In his introductory press conference to training camp yesterday, Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin mentioned that every player showed up on time and in-shape for the conditioning test, of which no one failed said test that participated.
When NFL Network analyst and former general manager Scott Pioli spoke to Tomlin after practice concluded, he mentioned Tomlin’s comments about the players’ conditioning and timeliness sticking out to him despite being simple things in the grand scheme of what the team is trying to do here in Latrobe.
“A very small thing, but a very critical thing in terms of team development because what it shows is a respect and appreciation for one another,” Tomlin said to Pioli at the conclusion of practice on Inside Training Camp Live on NFL Network. “When you’re on time, you’re showing respect for others’ time. When you’re show up ready to go, you’re saying ‘I am putting my hand in the pile for team development’. And so, although a small thing, not a small thing in terms of what we’re trying to do here. And I think that the guys understand their roles in it.”
“Attention to the details” is an often-used phrase that insinuates that the small things add up to be big things, and that is exactly what Pioli and Tomlin refer to here in terms of the team reporting to camp both on time and in shape. Showing up late to camp often means a fine from the team and a conversation with the head coaches and likely other members of the front office. I’ve seen this with a few layers when I worked in the Team Operations Department for the Minnesota Vikings back in 2018 during training camp, having to report a few players that didn’t meet the cut off time to report to the coaching staff.
Showing up in shape is another huge detail from several perspectives. First, if your players show up out-of-shape, you must take the necessary time to get them in shape which only sets those players back in terms of their development and integration into the rest of team activities. Not being in shape also can lead to soft tissue injuries and other health issues that can nag throughout training camp and become more severe if not treated properly.
While it should be expected that the team showed up to training camp in shape and on time, the fact that the team had no major hiccups in these areas is a big win to start their time in Latrobe. We can go back to several examples from previous Hard Knocks episodes where players either fail to report to camp due to a contract dispute or show up and must be eased into action because they didn’t take the necessary steps to be physically really. The Pittsburgh Steelers appear to have avoided those issues popping up as they look to set “The Standard” and prepare to make another playoff push in 2022.