An Open Discussion on Mike Tomlin
SteelThePain82
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 1,726
Joined: Apr 2017
#1
05-21-2017, 07:43 AM

We've covered the paradox, so now I'd like to see if we can tackle some of the tough questions and topics that rarely (if ever) get discussed by the mainstream sports media.

I would like to reiterate that this is not a Witch Hunt but an open discussion.

And no cheap shots.

[Image: 18527678_10158832249170599_7219143943397...e=59BC7CD9]

The end goal is that we avoid punches below the belt and keep the back-and-forth civil.

[Image: credit-movie-pilot.jpg] 

... and who knows, maybe we can get everyone involved without any "self-bannings"





So without further ado, I'm going to pose a series of questions, queries, and conundrums to work off of.
To keep things simple, I'll number them so that db doesn't have to copy my entire post in order to respond  Laugh Pi_wink1  

1.) Mike Tomlin's winning record speaks for itself but there is a question that comes into play when you look at his record vs teams of sub .500 records.
Why do we always find ourselves playing down to "scrubs" if you will?  Is it an issue of preparation?  Are we, perhaps, not taking these opponents seriously?  Bad luck? I think not.
It's those very losses to sub .500 teams that keep us out of home field advantage and sometimes the playoffs altogether.  So what's your take?

2.) Every single year we get told by the media that our Steelers have the best offense in all of football.  When you look at our roster, it's hard to argue with them.  
But for an offense so utterly loaded with talent, there's a lot of questions around execution (especially in the redzone).  
How many games have we watched where our boys march the ball all the way down the field and then the drive fizzles out inside the 20 and we settle for another lousy field goal?  It can be infuriating.  
This also hurts us, as it forces guys like Le'Veon Bell to stay in much longer and in more games burning the tread off of his tires when we could be resting him for the more important games (particularly in the post-season).  
Redzone execution on offense is most often attributed to the coaching staff.  So what is the source of the problem?  Tomlin? Haley? I'm not saying that the players don't shoulder their share of the blame, but flawless execution on offense comes with flawless preparation and practice.  At any rate, it'd be nice to see the best offense in the NFL play lights out.  What do you think?

3.)  While we're on the topic,  let's discuss personell management.
Nobody's denying Le'Veon Bell's prowess as an every down back, but when you have a guy like DeAngelo Williams at your disposal, why not USE HIM when Bell's healthy too?!
Whether it's Bell, AB, or Big Ben, there's an argument to be made that we leave them in TOO long in games where we should be letting our depth chart ice defenses to close out games for us.
So now we've gone out of our way to draft James Conner (probably a couple of rounds higher than he needed to go) and added Knile Davis in the offseason with DeAngelo still sitting there for the taking .
So it would appear that they've prepared to allow for such substitutions, but will they?

4.)  Is Mike Tomlin growing as a Head Coach or is he stubbornly repeating the same mistakes?
This isn't a facetious question.
We came from a play-it-safe Marty Schottenheimer mentored guy in Bill Cowher to Mike Tomlin.
In contrast, Tomlin carries a calmer demeanor but has shown more willingness to roll the dice and pull the trigger than Cowher did.  Sometimes this benefits him, other times it comes back to bite him (coach's challenges being one of them).
I think that the biggest knock against Mike Tomlin is the apparent stubborness to stick to a failed gameplan and refuse to make half-time adjustments (i.e. continuing to play zone coverage whilest getting slaughtered by Brady and company in the AFCC game).
Farbeit for me to deny the possibility that Tomlin can improve on these things, but it's food for thought in this discussion for the meantime.

5.)  Is the "Next Man Up" mentality dead?
I saw where Tim made that argument that Belichick is NOTHING without Brady, but last season we witnessed Belichick win with a 3rd string QB because he's put together a strong system and develops talent well.
Can we say the same for Mike Tomlin and company?
At first glance, they've done an outstanding job with finding talent at WR and developing it.  The offensive and Defensive lines have also done well.
The 2 biggest glaring detractors seem to lay within the defensive secondary and the outside linebacking core.
I've been screaming my head off for them to take a CB in the 1st round for years and they finally did with Artie Burns which looks to have paid off.
Add in Sean Davis in the second round and the future is finally starting to look bright.
But before they came along, how many failed projects did we go through?
For a head coach who was formerly defensive coordinator and a DB coach before that, one might expect more development in that position than at WR.
As for the Linebacking squad, Vince Williams may be the last example of a "Next Man Up" but the jury is out on whether or not he'll be a success.
At OLB we've spent 3 1st round picks on them in recent years.  One was a total bust and the jury is still out on the other 2.
We desperately NEED Bud Dupree to break out this year and for T.J. Watt to live up to the hype so that we can have a starting duo at OLB that doesn't demand James Harrison to play into his 50's.
Now I'm not trying to say that Tomlin shoulders all of the blame for this, but at what point do you question Joey Porter and Carnell Lake's ability to develop talent?

6.)  Are the inmates running the asylum?
The question of discipline and distraction comes up frequently among the anti-Tomlin group.
When you see even the assistant coaches getting arrested off the field, it's not hard to see why.  The team's growing affinity for canibis and stupidity on social media don't help either.
I hate to keep beating the dead horse, but when was the last time you can remember a Patriot's player getting into trouble for smoking pot or running their mouth on social media?
Can't think of any?  I'll let you in on a little secret about Darth Hoodie:
He still has ties to Cleveland.  Know all of those high round draft picks that they get, year in and year out?  A good many of them end up getting traded to the Patriots years later for guys that Darth Hoodie doesn't feel like fits his system any longer.
Wanna keep your players in line?  Take a page from Belichick:  "Fall in line or I'll trade your ass to Cleveland!"

