Mike Tomlin admits he is disappointed with Artie Burns

The Steelers head coach touched on a number of subjects when he spoke to the media on Monday, discussing the notable departures and additions this offseason.

Following on the heels of Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert on Sunday, it was the turn of Mike Tomlin to talk with the media at the owners meeting on Monday, discussing a wide range of topics ranging from notable player departures to recent free agent additions.

But while the Steelers head coach appeared reluctant to talk too negatively about names like Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, he was far from encouraging when the subject turned to Artie Burns. As per Teresa Varley of Steelers.com, when asked if it was a little disappointing that the young cornerback seems to perform well in practice but struggles during a game, Tomlin left no doubt that that he was unhappy with the level of production he was getting from Burns on game day.

“Not a little bit disappointed. Disappointed. Certainly. Having the ability to carry those talents into a stadium kind of defines us, or inability to do so, so certainly.”

And if Burns is to get another opportunity to prove his worth in the NFL with Pittsburgh, it appears that he might need to be more concerned about keeping his roster spot right now, rather than worrying about who will be the starter opposite Joe Haden in 2019.

“You know, that’s what this process is about. It’s not about giving him another chance. It’s about putting together the very best group that we can put out there, and if that includes giving him another chance, then certainly, but it’s not per se specifically about giving him quote-unquote another chance.”

Rather than be drawn into the ongoing saga about Ben Roethlisberger and his leadership abilities, Tomlin put the onus on everyone to improve this season, including himself.

“I don’t think he was void of leadership skills or talents. I think he’s more than capable as a quarterback. I think he’s more than capable as a leader. But do I expect growth and development? Certainly. I expect growth and development from all of us based on the experiences that we’re a part of. And I expect growth and development from myself from a leadership standpoint based on the experiences that we have, so that’s not unreasonable.”

And although the Steelers coach would not go into the details surrounding the breakdown in the relationship with Brown, he did reiterate a point he has made in the past when discussing team personnel – a desire for players who want to be in Pittsburgh.

“I don’t have a lot of the intimate details about his [AB] wants and desires. Probably not fair for me to express that. I know he has expressed that. I have just taken the position that we have from an organizational standpoint. I have been really consistent with it. I was consistent with it addressing it at the end of the year. We can’t do this with hostages. We need volunteers. And we need players, good guys who want to be here. If guys can’t check those boxes, it’s probably best for all parties involved that we go our separate ways.

“That is the only thing appropriate to be said about that circumstance and Le’Veon Bell’s circumstances. I think it’s been highly chronicled and too chronicled. I think some things have been said that may or may not be true. All I know is neither one of those guys are members of our team anymore, so I understand that. I understand what that means. We focus our energy on those who are and their readiness and preparation.

“I think that relationships run their course and the fact that neither one of them are here speaks to that. But I’ll also say we’ve got good players on our team, and no disrespect to those guys or what they’ve been able to do over the course of their careers, particularly in Pittsburgh, but we had a Pro Bowl wideout on our team who’s still on our team from last year. We had a Pro Bowl running back last year who was on our team who’s still on our team. So we’ve got good players, we’ve got good quality players specifically at those positions. Will we need additional plays from other people, certainly, but you have that discussion and make those statements year-in and year-out, and we do.”

Tomlin would go on to speak at length about his hopes for JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington in 2019, as well as the team’s plans for the vacant spot at right tackle. A job that will seemingly go to the winner of an open battle between Matt Filer, Chukwuma Okorafor and Jerald Hawkins, judging from his remarks.

A transcript of his interview can be found here, with some additional remarks about the changes to the coaching staff and the recent free agent signings broadcast in a sit down interview with Missi Matthews that can be viewed here.

AAF Week 7 Review: Shaquille Richardson and Steven Johnson among standout performers for Arizona

We take a look back at the seventh week of action from the Alliance of American Football and check in with some former members of the Black and Gold.

While the Orlando Apollos became the first AAF team to earn a playoff berth this season on Saturday, recording their sixth win of the year with a 36-6 victory over the Atlanta Legends, it was the limited snaps that Johnny Manziel saw at quarterback for the Memphis Express on Sunday night that drew most of the media’s attention.

But the real hero on the day for Memphis under center was Brandon Silvers, finishing the day with 24 completions for 266 yards, two touchdowns and two 2-point conversation in an overtime win at home against the Birmingham Iron.

