The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up their final offseason practice of 2018 on Thursday and as we all have become accustomed to over the years, head coach Mike Tomlin sent his team off until the start of training camp with a few challenges with the primary one revolving around conditioning.
“The new guys, the guys that haven’t been exposed to us, we challenge those guys to simply be in the best shape of their lives,” Tomlin said at the conclusion of the team’s Thursday mandatory minicamp practice. “They don’t have control over a lot, they don’t know what lies ahead, they haven’t experienced it before, so to give themselves the best opportunity to be the best they can be, it just makes sense to be in the best shape of their lives. So we challenged them in that way.”
Tomlin also sent his veteran players off on the summer break with a challenge as well.
“The guys that have been with us before, we told them that if they assume anything, assume that more will be required of them this year than what’s been required of them in the past,” Tomlin said. “And that’s just a prudent approach to take.”
While we’ll never know for sure, Tomlin appears to be happy with most of all that transpired this offseason during the team’s three rookie minicamp practices, ten OTA practices and three-day mandatory minicamp.
“I like the work that transpired out here,” Tomlin said of the practices that took place this year at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “A lot of teaching, learning, culture building, getting a sense of what’s expected and understood, good things in that regard. Not a lot of detail evaluations beyond that.”
Tomlin was later asked on Thursday about how he currently feels about the team’s culture ahead of the long break before the start of training camp.
“Man, It’s great because we’re undefeated and unscored upon, but everybody feels that way right now,” Tomlin said. “I’m sure if you polled 31 other coaches, they’d feel great and have great optimism as well. That’s what this time of year is about.”
Tomlin was also asked on Thursday to explain what he looks for and what his major objective is to accomplish during the annual offseason practices ahead of training camp.
“I’m just trying to create an environment where we can teach and they can learn and evaluate that end of it,” Tomlin explained. “How they learn, how we teach, how communication happens formally and informally, I’m trying to create an environment where that’s highlighted. I think that’s what’s important to me right now.”
Even though the start of training camp is exactly six weeks away, Tomlin made it clear on Thursday that as always, he looks forward to taking his team to the friendly and familiar confines of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe and as he said, “start the formal development in pads.” In fact, if it were up to the Steelers head coach and the league would allow it, he would gladly start training camp a lot sooner than six weeks from today.
“Hey, you guys know I love camp,” Tomlin said. “Man, I’d go tonight, you know. It’s just how I am. I’m a football lover. I love that environment. I love the unintended consequences of training camp, the unique bonding opportunities, the growth opportunities individually and collectively. I appreciate our relationship with those guys up there in Latrobe at Saint Vincent, I look forward to it.”
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 14, 2018