This last draft was ALL about character.   "Hearts and smarts" as Tomlin and company like to call it.  Reuben Foster was sitting there for the taking (a top 10 talent at the 30 pick) but we passed on the potential character issues for T.J. Watt and then continued to draft guys of high intelligence and character.
I'm not saying that I'm displeased in any way, but do we have to draft higher character guys because our coaching staff can't keep the team in line?

7.)  In honor of Lakelander's favorite Steeler we'll round this out on Big Ben's jersey number.
Does Mike Tomlin amplify Big Ben's abilities as a franchise QB or does Big Ben bail out Mike Tomlin?
Are the Steelers successful because of Mike Tomlin or in spite of him?
I think the truth lies somewhere in between but I leave you with that question to discuss.
While we're at it, what positives can we take away from Mike Tomlin heading into next season? (end it on a positive note)

So those are my topics.  Please join the discussion!  I look forward to facts and opinions both supporting and opposing my own!  So don't be stick in the mud, chime in!!
(This post was last modified: 05-21-2017, 08:19 AM by SteelThePain82.)
Reply
dbsfgyd1
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 14,794
Joined: Apr 2017
#2
05-21-2017, 08:25 AM

And no cheap shots.

Well, that leave me out....
Reply
dbsfgyd1
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 14,794
Joined: Apr 2017
#3
05-21-2017, 08:42 AM

(05-21-2017, 07:43 AM)SteelThePain82 Wrote: 1.) Mike Tomlin's winning record speaks for itself but there is a question that comes into play when you look at his record vs teams of sub .500 records.
Why do we always find ourselves playing down to "scrubs" if you will?  Is it an issue of preparation?  Are we, perhaps, not taking these opponents seriously?  Bad luck? I think not.
It's those very losses to sub .500 teams that keep us out of home field advantage and sometimes the playoffs altogether.  So what's your take?

I lied. Seriously, I think I'd like to take these on in individual posts.

This is a tough question because as a team's aggregate talent rises and falls through the course of the season due to injuries, coaching decisions, weather, illness, wind, and just plain old bad luck. What may have been a team with one win at the time, might end up in the playoffs. Classic example was the first Miami game last year. They were what 0-4 when we played them. At the time, they were a team with a less than .001 record and of course, the pitchforks were out when we lost. Unbeknownst to most, Miami had a boatload of injuries, including two highly rated offensive linemen that showed up to play us in their first action of the year. Obviously, that was not the same Miami team that was 0-4 at that point. What we ran into was a playoff contender fighting for their season against our defense that was still trying to figure it out, and a battered QB. 

Every coach we've had in Pittsburgh that I can remember ( and we're going back to Buddy Parker here) has dropped a few they should have won, so no, I don't think this is exclusive to Tomlin. All I know, is doesn't matter who the coach is, I get really torqued off when it happens.
Reply
dbsfgyd1
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 14,794
Joined: Apr 2017
#4
05-21-2017, 09:03 AM

(05-21-2017, 07:43 AM)SteelThePain82 Wrote: 2.) Every single year we get told by the media that our Steelers have the best offense in all of football.  When you look at our roster, it's hard to argue with them.  
But for an offense so utterly loaded with talent, there's a lot of questions around execution (especially in the redzone).  
How many games have we watched where our boys march the ball all the way down the field and then the drive fizzles out inside the 20 and we settle for another lousy field goal?  It can be infuriating.  
This also hurts us, as it forces guys like Le'Veon Bell to stay in much longer and in more games burning the tread off of his tires when we could be resting him for the more important games (particularly in the post-season).  
Redzone execution on offense is most often attributed to the coaching staff.  So what is the source of the problem?  Tomlin? Haley? I'm not saying that the players don't shoulder their share of the blame, but flawless execution on offense comes with flawless preparation and practice.  At any rate, it'd be nice to see the best offense in the NFL play lights out.  What do you think? 

I have no hard facts here other than to agree with the basic premise. For years, our redzone efficiency has been atrocious. I'm going out on a limb here and have a few words about our offensive line.

 First off, I love our offensive line. One of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Tops in pass protection, and NOBODY runs the counter better. That said, these guys are not maulers. When they are on a short field, they are not about to root out a DL dug in, which is why, with the exception of an occasional outside run, when we are between the 10 and the two, we can pack in our run game because it is going nowhere. Consequently, since we can't run efficiently, it allows extra defenders in pass coverage, hence lousy redzone efficiency. It has been better since "7 Shots" started, but nowhere near where it should be.

Oh, we can get down the field with the best of them, but if you aren't puting up 7's consistently, agreed, it's a problem. Is it Haley, or the players I can't tell as that's a chicken and egg discussion. I'm leaning towards not having the tools ( players) to get the job done. I will say this, it was no better with Arians, Malarkey, Wizenhunt, and on and on and on....
Reply
dbsfgyd1
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 14,794
Joined: Apr 2017
#5
05-21-2017, 09:23 AM

(05-21-2017, 07:43 AM)SteelThePain82 Wrote: 3.)  While we're on the topic,  let's discuss personell management.
Nobody's denying Le'Veon Bell's prowess as an every down back, but when you have a guy like DeAngelo Williams at your disposal, why not USE HIM when Bell's healthy too?!
Whether it's Bell, AB, or Big Ben, there's an argument to be made that we leave them in TOO long in games where we should be letting our depth chart ice defenses to close out games for us.
So now we've gone out of our way to draft James Conner (probably a couple of rounds higher than he needed to go) and added Knile Davis in the offseason with DeAngelo still sitting there for the taking .
So it would appear that they've prepared to allow for such substitutions, but will they?

