There are no routes being run. No blocking. No work on the field at all this spring. But that doesn’t mean the Pittsburgh Steelers have to stay stagnant. Even during a virtual offseason, Mike Tomlin says he’s stressing important tools to his team. He was asked about it in an episode of Beyond the Lights with Jalen Buck McCain.
“One of the things I challenged the guys on this morning is that listening is a skill,” Tomlin said. “That’s something I’ve been working on. That’s something that these circumstances make me work on. Listening is a skill like hitting a golf ball. You work on hitting a golf ball, right? You go to the driving range, you acknowledge some guys are naturally better at golf than others. Listening is the same way. If you’re a good listener, first of all, you need to be thankful for that. Because you’re blessed in that way. But you also need to acknowledge you can be better at it.”
And if you’re not a good listener? Then you really better acknowledge that.
“If you’re not a good listener, you better know it,” Tomlin added. “You better take the necessary steps to work at it and improve. Because being a poor listener slows down progress in all areas. People give you good information all the time that will help you on your journey. If you’re a good listener, you hear those messages, you retain those messages, and roll with it.”
That’s arguably the best thing the team can do right now. They won’t be hitting the field for awhile, probably not until training camp, meaning everything right now is happening between the ears. It’s a doubly important message for rookies, being welcomed into in the NFL in a unique way, and guys who are being bombarded with information as they begin their professional careers. Tomlin hopes those guys and the rest of the roster aren’t taking these past few weeks lightly.
“You’re getting a lot of information. What are you doing with it? How much of it are you retaining? What skillset do you bring to the stage in terms of listening? Making guys focus on something that they maybe don’t spend a lot of time focusing on.”
Soaking in and retaining information now will make everyone more ready once the team gets back on the field. Once that happens, Tomlin and the rest of the coaching staff will quickly find out who was paying attention during meetings and who wasn’t. It’ll show in their on-field play and in turn, impact what happens – or doesn’t happen – throughout their rookie year.
Check out the entire interview below.