Mike Tomlin attacks Pittsburgh Steelers training camp with ‘bring it on’ mentality

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LATROBE, Pa. — Mike Tomlin was back with the punters Saturday afternoon. When you ask those who’ve been around him for years, you always hear, Tomlin coaches the whole team. In the middle of Saturday’s training-camp practice, his focus was incumbent punter Pressley Harvin III and Cameron Nizialek.

“Let’s go!” Tomlin yelled with Harvin poised to boot. “For us, 5.0’s the standard!”

He meant a 5.0-second hang time, which would be exemplary; the average hang time for the league’s top 10 punters in 2021, per Pro Football Focus, was 4.27 seconds. Maybe the standard is 5.0, or maybe that’s the dream. Whatever, Tomlin boomed it out, and Harvin responded with a Ray Guy-like rainmaker down the right side. Great punt.

“The standard!” Tomlin said. “Five point oh!”

Nizialek’s turn. He’s not likely to beat out the vaunted Harvin, the 2021 seventh-round draft pick, but he’s competing. Nizialek took the snap and duck-hooked the punt low down the left sideline, out of bounds. “Ooooooooh,” the crowd responded. Yikes. Not going to make this team, or any one, punting like that.

Tomlin didn’t say anything (at least that I heard). The drill went on. Why is it important? Harvin and Nizialek know it’s a big deal when the head coach takes 12 to 15 minutes to focus entirely on the punters among the 90 players in camp. This isn’t just a July drill to Tomlin. He wants to know what happens when the pressure is on. If you shank one in Latrobe with all the fans loving on you in July, how will you perform with the bright lights on you in Baltimore in a very big game? In this one moment, Harvin passed the test and Nizialek didn’t. So Tomlin could chalk up some mental evidence in one small roster battle.

Tomlin’s usually good theater at this time of year, but I was especially focused on him Saturday because of what’s at stake. With two of the organization’s most important people, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and GM Kevin Colbert, retired since the Steelers last suited up, this is a year of change, a year of what’s-next for one of the league’s top franchises with only one immovable force remaining—Tomlin, entering his 16th year as coach.

In his first 15 years as head man, Tomlin’s never had a losing season, a remarkable run of competitiveness in the dog-eat-dog NFL. (For comparison, Bill Belichick had five losing years in his first 15 as a coach.)

Tomlin didn’t like my post-practice line of questioning about what has been lost here, at one point asking, “You’re hoping that we’re mediocre?” I said no—but this is a year that people look at the Steelers and have no idea what to expect.

NFL: MAY 24 Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workouts
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. (Getty Images)

I could feel the heat from behind his sunglasses.

“Bring it on,” Tomlin said. “Bring it on.”

“You like that?” I said.

“Bring it on. Quote me.”

I think Mike Tomlin loves this setup. Just loves it.


My story in Latrobe begins with a Benedictine monk.

Father Paul Taylor, the president of St. Vincent College, watched practice from the sidelines Saturday in his flowing brown robe. Father Paul is also the Steelers’ team chaplain and priest, and says mass for any players, coaches or staff who wish to attend every Sunday morning. He knows Tomlin well.

“What makes him a great leader is he rises above the fray,” Father Paul told me at practice. “He knows what’s important in his job. And he’s such a good communicator. I think he can see inside the players’ heads.”

Two players told me Tomlin has a good rapport with the players because he’s blunt with them and never hides the truth. That’s important this year, because obviously the major story in camp is life without Roethlisberger, and choosing a successor. A former quarterback here, Charlie Batch, told me as we watched the QB battle play out in front of us: “I think Mike will be totally honest in the team meetings. He’ll tell the team: We have a quarterback battle here. Everyone will get a chance, and the film will speak for itself. Three dogs, one bone. Let’s see what these guys can do. Let’s see who wins the job.”

So the monk and the former quarterback point to communication and honesty about the process of retooling the team. When I relayed the Batch theory about how he’d handle the quarterback battle with the team, Tomlin said it was spot on.

Peter King and St. Vincent College president Father Paul Taylor. (NBC Sports)

“That’s very accurate,” Tomlin said. “I’m going to talk about the elephant in the room. Our ability to put together a winning formula that allows us to go into stadiums and step out with victory is what it’s about. We’re going through a transition at that position so our formula is going to change to a degree. Our strengths may change, what we lean on, what we work to minimize. That’s just team building. It requires discussion and direction. And [Batch] is right.

“I don’t run from that. I run to that.”

“What’s the newness like? When you’re dealing with some new and important people?”

“I don’t really seek the comfort of a veteran group,” Tomlin said. “I approach building a team the same every year. That’s how I’m wired. I understand the question, but it’s just not my style.”

That’s what I’d want out of my head coach. Roethlisberger’s gone. Okay. Who’s up? And will we throw it 60 percent or run it to hide whatever zits we have in the passing game? Can Najee Harris handle a 300-carry load if need be? Those are the things Tomlin tries to figure out this year—but they’re the things, at different positions, he’s tried to figure out every year. 

It’s too early to draw any conclusions on the quarterbacks six weeks from opening day. But there was one major clue about how it’s trending on Saturday: In an early passing period of practice, in the tight red zone, the reps were split 4-2-1, TrubiskyRudolphPickett. From what I gleaned, the opening-day assignment, Steelers at the Super Bowl Bengals, is Trubisky’s to lose.