So I'm copying and pasting anyway... Roll 

In general I'm kind of in agreement with the need to give players as much rest as they can get throughout the season. We did have a few games where absolutely, the players you mentioned should have been given the golden chair. That said, when you do that, the questions arise. With a defense as leaky as ours was, how do you know when to sit guys down, knowing once they do, it is extremely difficult to be as effective after a long period of inactivity going back in to deal with a crisis..

 Looking back at our 2016 schedule, there weren't too many games where I could honestly say it's in the bag. A for  D-Wil was not up to scratch last year. He was a spent cartridge in 2015. We brought him back because there was nobody else better. And he eventually broke down. So we'd be damned if we sub him more liberally, and would have damned if he was not available for the Pats game. Frankly, he wasn't worth much anyway

One final thought about fatigue, and injury. The average NFL starter is only engaged in a play, meaning from the time the ball is snapped to the time the whistle blows on the average of about 4 seconds. (If you don't believe me, get your stop watch out.) He's going to play 30 snaps a game. Which means he is in the actual act of play, not including running in from the bench, or to the huddle, about 2 minutes a game. My question is, do you honestly think saving a player from say 15 seconds of play is going to significantly save wear and tear?
Reply
dbsfgyd1
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 14,794
Joined: Apr 2017
#6
05-21-2017, 09:49 AM

(05-21-2017, 07:43 AM)SteelThePain82 Wrote: 4.)  Is Mike Tomlin growing as a Head Coach or is he stubbornly repeating the same mistakes?
This isn't a facetious question.
We came from a play-it-safe Marty Schottenheimer mentored guy in Bill Cowher to Mike Tomlin.
In contrast, Tomlin carries a calmer demeanor but has shown more willingness to roll the dice and pull the trigger than Cowher did.  Sometimes this benefits him, other times it comes back to bite him (coach's challenges being one of them).
I think that the biggest knock against Mike Tomlin is the apparent stubborness to stick to a failed gameplan and refuse to make half-time adjustments (i.e. continuing to play zone coverage whilest getting slaughtered by Brady and company in the AFCC game).
Farbeit for me to deny the possibility that Tomlin can improve on these things, but it's food for thought in this discussion for the meantime.

I certainly agree for the need for improvement. If your only criteria for judgment is beating the Patriots, which it appears to be, then this discussion is over. Now if you look at the total package honestly and objectively, considering all of the functions of the of his job, including those off of the field, absolutely, no doubt about it..

Since you brought up the Patriots game. How in heck with that defense did we even get to the AFCCG in the first place? Have you ever thought of that? There were all sorts of issues with that game. One the offense didn't show up until garbage time. You had 3 rookies starting against the best offense in the history of the NFL, minus you best defensive lineman, and not to mention a fading LB and corner. And just asking, who were you going to get to play man anyway?? Ali Shabazz?

As I''ve said over an over again, if you want to beat the Pats, you need to keep Brady and company on the bench while scoring touchdowns, and on defense, you need to crash the pocket with interior defensive line pressure. In essence, you put up 21 points in the 1st quarter, and it will be a different game.

In summation, until we get a big ugly or two on the DL, and beef up our OL, the Pats are going to continue to be a tough match-up. IMO, it's more of a personnel issue that coaching.

 Like they say in the music business, you can have the most beautiful piece of music ever written, but if the violinist is flat, it isn't going to be pleasurable. Is that really the conductor's fault?
Reply
dbsfgyd1
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 14,794
Joined: Apr 2017
#7
05-21-2017, 10:04 AM

(05-21-2017, 07:43 AM)SteelThePain82 Wrote: 5.)  Is the "Next Man Up" mentality dead?
I saw where Tim made that argument that Belichick is NOTHING without Brady, but last season we witnessed Belichick win with a 3rd string QB because he's put together a strong system and develops talent well.
Can we say the same for Mike Tomlin and company?
At first glance, they've done an outstanding job with finding talent at WR and developing it.  The offensive and Defensive lines have also done well.
The 2 biggest glaring detractors seem to lay within the defensive secondary and the outside linebacking core.
I've been screaming my head off for them to take a CB in the 1st round for years and they finally did with Artie Burns which looks to have paid off.
Add in Sean Davis in the second round and the future is finally starting to look bright.
But before they came along, how many failed projects did we go through?
For a head coach who was formerly defensive coordinator and a DB coach before that, one might expect more development in that position than at WR.
As for the Linebacking squad, Vince Williams may be the last example of a "Next Man Up" but the jury is out on whether or not he'll be a success.
At OLB we've spent 3 1st round picks on them in recent years.  One was a total bust and the jury is still out on the other 2.
We desperately NEED Bud Dupree to break out this year and for T.J. Watt to live up to the hype so that we can have a starting duo at OLB that doesn't demand James Harrison to play into his 50's.
Now I'm not trying to say that Tomlin shoulders all of the blame for this, but at what point do you question Joey Porter and Carnell Lake's ability to develop talent?

Are we developing Hall of Famers? Not lately, if that is what you are asking. If you are trying to dump on our drafts, look up our roster from 2012, and compare what we had to what we have now. 

I hear you about Jones, and when I saw his sack compilation, I went, "you've got to be kidding me, along with a few other words. Other than him, those have been some pretty solid drafts.

