The Pittsburgh Steelers attempted to revamp their offensive line this offseason, bringing in a new line coach and two new starters in free agency. They failed to come out of the draft with any further assistance—to the chagrin of a great many—but there has been some progress with the hope of further success as chemistry builds.
Part of whatever modicum of success the line has achieved head coach Mike Tomlin credited to his new starting center, free-agent acquisition Mason Cole, whom he described in his Tuesday pre-game press conference as a ‘Steady Eddie’ presence in the middle of the offensive line.
Cole for his part returned the favor, referring to Tomlin as the same when asked to describe his coach. He was being interviewed for a segment on 93.7 The Fan by Aditi Kinkhabwala, telling her that he didn’t even hear of the comment until reporters on Wednesday asked him about Tomlin’s comment.
“He is [a Steady Eddie] though”, he said. “That’s one thing is he’s never gonna change. He says, ‘You can hate your performance but you can never hate yourself’. For me, a guy that’s been through some ups and downs in the league, that to me shows you what kind of leader he is, that there’s gonna be good days and bad days in this league”.
A former third-round draft pick out of Michigan, Cole was thrown into the starting lineup with the Arizona Cardinals in 2018 as a rookie, but he failed to have a steady starting role outside of injury situations until arriving in Pittsburgh, with the Cardinals—and last year the Minnesota Vikings—making moves to acquire talent such as Rodney Hudson or drafting first-rounders at the position.
He feels he’s grown from all of those experiences, the good and the bad, the opportunities and the times he’s had to wait things out. And he knows you’re never going to entirely escape bad tape no matter how much of a perfectionist you try to be.
“But you can’t hate yourself over it, you’ve got to learn through it”, he said, a lesson cemented in his head by Tomlin. “It’s just little things like that, little tidbits like that that make him that leader and make you willing to go play as hard as you want, not fear of failing, just playing hard and knowing that film on Monday might suck but we’re gonna do everything we can to make the corrections”.
The Steelers in their bye week, coaches and players have talked about spending this time making the necessary corrections to the things that led them to a 2-6 start. The on-field results will speak to how successful those efforts were.