It would be a stretch to call Steelers coach Mike Tomlin chatty at his first news conference of the regular season. But Tomlin was more forthcoming than usual after lavishing praise on the Titans, who visit Heinz Field on Sunday. One name that Tomlin brought up unprompted was defensive end Cameron Heyward. It sounds like the Steelers are expecting the former first-round pick to take a significant step in his third NFL season.
Isaac Redman opens the season as the Steelers' starting running back, but how much work will the fourth-year veteran get against the Titans? Redman has made it clear that he wants to be the feature back, but he averaged just over four carries a game in the Steelers' final eight contests last season. And Tomlin, while expressing confidence in Redman, said there will be some sort of rotation at running back.
Here is an interesting breakdown of Tomlin's news conference, and it includes a great sound bite about Titans senior assistant coach for defense Gregg Williams. Williams, of "Bountygate" infamy, was defensive coordinator for the Saints in 2010 when the Steelers lost at New Orleans. Tomlin said he has studied tape of that game to get a feel for the kind of pressure the Titans will bring Sunday, as he expects Williams to have a considerable amount of influence on Tennessee's defense.
More season predictions with one writer saying the Steelers will finish second in the AFC North, while another one has them finishing third in the division. Again, predictions seem to be all over the place when it comes to the Steelers.
Here are predictions for the first week of the regular season. The Steelers are the pick here to win a close game over the Titans. The Steelers would appear to be one of the safer picks in Week 1 considering Tomlin has never lost in September at Heinz Field. Also, the Titans are coming off a 6-10 season and the Steelers surely haven't forgotten that they squandered a game last October in Nashville.