Prior to joining the Pittsburgh Steelers this past offseason, linebacker Myles Jack spent the first six years of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Outside of a run to the 2018 AFC Championship game, Jack didn’t experience much success during his time with the Jaguars, so when the Steelers got off to a rough start at 2-6, it was something he was used to. What he wasn’t used to though, was the leadership of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and the rest of the Pittsburgh locker room to withstand the tough start. Talking to the media today, Jack credited Tomlin and the leadership of the Steelers locker room for helping the team rebound.
“I really say it’s a leadership thing. My first year being with the Steelers and just seeing how they run things, even when things were bad, we were 2-6, there was no panic. Where I’ve been in other places, it’s like the house is on fire, everybody’s about to lose their job, mortgage is at stake. But here, it was just kinda let’s just continually get better and see what’s going on, so I really just give it up to Coach T and how’s conducting things. He’s just been the same whether we win or whether we lose,” Jack said via Steelers.com.
Jack also added he was surprised that there wasn’t more panic around the team when they started off slow, but credited the leadership and lack of panic for helping the team be able to get to where they are now, at 8-8 and fighting for a playoff spot heading into Week 18.
While Jack has been slightly underwhelming this year, he’s still a key part of the Steelers’ defense. He reaggravated a groin injury in the third quarter against the Ravens last week and missed practice today but said he’s “definitely gunning” to be in the lineup this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. With 100 combined tackles and three pass deflections so far this season, having Jack return would be a welcome sight for the Pittsburgh defense.
It really does speak to the leadership, both with Tomlin and the guys in the locker room that this team never let the wheels fall off, which is something that has rarely happened during Tomlin’s tenure. As Josh Carney wrote this morning, the team’s last regular season game that wasn’t meaningful was Week 17 of the 2012 season, a whopping ten years ago. While the Steelers haven’t qualified for the playoffs every year, the fact they’ve always been playing for something 10 years running says a lot about Tomlin and is a streak that honestly might be more impressive than his .500 record or better streak.
The Steelers still need help to make the playoffs this year. But just to be in this position is a huge testament to the coaching staff and the players to keep fighting, grinding, and getting better as the year went on.