And those picks have developed rather nicely. Even guys that weren't drafted like Big Al, somebody is developing him. As for draft picks, how about Finney? He's a budding star. Or Burns? Pretty quick turn around there. Davis? Cockrell was a career scrubeanie. Who is developing them Bell? All I'm saying is, when you compare the 2012 roster to today's, there are a lot of new players that were certainly not as good when they came out of college which tell us two things. The drafts were not that bad, and somebody is doing one hell of a job developing them.

Frankly, you premise does not hold water, unless you want a team only manned by linebackers and cornerbacks.
Reply
dbsfgyd1
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 14,794
Joined: Apr 2017
#8
05-21-2017, 10:20 AM

(05-21-2017, 07:43 AM)SteelThePain82 Wrote: 6.)  Are the inmates running the asylum?
The question of discipline and distraction comes up frequently among the anti-Tomlin group.
When you see even the assistant coaches getting arrested off the field, it's not hard to see why.  The team's growing affinity for canibis and stupidity on social media don't help either.
I hate to keep beating the dead horse, but when was the last time you can remember a Patriot's player getting into trouble for smoking pot or running their mouth on social media?
Can't think of any?  I'll let you in on a little secret about Darth Hoodie:
He still has ties to Cleveland.  Know all of those high round draft picks that they get, year in and year out?  A good many of them end up getting traded to the Patriots years later for guys that Darth Hoodie doesn't feel like fits his system any longer.
Wanna keep your players in line?  Take a page from Belichick:  "Fall in line or I'll trade your ass to Cleveland!"

This last draft was ALL about character.   "Hearts and smarts" as Tomlin and company like to call it.  Reuben Foster was sitting there for the taking (a top 10 talent at the 30 pick) but we passed on the potential character issues for T.J. Watt and then continued to draft guys of high intelligence and character.
I'm not saying that I'm displeased in any way, but do we have to draft higher character guys because our coaching staff can't keep the team in line?

I don't know about the inmates running the asylum. What I do know is the NFL is not made up of choirboys. If that is the expectation, you may want to look elsewhere. Since there is an obsession with "the Hoodie", Belichek has employed a boatload of thugs and drug users etc, over the years, as long as they can play his system. The only time he will pull the plug is if there is a better player or a  better value out there. And if there is, you're gone. Anything else is pure speculation.

True there is a major gag order on them (cone of secrecy) in Foxboro. I don't know about you, I'm not so sure having my constitutional rights violated as a condition of my employment a cool thing. Which is something that the Rooney's would find abhorrent.

 Tomlin treats his players like men, not inmates. And sometimes you can get a black eye from it. As for pot usage, I hate to break it to you, the 70's dynasty crew..., well it was the 60's and the 70's and I'll let it go at that.
Reply
dbsfgyd1
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 14,794
Joined: Apr 2017
#9
05-21-2017, 10:40 AM

(05-21-2017, 07:43 AM)SteelThePain82 Wrote: 7.)  In honor of Lakelander's favorite Steeler we'll round this out on Big Ben's jersey number.
Does Mike Tomlin amplify Big Ben's abilities as a franchise QB or does Big Ben bail out Mike Tomlin?
Are the Steelers successful because of Mike Tomlin or in spite of him?
I think the truth lies somewhere in between but I leave you with that question to discuss.
While we're at it, what positives can we take away from Mike Tomlin heading into next season? (end it on a positive note)

To use another musical analogy, at the symphony, if the first violinist is playing a stunning Mozart piece, is anybody paying attention to the conductor and if he's doing his job? Honestly, in answer to your question, there is no way to tell for sure either way.

That said, the other 52 players on the squad are not direct reports to Ben, have been playing at a very high level, and have been improving each of the past 6 years, how does that happen? If Tomlin was that bad, would Ben be as good as he's been? Go back and re watch a few games from 2011-2012, then watch a couple from last year or 2015. Is it possible to get from where were were, to where we are now without somebody at the helm that really knows what he's doing?

As for Tomlin and 2017, he's got some babes that he's going to be depending on, and hopefully last years babes continue to develop. Getting Heyward back is huge. This is a championship contender, but there is a lot of ball to be played. We need to stay healthy, and if we do, I like our chances.

Before I sign off, this was a great exercise, and thank you for puting  these questions together. For the sake of everybody's sanity, I will not be responding to anyone's comment on my posts ( aaalright,stop the cheering) Roll
Reply
Crash
All Pro Veteran
****

Posts: 284
Joined: May 2017
#10
05-21-2017, 01:49 PM

This is going to be long, but you are going to see how Art Rooney II firing Arians so he can hire family friend Todd Haley relates to several of these questions:  

Answer to question 1.

Even before Tomlin took over, Ben Roethlisberger first with Ken Whisenhunt, and then Bruce Arians, since the Steelers drafted him regardless of the opponent, used to come out flying out of the gate. They would get scores early, by throwing, and then after getting a lead, THEN they would run the ball.  


The difference with Haley, is that HE believes they need to run early, and get to some magical 25 carry number early because Bill Parcells once told him, that was what was needed to win.  

So we do that, but at the same time, it takes away from what made us successful from 2004-11, they get behind, and then Ben and the offense is asked to play catch-up.  Sometimes they they do, and sometimes they don't.  

Another thing is Haley tends to get cute against bad teams.  The 2014 season I'll give you two examples: 1.  At Cleveland, the Steelers dominated that team in week one early by keeping things simple, spreading teams out, and keeping the subbing to a minimum.  The season's first 25 minutes they ran 25 plays. The number of combined snaps for backups Johnson, Palmer, Spaeth?  Three.

They scored 24 points.  

But in Cleveland later in the season Haley did the complete opposite.  Constant shuffling (They ran their first seven plays with seven different personnel groups), they ran the ball 21 times on their first 28 plays and fell behind 21-3.  By then the game was over.  

