We only see the final results, what happens each Sunday, but if anyone in the NFL wants to play at a high level, it starts on the Monday before. That’s especially true for any rookie trying to prevent his head from spinning as he gets his first dose of reality and how tough it is to play in the league.
For Mike Tomlin, that preparation is evident from Sean Davis. He’s taken over the strong safety job from Robert Golden, recording at least five tackles in the past four games and notching his first career interception.
That doesn’t mean success came right away. It was a difficult start to the season, asked to bounce around positions, seeing double-duty at slot corner and safety, and opened up the season in the former role. But after struggling initially, the team benched him, they exclusively made him a safety in a move that clearly has paid off.
It’s not just in his play though. It’s in his prep work, his Monday to Saturday routine. And he’s beginning to ask the right questions.
“It’s funny to watch young guys not only improve in play but also improve in the process of preparation,” Tomlin told reporters this afternoon. “Had a funny interaction with him a week ago. He came to my office and asked, how do you prepare for somebody a second time in a season? Because he had never played someone twice in a season before.”
That’s a reality for not just Davis but every rookie on the team. And there are others, Artie Burns and Javon Hargrave as the most noteworthy, playing key roles.
“The process that is preparation,they’re finding their rhythm. They’re finding what works for them. And I think when they do that and as they continue to do that, it’s reasonable to expect a more consistent floor in their performance and a higher ceiling in their performance.”
And that’s what’s been evident with the Steelers’ top three picks. Much more consistent play with a lot of upside, both in the present and definitely in the future.