PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Responding to a line from the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin says his team’s job is to win, despite shortcomings. “Bloody but unbowed” exemplifies the true definition of grit and determination it takes to be successful.
Tomlin’s best — and most challenging — coaching job is taking place this season due to the unforeseen circumstances with injuries during the 2019 season. The Steelers have, “smiled in the face of adversity” and currently have a 7-5 record to show for their efforts. “Football is our game, but our job is to win,” Tomlin said. “Regardless of circumstance, we have a job to do. We openly talk about that and go to work.”
Starting center Maurkice Pouncey is back following a 2-game suspension which will help the offense as he prepares to re-gain his role as anchor of the offensive line. However, the team hasn’t skipped a beat, winning both games (Bengals and Browns) while he was away. Starting QB Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season and despite the quarterback carousel with Mason Rudolph and Devlin “Duck” Hodges, injuries to RB James Conner and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster plus starting defensive end Stephon Tuitt, the Steelers are persevering.
The Steelers head into Arizona to face the Cardinals (3-8-1) who have struggled to stack wins. In his weekly press conference, Coach Tomlin acknowledged the elusiveness of quarterback Kyler Murphy which could be a test for his edge rushers despite their current record, “We’ve got our work cut out for us.” When it comes to the Cardinals’ rookie star Tomlin said, “He’s got some impressive tape under adverse circumstances. He has done an awesome job of preserving and protecting the ball, a really unique thing in a young quarterback.”
No matter the outcome of Sunday’s matchup in the desert, Tomlin deserves the credit for keeping his players and coaching staff on task as December football is where teams separate themselves from the pack, especially when the postseason is well within reach.