Jets 2014: Ben throws 12 TD passes in the previous two weeks, he's named NFL POW those two weeks.  MVP talk, etc.  So what happens when we go to New York? Where Haley used to work?

He didn't call a pass play longer than 7 yards in length until there were seven minutes to go in the first half against a defense who's corner backs had a combined six starts in their careers at that point.  The Steelers fell behind 17-0, and after that turnovers began to ruin any comeback chances.  Once again rather than do what was working (Just like against the Browns in week one prior to their rematch) Haley decides he has to show everyone how clever he is.

And they were humiliated. 

The Steelers had a winning record against bad teams from 2007-2011.

Then Ben was told by ownership to change how he plays, and You Know Who was hired against Tomlin's wishes.   And that all changed.  


Answer to question 2.

Once again, the OP mentions a valid point about the red zone.  And you know what hurts them?  

Once again trying to be cute.  

2013: At Baltimore:  Steelers are in the red zone.  Bell is injured on 2nd down so he's off the field the next play per NFL rule.  The Steelers are faced with 3rd and goal.  The biggest 3rd down of their season.

What does Haley do?

He takes Antonio Brown off the field as well, to run a play for fullback Will Johnson, who fails to execute his rout properly, and the Ravens stuff it.  

Here's the fun part, that was Will Johnson's LONE SNAP of the half.  That play forced them to use the play they wanted to use on the two point try, on 4th down because they wanted to at least get a chance to tie the game.  The 4th down play works, they run the same play on the two point try but Manny Sanders drops it.  

Season over.

2014 Jets: Again this game, also featured James Harrison at fullback (With Antonio Brown off the field again) running pass patterns in the red zone.  A duty he had never done before, even in practice.  The Steelers get zero points, they lose.

2015 at Denver: Not a red zone play, but a 4th and 3 play from the Denver 32:  Antonio Brown is out injured.  Haley calls another cute formation play, this one for Jesse James (Who caught ONE pass for three yards in the previous MONTH) lined up at fullback as the first option.  

But here's the kicker: Haley removed Martavis Bryant off the field for Markus Wheaton.

The Broncos weren't fooled, they covered James, Ben then went to Wheaton who was giving up size to Denver corner Aquib Talib (Where as Bryant wouldn't have), the pass is broken up, we lose.  Season over.   

2017 AFC title game: Steelers have the ball in the red zone at the end of the 1st half.  Haley brings in his cute trickery of Chris Hubbard at tight end. 

Those who've read me last year on message boards and Twitter know how much I despise this formation.  

1st down Hubbard Formation? DeAngelo stuffed.

2nd down Hubbard Formation? DeAngelo stuffed.

3rd down shotgun? A 2 yard pass short of the goal line to Eli.  Field goal.

Earlier this drive Haley also had #45 Nix and #82 Johnson on the field.  Which was the first time they were on the field together in the last two minutes of the first half ALL SEASON.  

Four games, four losses, four failures. One common theme:  

Todd Haley trying to be cute in the red zone.  Where as the previous two OC's before him just used their talent, and checked their ego's at the door.  

Answer to question 3.

In 2004 rookie OC Ken Whisenhunt had Duce Staley/Jerome Bettis as his one-two punch.

In 2007 1st year Steelers OC Bruce Arians has Willie Parker/Najeh Davenport as his one-two punch.  

Two coordinators, four different backs. But the plan was the same in 2004 and 2007:

The top running back, would be on the field for two series, then sit one for the backup to come in the game.  Each OC had their own 3rd down back. 

For Whiz it was Verron Haynes, for Arians it was Davenport to start, then when Parker got hurt Carey Davis took some of that load.  The plan was effective, the plan kept everyone involved.

But since Leveon Bell arrived, it could be Jim Brown in his prime on this team as the backup and it wouldn't matter.  Bell is going to be on the field.  

Until he gets hurt.  

Then Jim Brown is going to be on the field. 

Until he gets hurt.  

Then both backs will be out, then Haley's supporters make excuses for him when they play playoff games with street free agents and scrub third string running backs.  

For all of the shuffling Haley shouldn't do with wide receivers, backup fullbacks, and tight ends, he should be doing the same plan the previous OC's did with their running backs.  

Example, look at DeAngelo Williams' touches in 2015 when Bell was suspended, then look at his touches once Bell came back.  

They should have just sent DW home on game days.  Because the ONLY time you saw him when Bell was healthy was either to run some trick play that had BOTH Bell and DW lined up at receiver in an empty set, or the rare occasion that he saw any snaps with a game well in hand.

Haley's handling of Bell, is why IMO they should tag Bell twice, then send him on his way.  No way in hell do I give him a long term contract.  It just doesn't make sense from a financial standpoint.  Haley has been running him into the ground at a rapid pace to this point.  

One thing for sure though, since the Steelers drafted James Conner from PITT?  It's going to finally put Haley on blast from the same people who've defended his BS for five years if Conner is collecting dust on the sidelines because he's not playing.  I also feel the same about Bryant's return.  

The minute Haley doesn't use Bryant in the red zone so Chris Hubbard can play tight end? Haley will be called to task for that also.  

Going forward he should use Bell as #1, Conner as the #2, and Davis as the 3rd down back.  The same plan that both Whiz and Arians used. The same plan that put Super Bowl rings on both of their fingers.  

If he doesn't?  He deserves any and all criticism that he should get if fans are paying attention.

Answer to question 4.

