If there is one thing that Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made clear following last night’s loss to the Buffalo Bills, it is that he was in no way interested in indulging the weekly questions that he gets asked. The most egregious this week was concerning the quarterback position, coming off the first overall negative performance from rookie Devlin Hodges.
Last night, the Samford product completed 23 of his 38 pass attempts for just 202 yards, throwing a YAC-enabled 11-yard touchdown to James Conner in the midst of being intercepted four times, twice by Tre’Davious White, and the other two late in the game in the end zone.
When Tomlin decided to pull the plug on Mason Rudolph after one drive in the second half in the game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he said that he made the decision because Rudolph was willing them and thought Hodges could add a spark. He was allowed to continue to start because, and I quote, “he didn’t kill us”.
He killed the Steelers last night, so it’s no surprise that reporters asked Tomlin about the quarterback position after the game. “I’m not getting into that, guys”, he said. “We just lost a football game. I’m not gonna make an announcement every week or every time I stand in front of you guys in terms of who’s playing quarterback, or any other position for that matter”.
The quarterback position is a little more significant than every single other one, of course, and right now, you have two inexperienced and young players in competition for that job, both of whom have turned in a very ugly performance, even amidst poor pass protection, that was fatal to their efforts.
Outside of the Steelers’ loss to the New England Patriots in the season opener, which was a blowout, every one of the Steelers’ other losses have been driven very largely by turnovers. The past two were off of four-interception performances from young quarterbacks, but costly fumbles against the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens were the differences in those game as well.
Going back to what Tomlin said, it’s most notable that he wasn’t simply not giving an answer here or deflecting. He was giving an on-answer. He is saying that he is not even going to address the question, which is distinct from saying that he doesn’t know what the answer is yet.
Maybe he already did know what his plan was, or at least what it will be if the tape confirms his in-game analysis. Maybe he didn’t. but he wasn’t going to reveal anything just minutes after a very frustrating loss. And given the players involved, I think that was the right decision.