Of course, things like this period factor into the ultimate decision. Trubisky was one of four, and Pickett nailed his one chance with a perfect touch throw for a touchdown to free-agent wideout Tyler Vaughns. “We’re at the very early stages of this. Everyone’s gonna get an opportunity to show their capabilities, for sure,” Tomlin said. As it should be.

“Coach Tomlin is very transparent about the situation,” Trubisky said. “Ever since I got here, it’s been really impressive to me how he leads the team as a football coach. He’ll even tell you. It’s not an accident that he gets the results he does because he’s such a great leader. I’m just trying to soak in all that knowledge so I can be the best player I can be and we can continue to go out and win games for the Steelers.”

The quarterback position will get the attention. The run defense might be more important. Last year, the Steelers had the worst run defense in the league, and there’s no way they’ll contend this year without fixing that. The retirement of a good two-way lineman, Stephon Tuitt, hurts. And surrendering 5.0 yards per rush is so incredibly un-Steelers-like. Both T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward said that was job one in camp this year—be sure that gets fixed. This is the highest-paid defense in the league, collectively, and they’re relying on a couple of rugged mid-level free-agents, defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi and linebacker Myles Jack, to defend the run significantly better this year.

I think a huge part of this team’s fate relies on something boring: field-position football and clock management. Harvin, the booming punter, has to be better than his 42.6-yard average last year (26th in the league). Pin teams back, play clockball, defend the run lots better, run it for 4.4 yards a clip and keep Najee Harris upright. Those things are vital to making it 16 straight non-losing seasons for Tomlin.

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

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The 2022 NFL Football season is finally back in session. This Sunday night Matt Ryan and the Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1) head to Arlington, Texas to face Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys (8-3). Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America. NBC and Peacock have got you covered with access to this week’s games as well as every Sunday Night Football game this season.

RELATED: FMIA Week 12 – Josh Jacobs Takes Heckling Personally, And A Banner Week For Two-Point Conversion Risks

This year’s Sunday Night Football coverage will feature Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth in the booth and Melissa Stark on the sidelines. Live coverage begins every Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America with the talented group of Maria Taylor, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Jason Garrett, Chris Simms, Jac Collinsworth, Mike Florio, and Matthew Berry. Berry, a fantasy football industry pioneer, will also appear on Peacock’s exclusive NFL post-game show, Sunday Night Football Final.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

Football Night in America will also feature a weekly segment hosted by Simms and sports betting and Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs dominate Bucs 41-31

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Justin Tucker’s last-play field goal delivers 19-17 win for Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Eagles intercept Cooper Rush three times in 26-17 win

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Kenny Pickett throws two late INTs, allowing Miami to escape with 16-10 win

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Bills beat Packers 27-17 for fourth win in a row

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Patrick Mahomes leads Chiefs to comeback overtime victory over Titans

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – 49ers dominate Chargers in second half to win 22-16

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Travis Kelce’s third touchdown leads Chiefs to late comeback win

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Vikings improve to 9-2 with 33-26 victory over Patriots

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers lose Aaron Rodgers, another game as Eagles rush for 363 in 40-33 win

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Colts at Cowboys

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Dolphins at Chargers

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Patriots at Raiders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

How to watch the NFL on Peacock: Full Sunday Night Football Schedule, live stream info for the 2022 season

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The 2022 NFL Season is in full gear. This week features another exciting match-up as Matt Ryan and the Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1) head to Arlington, Texas to take on Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys (8-3). Live coverage begins at 7 PM ET with Football Night In America. NBC and Peacock have got you covered with access to this week’s games as well as every Sunday Night Football game this season.

RELATED: FMIA Week 12 – Josh Jacobs Takes Heckling Personally, And A Banner Week For Two-Point Conversion Risks

See below for the full 2022 Sunday Night Football schedule as well as additional information on how to watch every game on Peacock.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) – Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs dominate Bucs 41-31

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Justin Tucker’s last-play field goal delivers 19-17 win for Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Eagles intercept Cooper Rush three times in 26-17 win

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Kenny Pickett throws two late INTs, allowing Miami to escape with 16-10 win

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Bills beat Packers 27-17 for fourth win in a row

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Patrick Mahomes leads Chiefs to comeback overtime victory over Titans

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – 49ers dominate Chargers in second half to win 22-16

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Travis Kelce’s third touchdown leads Chiefs to late comeback win

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Vikings improve to 9-2 with 33-26 victory over Patriots

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers lose Aaron Rodgers, another game as Eagles rush for 363 in 40-33 win

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Colts at Cowboys

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Dolphins at Chargers

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Patriots at Raiders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: When is the 2022 NFL Trade Deadline?

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: How to watch/live stream Tennessee Titans vs Kansas City Chiefs game

What devices are compatible with Peacock?

Peacock is available on a variety of devices. See the full list here.

In addition to Sunday Night Football, what else can I watch with Peacock Premium?

Premium is your key to unlocking everything Peacock has to offer. You’ll get access to all the live sports and events we have, including Premier League and WWE Premium Live Events like WrestleMania. You’ll also get full seasons of exclusive Peacock Original series, next-day airings of current NBC and Telemundo hits, plus every movie and show available on Peacock. There is always something new to discover on Peacock Premium.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!