I think Tomlin (Who I've supported) has lost some luster in the locker room when Art II went over Tomlin's head and fired Arians (Who Tomlin said he wanted back, told Arians he wanted him back, and told the fellow assistants he wanted him back) to hire Haley.  

What have we seen since?  We saw Haley's "chosen one"  to be the next Jerome Bettis, LeGarrette Blount quit on this team and then he called Bill Belechick an "Honest coach" a week after he returned to the Patriots.  Antonio Brown has defied Tomlin on numerous occasions, from jersey swapping on the field to not changing out of his custom cleats during games after the NFL dress code brass ordered him to do so, to his dust-up with Haley on the sidelines in Seattle that was so heated that Haley had to be restrained by Tomlin himself.  

Add to that Troy Polamalu's frustrations which he first revealed to Dejean Kovacevic after the 2014 Carolina game to Ben Roethlisberger's threats of retirement (Trust me, the talk was REAL long before Willie Colon said it was) partly because Tomlin won't keep players in line.  And last but not least we can include Maurkice Pouncey selling rap records minutes after the Denver 2011 playoff loss prior to Haley's hiring to his ill-advised "FREE HERNANDEZ" hat after it.  

Players know when their Head Coach is a puppet, a guy who's not his own boss. 

For all of Bill Cowher's warts players knew that when Tom Donahoe was fired after 1999 the ONLY man Cowher felt he needed to answer to was Dan Rooney.  Not Art II (Who Cowher didn't thank, nor shake his hand at team headquarters the day he quit), not Kevin Colbert, but only Dan himself.  

This is a big season for Tomlin.  Will he put his foot down and tell players when their act is getting old (Brown)? Will he tell coaches to stop the self promoting BS and just stick to good, sound, fundamental football by using the talent at their disposal (Haley)? And will he do that to earn the trust of this organization's most important player since the 1974 draft class (Roethlisberger)?

If he doesn't and things go south in a hurry?  I could see Tomlin being on the hot seat, a hot seat he's never really had to sit on during his first 10 seasons as the head coach of this football team.  Especially with Mr. Rooney's death and no one else around with the pull, nor the respect, to reign in Art II.  Dan Rooney was the conscience of the front office for over 50 years.  Now that he's gone this team is entering an era of Steelers football that many fans have dreaded facing for a long time.  Well, that time is here.      

There's four answers.  I'll answer the final three questions in a few days.  

Enjoy!
(This post was last modified: 05-22-2017, 05:51 PM by Crash.)
Reply
sandfan
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 2,176
Joined: Apr 2017
#11
05-22-2017, 12:34 PM

Tomlin's best asset is the number of W's he's generated. That's impressive but is that really impressive when he's had a HOF QB the entire time? My view is that it is not.

One can pick and choose any number of specific decisions or non decisions made during his tenure. In game, drafting, game prep, etc. All that swings way too broadly to say any one or many define his capabilities and contribution. My view is he's a mediocre tactical coach at best. Maybe not a"player's coach" either considering the incidents over the past few years. But that's just my view and not something that can be fully documented.

The rub for me is looking at his record vs Cowher's . One with a HOF Qb the entire time and the other with a bunch of Jags at that critical position except at the end. Comparing regular season and playoffs there's not much of a delta but if one exists it favors Cowher. That's the proof in my pudding. For me, Tomlin has and continues to under perform.

Unless he pulls out #7 and 8 before Ben hangs it up I'll continue to believe that. Yes, I mean two Lombardi's cause I believe it's time he grew a pair and beat Belicheat and Brady. Or he will be, in my view, an under performer overall even though the NFL establishment might think he's HOF worthy.
Reply
Crash
All Pro Veteran
****

Posts: 284
Joined: May 2017
#12
05-22-2017, 02:09 PM

Cowher made his own QB bed.  Cowher wanted the organization to match the O'Donnell offer sheet from Tampa.

Cowher was the driving force behind not one, but TWO Kordell Stewart contract extensions.  Remember, The front office extended Jim MIller's contract in 1996. But Cowher wanted Kordell, to the point that he sandbagged Miller in his lone 1996 start, then benched him.

Cowher also permitted, after his FIRST season as a starter, Kordell to be directly involved with selecting his next OC after Chan Gailey went to the Cowboys in 1998.  Ben's NEVER had that luxury.  The closest Ben came to that was when he and the other offensive captains (Miller, Pouncey) lobbied for QB Coach Randy Fichtner (Who I felt should have been named after that fire hurt Tomlin's first choice Kirby Wilson's chances to get it) to get the job.  

Cowher didn't even want Ben. Mr. Rooney got the war room back to Ben after Cowher's chosen one, Philip Rivers went to the Chargers.  Cowher was more than content to draft Shawn Andrews and play Maddox which would have allowed his arch nemesis Tom Donhaoe, to select Ben with the 12th pick for the Bills.  

Thank God for Mr. Rooney, because who knows where this team would be without Ben Roethlisberger on it the last 13 seasons.

There was nothing wrong with Tomlin's teams until Art II did his Jerry Jones routine and hired his buddy to run the offense.
(This post was last modified: 05-22-2017, 05:47 PM by Crash.)
Reply
SteelThePain82
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 1,726
Joined: Apr 2017
#13
05-22-2017, 03:57 PM

Wow, where to begin!  Pi_question_mark

First and foremost, thank you DB for your posts!  I can always count on you to chime in and give a good and thoughtful response to any given thread.

Crash - I gotta say, I'm very impressed with the insight!  Aces for presenting an intriguing angle that I never even considered looking into before!
Just excellent stuff and I'm REALLY looking forward to reading the second half of your response when you post it. Thumbsup

Sandfan - I agree, the time to win is now, and if they can keep Big Ben around another year with the level of talent that they've fielded, there's no reason that they couldn't bring home a pair of Lombardis to give him an appropriate sendoff.

