Mike Tomlin heard the criticism about Steelers practices from wide receiver Chase Claypool, and he does not care.
On Monday, Claypool was asked what the Steelers — who have gone 0-2-1 in the past three weeks to drop to last place in the AFC North at 5-5-1 — could do to have more fruitful practices.
“I think maybe some music would help,” Claypool said. “We have music in warmups. That’s always fun. People are dancing and having fun. Maybe music would make practice a little more fun and up-tempo. That’s my one suggestion but Coach T has been doing this a lot longer than I have.”
It wasn’t exactly a blistering screed, but Tomlin wasn’t really trying to hear it.
“Claypool plays wideout and I’ll let him do that,” Tomlin told reporters Tuesday. “I’ll formulate the practice approach, and that division of labor is probably appropriate.”
Claypool is not the first player to wish coaches would play music at practice. In 2019, Green Bay Packers pass rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith imported the idea from their former teams of pumping in music during practice, and new coach Matt LaFleur agreed to it.
It was an upgrade not just to silence, but to music played the previous season by former Packers coach Mike McCarthy that cornerback Jaire Alexander compared to the “Madden” soundtrack and thought was boring.
“This ain’t gonna get nobody hyped. What are they doing?” Alexander said. “I was like, ‘Bro, if you was here last year, you would be very grateful for the s–t they play now.’”
The anecdote was presented as a metaphor for how LaFleur’s flexibility with player requests improved morale. Tomlin, at least in this instance, is not operating under the same strategy.