start earlier with the games. What's the most important thing you want to achieve with each of these early practices?
I'm not looking at the big picture. I just want to establish a good foundation of how we work. They need to gain a level of expectation in terms of how we want them to work, what we are looking for, what is the tempo of the drills, things of that nature. I thought it was a good start.
Does the offense need to score 30 points a game?
I just want to score one more point than our opponent, so whatever that entails. I don't worry about the style points. I'll let you talk to Ben about that.
Did you use Jason Harrison today?
I'm going to protect him from himself. He and Will Allen are too old to be working right now.
What did you think of Landry Jones?
I haven't evaluated him singularly. We are just getting started.
Will the structure of practice change come Wednesday when players have pads?
What we do is not going to change. Obviously, the manner in which it is done is going to change. I cannot wait for that.
Re: QB rotation with Tyler Murphy and Devin Gardner:
Yeah, we are going to move [reps] those guys between Murphy and Gardner. We are going to move them between quarterback and wide receiver on some sort of a schedule. We will find a rhythm there. The big thing is that we give them the opportunity to let them show what they are capable of at both spots.
How many changes are made from mini-camp till now?
Would you like to see Pittsburgh host a Super Bowl?
Man, as long as we are in it.
OT Alejandro Villanueva
How is [Mike] Adams being out impacting you?**
I don't think it matters. I'm not competing against one guy. I'm competing against everyone else in the league right now. So whether [the Steelers] draft a guy in the first round or they don't draft a guy at all at my position, I think it's up to me to make the team.
Are you looking forward to the extra reps in training camp?
Yeah, and it's totally different when you come from a bottom of the depth chart, third-string guy, to a second-string guy because the coaches give you a lot more attention. For me right now, I'm in a position where I just need to keep working hard, listen to my coaches and teammates and absorb everything that I have around me so I can make the best of my situation.
T/G Kelvin Beachum
What is the potential of this offensive line and what needs to be improved?
We have to just keep getting better. We need to do a better job of running the ball more efficiently. Like I said, we still have a lot of room for improvement and need to keep on working at it.
What has Coach Tomlin meant to you throughout your career?
He's been somebody that has been an African American male mentor for me. He's been able to show me and teach me some things about being a dad and a son at the same time. I'm always working on my relationship with my father and he's been able to share some things with me. He's been a mentor in all sorts of ways, it's been good for me.
How can you guys be even better as an offensive line this year?
We need to keep working on the small things. Coach Munchak does a great job stressing the fundamentals and that's what we have to continue to focus our time on.
DE Stephon Tuitt
There was a lot of talk about camaraderie on the first day of training camp. Was there a moment when you guys felt that you needed to get closer?
It naturally happens, especially because we all play football and we came from different places. The best part about football is that you need to fight, you battle and get mad at each other, and it just helps bring the guys closer.
Are you excited to possibly get more sacks since Keith Butler said he wants to use the defensive ends more?
I'm excited for the new defense that we have. There's a lot of hard hitting out there so I can't wait.
How good can the tandem of Cameron Heyward and you be this year?
First of all, I want to say that I'm so happy and blessed for him to sign a contract like he did. The tandem that we are going to create is going to come from the hard work we've put into the offseason.
What has you most excited about this defense?
I think that we have a very powerful and fast defense, and we are going to be able to show that once we put all the little things together. We are going to be a really tough defense in the NFL.