PHOENIX — Here are a couple highlights from Mike Tomlin’s media session at the NFL’s Annual Meeting on Tuesday at the Arizona Biltmore.
1) You are a young coach but you’ve been doing this for a long time. What do you do to keep things fresh? How important is change to be a good coach?
I think that each year stands on its own. Some years I say similar things that I said the year before. I try to give our team what I deem appropriate and what I believe they need for preparation and ultimately play. One of the things I have realized over the years, you probably get tired of saying it before they get tired of hearing it [laughs]. I don’t worry too much about keeping it fresh from that perspective. If it’s good, it works.
2) Dri Archer last year and this year
I am excited about what 2015 could be for him. It’s his second lap around the track. You guys know my mentality in regards to that. I have a reasonable expectation that he’s going to grow in all areas and be a productive player for us. Guys like him usually do that. He is a good guy. He is a smart guy. He is hard working. He has all the variables that usually produce a positive outcome. We are going to give him an opportunity to do it.
3) Why do you go to pro days?
I think you get what you don’t see on tape. You get to smell it and feel it and be around it. You get to see them in their environment. You get to gather formal and informal information about who and what they are. What you see on tape is very tangible, their pedigree and capabilities. But when you step on campus you get an opportunity to go beyond that and maybe delve into what they are willing to do and how they deal with certain situations, opportunities or challenges. And I just think it better puts you in position to build a complete portfolio on each and every man.
4) How do you balance off-field issues/character with on-field talent in evaluating players?
We deal with it on a case-by-case basis and we try to gather as much information as we can and we make a decision accordingly. Obviously there are tipping points and things of that nature, protocols. But more than anything it’s about gathering information and getting a feel for that individual person.
5) Steve McLendon’s play last season
I was really pleased with his growth and development over the last 12 months particularly during the season. It was a difficult season for him because he faced some injury adversity, but I think that’s an opportunity for growth. I think he displayed that growth in terms of how he dealt with the discomfort associated with injuries and how he was able to push through and be what it is we needed him to be in the midst of those things.
And, as always, check out the Kaboly Show from the Arizona Biltmore Hotel