Rookie quarterbacks are worried about learning the offense, the playbook, what it’s like to go against an NFL defense and football’s best. That’s what they prepare for. What can’t be prepared for is learning some of the quips your head coach says on a daily basis.
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kenny Pickett joined Kevin Adams and Jersey Jerry Thursday on their Steel Here podcast. In a light-hearted moment, Pickett recalled not always being sure of what Mike Tomlin was saying during team meetings.
“He used to say the nameless, gray faces and me and Mason Cole, when we first got here, thought he meant nameless, great faces,” Pickett said smiling. “So for a couple months we thought that. And then we were at lunch and someone was like, ‘No, he means gray faces.’ And that that was one that me and him were like, ‘Hh.’”
“Nameless ,gray faces” is one of Tomlin’s go-to phrases, though he’s used “not keeping up with the Joneses” more often lately. For those who don’t know, the phrase means it doesn’t matter who the opponent is. The focus should be on yourself, the team, and if you do your job with good technique, you’ll win the battle and the game.
At least Pickett wasn’t alone in the misinterpretation. Now, he and Cole are ready to take a jump in their second year with the team, though Cole’s been in the NFL for a few more years. The center/quarterback relationship is key, Ben Roethlisberger was as close with Maurkice Pouncey as anyone, and Pickett and Cole are now on the same page with their head coach.
Pickett said there was another one he heard correctly but had to research to understand.
“Don’t get caught up in the minutiae. I guess that’s details, small stuff. I didn’t know that one for a while. I just kind of like let it roll up. But one day I was in the team meeting and after I looked it up on like Google, ‘What does minutiae mean?’”
And then Pickett got his answer. For as technical Tomlin and coaches can be, his job as head coach is to have the team focused on the big picture and not getting lost in every single detail. Last year, that meant the offense had to develop an identity and had to take care of the overarching problems of a group that was highly penalized and turned the ball over far too often.
Obviously, it’s a funny moment and one that shouldn’t be taken seriously. Pickett is on the same page as his coach as the Steelers look to get back into the playoffs after missing out in his rookie year.
Be sure to check out the whole conversation between Pickett, Adams, and Jerry below.