Week 7 results:

Orlando Apollos 36 @ Atlanta Legends 6

Salt Lake Stallions 15 @ San Antonio Commanders 19

San Diego Fleet 15 @ Arizona Hotshots 32

Birmingham Iron 25 @ Memphis Express 31 (OT)

Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Terrence Garvin was once again one of the standout performers for the playoff bound Apollos, recording five solo tackles and a forced fumble, while tight end Scott Orndoff was held to just one reception in the game.

The Iron lost their third game of the season in heartbreaking fashion to Memphis, and it was a quiet day from many of the former Steelers on Birmingham’s roster. L’Damian Washington was targeted just once all game long, after recording 158 yards from 10 receptions and score two touchdowns the week before, and Casey Sayles would finish the game with only one tackle.

Former Pittsburgh running backs Terrell Watson of the San Diego Fleet and Trey Williams of the San Antonio Commanders had varying levels of success over the weekend. Watson would manage 44 yards from his 10 attempts and also score a touchdown, but Williams would end the game with just 19 yards from his six carries.

Shaquille Richardson and Steven Johnson of the Arizona Hotshots were arguably the most impressive former members of the Black and Gold in Week 7. Richardson lead his team in tackles with eight and also recorded an interception and a forced fumble, while Johnson added seven tackles of his own and also had an interception.

Week 7 Highlights:

Orlando Apollos 36 @ Atlanta Legends 6

Salt Lake Stallions 15 @ San Antonio Commanders 19

San Diego Fleet 15 @ Arizona Hotshots 32

Birmingham Iron 25 @ Memphis Express 31 (OT)

Report: Steelers expected to host Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. on pre-draft visit

The Steelers also reportedly met with Akron linebacker Ulysees Gilbert at his pro day last week.

While there are still several notable school who have yet to host their pro day events this offseason, reports of players the Pittsburgh Steelers intend hosting on pre-draft vists over the coming weeks are already starting to emerge.

As per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. is the latest prospect the Steelers are rumored to be meeting with this year, a former cornerback with impressive speed who appears on the rise with the mock draft experts as of late.

Projecting as more of a traditional free safety rather than someone who would play closer to the line scrimmage, perhaps the biggest criticism of Savage from the scouting reports is his inconsistent tackling. However, his speed on tape is clear for all to see and his 40-time at the NFL Scouting Combine merely confirmed what many already knew.

As a former corner, his coverage skills are considered to be a notch above many of the other players available at his position in the draft this year, and his production at Maryland would seem to suggest he might be more of a playmaker than many of the other options Pittsburgh currently has on the roster.

At just 5-foot-10 and 198-pounds, some will consider him slight undersized for safety in the NFL, but career stats of 182 tackles, 8 interceptions and 13 pass defended in four years at Maryland are hard to overlook.

With his pro day due to be held on Wednesday March 27, it will be interesting to note who attends on behalf of the Steelers to get a closer look at him.

Expected to be a Day 2 selection who could slip into Round 4, Savage could be an interesting selection for Pittsburgh if he was still available to them towards the end of the third-round.

In our efforts to keep track of all the Steelers pre-draft interests, it would appear we missed a reported encounter between the team and Akron linebacker Ulysees Gilbert at his pro day last Thursday.

As per Zach Hicks of our sister publication Stampede Blue who spoke with the player last week, the young prospect met with a Pittsburgh scout after his pro day event.

According to Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst, Gilbert put up some impressive numbers in front of the scouts and has him projected as late round draft selection.

“Ulysees “Don’t call me Grant” Gilbert, graded as a street free agent entering the season, put on an athletic display during testing.”

“Measuring 6002 and 224 pounds, Grant completed 20 reps on the bench press and touched 39.5 inches in the vertical jump and 10-foot-6 in the broad jump.”

“His ran super fast in the 40, as both of his times were clocked under 4.5 seconds on most watches, including a best of 4.46 seconds. His three-cone came in at 6.94 seconds.”

“Grant, who stood out during three days of Shrine Game practice, looked fast in position drills and spent time with the Baltimore Ravens during the day.”

“I stamped him as a potential seventh-round pick last June during my preview of Akron, and I think that’s where Grant ends up in the draft.”

The pro day schedule for Monday should see the Steelers with representative at Iowa, North Carolina and Texas Tech among others.