Thanks again guys for chiming in!
Hopefully others will join the discussion!
That said, I'm gonna hit the hay, night all!
Reply
sandfan
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 2,176
Joined: Apr 2017
#14
05-22-2017, 08:23 PM

I'm not sure who favored or picked what QB since I don't operate withing the inner circle of the team. I just look at the overall records. Cowher 161-99-1 and Tomlin 103-57 in the regular season and Cowher 12-9 and Tomlin 8-6 in the playoffs.

One did it with QBs that were JAGs and the other has had Ben his entire career. If the quality of the QB does not make a difference why not look at Belicheat pre Brady with the Pats? I submit what Cowher did with his talent, regardless of who or why that talent was selected, is much more impressive than what Tomlin has achieved.

Now if Tomlin gets another couple of Lombardi's before Ben goes I'll change my view. Until then I feel he has under achieved.
Reply
dbsfgyd1
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 14,794
Joined: Apr 2017
#15
05-22-2017, 11:15 PM

(05-22-2017, 08:23 PM)sandfan Wrote: I'm not sure who favored or picked what QB since I don't operate withing the inner circle of the team. I just look at the overall records.  Cowher 161-99-1 and Tomlin 103-57 in the regular season and Cowher 12-9 and Tomlin 8-6 in the playoffs.  

One did it with QBs that were JAGs and the other has had Ben his entire career.  If the quality of the QB does not make a difference why not look at Belicheat pre Brady with the Pats?  I submit what Cowher did with his talent, regardless of who or why that talent was selected, is much more impressive than what Tomlin has achieved.

Now if Tomlin gets another couple of Lombardi's before Ben goes I'll change my view.  Until then I feel he has under achieved.

Sandfan,

You  raise a valid point here. While the W & Ls are about a horse a piece, it is true, Tomlin hasn't had to suffer the likes of Mike Tomzak, and Kordell Stewart ( although, I think he gets a bad rap.) Thumbsup

But to your point, I think what was more impact-full was the series of of absolutely lousy offensive coordinators Cowher, and Stewart for that matter, had after Gailey left. In addition, not to make more excuses, but there was a major rebuilding project going on at the time, and some serious sal-cap issues that caused a significant talent drain.

That said, I went back and looked a a ton of the of the 90's team videos ( thank you Tim immensely). When you talk about Tomlin's failures, lack of leadership, and let downs, that was a team that was LOADED on both sides of the ball. There was ZERO excuse for ZERO Super Bowls in that era. To me, that is failure that far exceeds any shortcomings Tomlin has, even with a franchise QB. JMO.
Reply
mcmillenandwife
Administrator
*******

Posts: 14,971
Joined: Jan 1970
#16
05-23-2017, 12:15 AM

(05-22-2017, 08:23 PM)sandfan Wrote: I'm not sure who favored or picked what QB since I don't operate withing the inner circle of the team. I just look at the overall records.  Cowher 161-99-1 and Tomlin 103-57 in the regular season and Cowher 12-9 and Tomlin 8-6 in the playoffs.  

One did it with QBs that were JAGs and the other has had Ben his entire career.  If the quality of the QB does not make a difference why not look at Belicheat pre Brady with the Pats?  I submit what Cowher did with his talent, regardless of who or why that talent was selected, is much more impressive than what Tomlin has achieved.

Now if Tomlin gets another couple of Lombardi's before Ben goes I'll change my view.  Until then I feel he has under achieved.

Interesting point. Hard to argue against it. One thing I would point out is that during the first half of Cowher's career, there was no AFC juggernaut. Year in, year out during the mid-'90s, the AFC was anybody's to win. There was no New England dominating the conference. Once Brady showed up in 2001, however, he did to Cowher exactly what he's done to Tomlin (and pretty much every other NFL coach, for that matter). Furthermore, there is no Tomlin equivalent to what went on from '98 - '00. I'm not questioning Cowher's greatness. I view him as a great coach and I valued him even more as the passionate "face" of the Steelers. But I also have a high opinion of Tomlin. 

I fully expect Tomlin to win at least one more Lombardi. If he doesn't, I will agree with you that he's underachieved. Barring injuries, I believe he has the team to do it this year. We'll see.
Reply
mcmillenandwife
Administrator
*******

Posts: 14,971
Joined: Jan 1970
#17
05-23-2017, 12:17 AM

(05-22-2017, 11:15 PM)dbsfgyd1 Wrote: That said, I went back and looked a a ton of the of the 90's team videos ( thank you Tim immensely). When you talk about Tomlin's failures, lack of leadership, and let downs, that was a team that was LOADED on both sides of the ball. There was ZERO excuse for ZERO Super Bowls in that era. To me, that is failure that far exceeds any shortcomings Tomlin has, even with a franchise QB. JMO.


Dave, can you IMAGINE that '94 team with Ben under center???   Pi_shocked Pi_shocked Pi_shocked
Reply
dbsfgyd1
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 14,794
Joined: Apr 2017
#18
05-23-2017, 12:26 AM

(05-23-2017, 12:17 AM)mcmillenandwife Wrote:
(05-22-2017, 11:15 PM)dbsfgyd1 Wrote: That said, I went back and looked a a ton of the of the 90's team videos ( thank you Tim immensely). When you talk about Tomlin's failures, lack of leadership, and let downs, that was a team that was LOADED on both sides of the ball. There was ZERO excuse for ZERO Super Bowls in that era. To me, that is failure that far exceeds any shortcomings Tomlin has, even with a franchise QB. JMO.


