Talking to Jim Miller, Pat Kirwan and Paul Alexander on Movin’ The Chains on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Mike Tomlin discussed the process of getting new guys acclimated to the team culture.
“I think just only way to do it is you roll the ball out. You know, the secret is there’s no shortcuts in this thing. It’s a lot of things to be done. It’s a lot of discussions that need to be had. We build our team primarily through the draft. And so that process is aided by those who have been through it before,” Tomlin said.
“I can’t say enough about the veteran presence that we have here in the leadership that they provide and, and the ownership that they take in terms of introducing the young and the new to how we do business.”
Pittsburgh certainly has a lot of new guys on the team this year, with Ben Roethlisberger retiring and Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett among the new faces on offense. George Pickens, Calvin Austin III, James Daniels, Mason Cole and more are new to the team on offense, while Myles Jack, DeMarvin Leal, Levi Wallace and Larry Ogunjobi lead a group of newcomers on offense.
There’s always turnover year-to-year in the NFL, and one of the biggest things is making sure the new guys put their personal egos or their “old ways” aside and adapt to the team culture. If a player can’t get up to speed and fit in the culture quickly, it’s going to impact his play on the field and his fit with the team long-term.
While there are a lot of new and young guys in Pittsburgh, there’s still a really solid group of veteran leaders who have been on the team before. Cameron Heyward, Minkah Fitzpatrick, T.J. Watt and Tyson Alualu are just a handful of the veterans on this team that can show the new guys how things are done in Pittsburgh through their words and their actions.
Pittsburgh’s culture is well-established in the league. It’s a physical team that’s traditionally won with an elite defense. It’s important that new guys coming into the team adapt to that culture. While it might mean more live hitting and more days in full pads, it’s what makes the Steelers the Steelers. On and off the field, players need to fit in, and more often than not, they do.
With as many new faces on the team as there are this year, that process might take a little bit longer. Still, as Tomlin said, there are no shortcuts and this team has the veteran leadership to help guys get up to speed quickly. This is a Steelers team that will have a lot to prove, as they have the longest odds to win the AFC North. Let’s see if they can play with a chip on their shoulder and surprise some people this year.