Tomlin Notes-Kevin Colbert, Rush D, Free agents

93.7 The Fan
93.7 The Fan

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Many topics discussed during Mike Tomlin’s season-ending news conference on Tuesday.

GM Kevin Colbert

Tomlin said he will leave it to Kevin Colbert to address his future as numerous reports that Colbert will retire after the 2022 NFL Draft.

“Our plan is to proceed in the short-term like we always do,” Tomlin said.  “He’s on me already bringing me up-to-speed with draft availability.  Planning on how we are going to move, we talked about Mobile this morning.  You don’t want to talk about the Senior Bowl this time of year because that means you aren’t in the tourney.”

“He understands that.  He also understands that it’s necessary discussion and planning that he and I have to have.  We have already started that process.”

Tomlin praised their relationship and their ability to be honest and straight-forward in conversations with each other.  He said the team plans to operate as it always has in terms of the offseason.

New QB

Tomlin addressed his thoughts on the potential starting quarterback for next season.

He also doubled-down on a comment from earlier this season about the importance of having a mobile quarterback in today’s NFL.

“Quarterback mobility is valued,” Tomlin said.  “Not only by me, but everyone.  It’s a component of today’s game and increasingly so.”

Worst Rush D

“We didn’t play as well as we liked,” Tomlin said.  “We have to get better in that area.”

He said no excuses because of injury or inexperience, rather they are what they put on tape and what their record showed.  The Steelers were worst in the NFL in rush defense allowing 2,483 yards and an amazing 5 yards per attempt.

“I’m not comfortable with what we did against the run,” Tomlin said.  “I don’t think any of us are comfortable or happy with what we did against the run.  That needs to improve, that will improve and we will plot a course to do so.”

Tomlin said there were aspects of linebacker Joe Schobert’s game that could have been better, but that’s the case for nearly every player.  He also said it was a challenge for Devin Bush coming back from major knee surgery.

Tuitt question

Defensive end Stephon Tuitt missed all year due to the death of his brother and to a knee injury.  Cam Heyward was very emotional about his missing the season.  Tomlin said he has not yet talked to Tuitt (11 sacks in 2020) about next year, his cap hit is $13.975 million in 2022.  He also has not yet talked to defensive lineman Tyson Alualu, who missed most of 16 games due to injury.  The 34-year-olds cap his is $3.462 million.

Free agents

Saying they are open for business with free agents, Tomlin underscored it’s free agency not just for the player, but for the team.  The 15-year Steelers head coach said he would like corners Ahkello Witherspoon and Joe Haden back, but will see how the process plays out.

“When you are dealing with free agency, it’s free agency for us and it’s free agency for them,” Tomlin said.  “There are a lot of significant discussions in terms of personnel and it involves them.  I value both guys.  I’m open to doing business with those guys.  There are a lot of layers in that discussion.”

Terrell Edmunds

Deciding not to pick up his option year, Steelers 2018 first round pick and starting safety Terrell Edmunds is a free agent.  While seemingly thinking of moving on by not giving him a fifth season, his play this year may have changed some minds.

“Think about availability,” Tomlin said as Edmunds has played over 4,000 snaps in four seasons.  “I never want to underscore that.  This has been a guy that’s been ridiculously available to us, not only this year but over the course of his career.  He was a thousand snap defender as a rookie.  Often time we don’t talk enough about availability.”

“Productivity, obviously, he did some good things there.”

The 24-year-old set some career-highs
·     1145 snaps or 98% of the Steelers defensive plays
·     2 interceptions
·     8 tackles-for-loss (beat previous high by 6)
·     7.5 yards per completion

He had his second-best season in completion percentage allowed, tackles and passes defended.

Tomlin said he’s appreciative of what he did and will see where the roads lead us.  Those last six words describes so much of this coming off season.

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