Dave, can you IMAGINE that '94 team with Ben under center???   Pi_shocked Pi_shocked Pi_shocked

Yikes! BTW, How about Ron Ehrhart's Smashmouth O?? You know, he won a Super Bowl with the Giants running it too. He also had success with it in New England.
(This post was last modified: 05-23-2017, 12:32 AM by dbsfgyd1.)
Reply
Chucktownsteeler
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 17,900
Joined: Apr 2017
#19
05-23-2017, 12:46 AM

I would respond but I do not have the time or intelligence. A point I have made over the years is it possible we "over-value" some of our on players? Nothing wrong with that, we are fans (short for "fanatic"). Maybe we just don't have the "best-of-a-generation" offense or world class defense front 7.

Truth be told early last season i stopped watching the Steelers. I watched very little, figured if they didn't care why should I? Weather was nice and family time a much better investment. Not sure how much of them I'll watch this year. The entire sports genre is lacking, as the pro-athlete is venturing dangerously close down the path of the Hollywood elite. Not sure how a certain QB that was raised very well, bailed out on his education and really never worked a day in his life is all-of-a sudden an expert on all things pertaining to the USA. This spread rampant in the NFL and all sports in general. Million-dollar-babies getting mega bucks to play a kids game and then lecturing the public on right and wrong. Kiss my arse. I am starting to sould like the guy from Gran Torino? Maybe I'm getting old and kranky.
(This post was last modified: 05-23-2017, 12:52 AM by Chucktownsteeler.)
Reply
mcmillenandwife
Administrator
*******

Posts: 14,971
Joined: Jan 1970
#20
05-23-2017, 12:50 AM

(05-23-2017, 12:46 AM)Chucktownsteeler Wrote: I am starting to sould like the guy from Gran Torino? Maybe I'm getting old and kranky.

Laugh  Get off my lawn!
Reply
dbsfgyd1
Hall of Famer
*****

Posts: 14,794
Joined: Apr 2017
#21
05-23-2017, 01:19 AM

(05-23-2017, 12:46 AM)Chucktownsteeler Wrote: Truth be told early last season i stopped watching the Steelers. I watched very little, figured if they didn't care why should I? Weather was nice and family time a much better investment. Not sure how much of them I'll watch this year. The entire sports genre is lacking, as the pro-athlete is venturing dangerously close down the path of the Hollywood elite. Not sure how a certain QB that was raised very well, bailed out on his education and really never worked a day in his life is all-of-a sudden an expert on all things pertaining to the USA. This spread rampant in the NFL and all sports in general. Million-dollar-babies getting mega bucks to play a kids game and then lecturing the public on right and wrong. Kiss my arse. I am starting to sould like the guy from Gran Torino? Maybe I'm getting old and kranky.

I probably should frame this and put up on my wall to remind me just where the NFL fits in my life, and how to keep it in perspective. With the exception of I'm probably not going to miss a game.

On that score, NFL Game Pass lets you see a whole game in condensed version in about 40 minutes. It's all of the plays, minus the endless blather, hype and commercials. And it's available 24-7. Much easier to fit into "REAL" life than a 3-4 hour network broadcast.
Reply
Crash
All Pro Veteran
****

Posts: 284
Joined: May 2017
#22
05-23-2017, 02:36 AM

(05-22-2017, 11:15 PM)dbsfgyd1 Wrote:
(05-22-2017, 08:23 PM)sandfan Wrote: I'm not sure who favored or picked what QB since I don't operate withing the inner circle of the team. I just look at the overall records.  Cowher 161-99-1 and Tomlin 103-57 in the regular season and Cowher 12-9 and Tomlin 8-6 in the playoffs.  

One did it with QBs that were JAGs and the other has had Ben his entire career.  If the quality of the QB does not make a difference why not look at Belicheat pre Brady with the Pats?  I submit what Cowher did with his talent, regardless of who or why that talent was selected, is much more impressive than what Tomlin has achieved.

Now if Tomlin gets another couple of Lombardi's before Ben goes I'll change my view.  Until then I feel he has under achieved.

Sandfan,

You  raise a valid point here. While the W & Ls are about a horse a piece, it is true, Tomlin hasn't had to suffer the likes of Mike Tomzak, and Kordell Stewart ( although, I think he gets a bad rap.) Thumbsup

But to your point, I think what was more impact-full was the series of of absolutely lousy offensive coordinators Cowher, and Stewart for that matter, had after Gailey left. In addition, not to make more excuses, but there was a major rebuilding project going on at the time, and some serious sal-cap issues that caused a significant talent drain.

That said, I went back and looked a a ton of the of the 90's team videos ( thank you Tim immensely). When you talk about Tomlin's failures, lack of leadership, and let downs, that was a team that was LOADED on both sides of the ball. There was ZERO excuse for ZERO Super Bowls in that era. To me, that is failure that far exceeds any shortcomings Tomlin has, even with a franchise QB. JMO.


Kordell wanted Ray Sherman.  Gave his endorsement for Ray Sherman.  The problem for Sherman was Kordell didn't want to work.  The other QB's came into the room to watch film at 9:00, 9:30 AM. Kordell's regular time was 10:30 AM. When everyone knew that Sherman was gone after Cowher took his play-calling duties away prior to the last game, Kordell went up to Sherman and tried to comfort him, Sherman told Kordell to go fuck himself and walked away.  

The ONLY two quarterbacks who couldn't perform for Gilbride were first Ryan Leaf, and then Kordell Stewart.  

I'll let that sentence stand on it's own merit.
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)