Steelers' Mike Tomlin Responds to Chase Claypool's Suggested Practice Tweaks

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IINovember 30, 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin watches as his team plays against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Cincinnati. The Bengals won 41-10. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)
AP Photo/Jeff Dean

The 5-5-1 Pittsburgh Steelers are winless in their past three games, and wideout Chase Claypool had an idea for head coach Mike Tomlin to spice up practice and perhaps provide positive vibes.

"I think some music would help," Claypool said Monday, per ESPN's Brooke Pryor.

"We had music in the warm-ups and that stuff is fun. People are dancing, having fun, so I think maybe music would make practice a little more fun and a little more up-tempo, that's my one suggestion but Coach T has been doing this a lot longer than I have."

In response to that idea, Tomlin provided a very polite but blunt shutdown Tuesday.

"Claypool plays wideout, and I'll let him do that," Tomlin said, per Pryor. "I'll formulate the practice approach. And I think that division of labor is probably appropriate."

Changes must happen for the Steelers, who have slogged their way to a .500 record through 11 games. Opponents have outscored Pittsburgh by 43 points this season, capped by the Cincinnati Bengals' 41-10 win Sunday.

The winless Detroit Lions even tied with the Steelers 16-16 in Pittsburgh, marking the only non-loss on the 0-10-1 team's ledger.

It appears changes are en route, per Tomlin, although playing music at practice won't be one of them.

"We just stunk the place up," Tomlin said, per Pryor. "When you play the way that we played and the score is as lopsided as it is, that's just the reality of it.

"... What you can't do is continue to do the things that you've been doing and expect a different result. We're open to some schematic changes. We're open to some personnel changes, obviously. They won't be drastic in nature, probably more subtle in nature, but hopefully significant. Significant in a positive way."

The schedule doesn't ease up for Pittsburgh, who must face the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens twice. The Steelers will also play the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans and AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs.

The good news is the Steelers are still alive in the playoff race, with the team just one half-game behind the final AFC wild card spot. There's still time for any changes Tomlin implements to take hold and lead this team back to stacking wins.

For now, the Steelers will go through a week of music-less practices before hosting the Ravens on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.