Mike Tomlin is disappointed that his team will not be taking the field this weekend in a matchup of undefeated teams against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, but that doesn’t mean that he’s critical of that decision or of any that may follow from the NFL regarding his too-be-rescheduled game.
“There’s disappointment, no question,” Tomlin said. “We’ve worked extremely hard at the beginning portion of this week in preparation for what we thought was an opportunity against an undefeated team in their venue. You lean in on those opportunities. We’re not getting the opportunity to do that. Instead, we are getting a bye week. We’re going to make the best of that.”
Tomlin said that he was not consulted in the decision-making process on Wednesday and that he declined to opine on the decision on Thursday.
“My opinion does not matter,” he said. “We take marching orders from the National Football League. We understand that they’re acting in our collective best interest. I have a great deal of comfort in that.”
As for what happens next, Tomlin said there have been some hypothetical discussions, but nothing that he was comfortable sharing as far as when and where the Steelers and Titans will meet and how it will fit into the schedules.
“I’m a tangible guy. The next tangible thing for us is the Philadelphia Eagles. That’s where my attentions are transitioning toward. I’ll let the people that handle that business focus on that.”
Tomlin did have his team practice on Thursday after the announcement and said they worked on individual skills.
“We are trying to get better every day, and that is our approach to business. Every day we take the field, we have areas of improvement whether it is skill development, whether it is an understanding of the game relative to the game or just collective cohesion. We talk openly about that. We had an opportunity to get better today.”
The Steelers will instead start their bye week on Friday, with four consecutive days off before beginning their work week in preparations for their Week 5 game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Heinz Field on Oct. 11.
But it won’t be a usual off week for the Steelers, who will have to stay local so that they can continue to be tested daily for COVID-19. Wide receiver Chase Claypool said the team is having its rookie dinner this weekend instead, where the team’s youngest players are typically expected to pick up the tab for an exorbitant meal.
A rookie dinner instead of a game this weekend?? Yeah @Titans ima need a reimbursement from y’all.. 😪
— Chase Claypool (@ChaseClaypool) October 1, 2020
The team should get well rested, as the early bye week could give them 13 games in 13 weeks to close the 2020 regular season.
But Tomlin doesn’t seem to be upset at that prospect, either. When asked about it on Thursday, he simply said, “We do not care.”