One thing that Minkah Fitzpatrick has mentioned on multiple occasions this offseason has been the fact that he and some other players specifically attend meetings with head coach Mike Tomlin during the year that go over some minute details. The guys who have a chance of playing on the field will be in that meeting. On defense, it might be 15 or 20 players.
He provided some more details about what those meetings are like when he spoke to Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report. Calling the session the ‘Winning Edge’, it’s all about understanding situations and tendencies—all the sorts of things that Tomlin’s detractors say that he doesn’t have a clue about.
He didn’t have those meetings in Miami. But it did remind him of the sort of conversations that he would have with Nick Saban during his three years at Alabama between 2015 and 2017, when he became a star and an eventual top-15 pick in 2018. Dunne writes:
Tomlin, like Saban, has a background as a DBs coach. Tomlin, like Saban, is obsessed with the details of his position. Fitzpatrick raves about him with the same enthusiasm. How every Friday, Tomlin leads a final run-through with 15 to 20 defensive players, sifting through two notebooks packed with secrets. Tomlin calls the session “Winning Edge.” With a laser pointer, he points at specific numbers covering whiteboards on both sides of the room. Numbers he wants planted in their heads.
On 3rd-and-4 to -6, here’s what they’ll run. On 3rd-and-9 to -12, expect this. To Fitzpatrick, this is all gold. It feels like he’s back in that one-on-one setting with Saban.
As I said earlier, this is not the first time that Fitzpatrick has talked about these meetings with Tomlin. Last month, for example, he mentioned it during the Around the 412 podcast, when he was asked to draw similarities to his time at Alabama and his time in Pittsburgh.
“I’ve got opportunities to sit in the actual coaches meeting before with coach Saban as he’s breaking down film and going through stuff as I was learning a new position, so I got to see the way that he broke the game down and the way that he thought about the game”, he said.
“I’ve also had the same opportunity with coach Tomlin. He has meetings with three or four guys in the room, and he has his notebook out, and he’s just checking off a whole bunch of different stuff”, he continued. “He has numbers on the board, stats on the board from the offense that we’re going against — Hey, second-down-and-long, second-down-and-7 is this, is that – and is just really detailed when it comes to the game. I think that’s definitely something that they have in common and a big part of why they’re successful”.
Who would have thought that Tomlin’s players, the ones that he actually coaches and instructs, see more about the details that he actually puts into the game on a weekly basis than do fans who have long ago painted him as a coach who delegates responsibilities off to other parties?