View Full Version : There'll be no change in the chain of command at Steelers HQ

01-25-2007, 10:00 PM
There'll be no change in the chain of command at Steelers HQ

Thursday, January 25, 2007
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers' power structure will not change with the hiring of a young head coach, according to team president Art Rooney II.
The role of Kevin Colbert as director of football operations will be no different with Mike Tomlin as head coach than it was under Bill Cowher.

"No, we don't see that role changing," Rooney said. "Kevin has been a key part, a critical part of our success the last few years, and the way he's done his job is outstanding and we hope he continues to approach it the way he has."
It long was speculated that Cowher acquired more say in player personnel matters after the Steelers fired Tom Donahoe as their director of football operations in January 2000, and hired Colbert for that job a month later, a theory the Rooneys dispute. Although Donahoe pushed for the Rooneys to hire Cowher as their coach in 1992, the two grew apart so much that the owners decided eight years later it no longer was a good working relationship.
Cowher, at a Jan. 5 news conference to announce his resignation, thanked Colbert publicly for giving him a "second wind."
Colbert joined Art and Dan Rooney, the team's chairman, in a three-man committee to pick a new coach. Colbert pushed hard for the Steelers to hire Tomlin, who turns 35 in March. Colbert, who turns 50 Monday, will be on equal footing with Tomlin, neither his boss nor his underling.
"On our organizational chart, they're on the same line," Rooney said, "The same way it was with Bill. Organizationally, it works well, and we have no plans to make changes in that regard."
It's up to Tomlin and Colbert to work together on such decisions as which free agents to pursue; which of their own players to sign to new contracts, to release or allow to leave in free agency, and which players to draft.
"We're going to approach it the same way," said Colbert, who flew with Tomlin on a private jet Tuesday to Mobile, Ala., for Senior Bowl practices. "We talked about how we do things and our ideas on it.
"Mike's comfortable with that. Of course, as we go through -- and, as he said, learn each other and learn what we like and what we need to do -- I'm open to ideas. We all have to get better and learn and grow.
"The core values are there. I think we have the same values. Now, it's a matter of going through the process for one year and figuring out what we like and don't like and what's going to best serve us in the future."
Rooney reiterated a club draft philosophy he and his father long proclaimed, that it's not one man making the decisions.
"We look at it as a team decision and come together. The key is preparation. We don't expect to be in the draft room and have arguments, we expect that to happen weeks and weeks before draft. On draft day, we're always prepared."
The new coach said that suits him fine.
"The one thing that turned me on about this organization is that it's a collective effort with how we do things," Tomlin said. "Nothing is heaped upon one specific person. I look forward to working with Kevin on personnel matters and I'm excited about that, I really am."
Tomlin agreed with Colbert that it will take time for their philosophies to mesh.
"I think that we will collectively grow as we work together. I think our core beliefs, when it comes to football, are very similar. Some of those things will be addressed as we find a comfort level working together."
One important philosophy they must resolve is the type of defensive players to pursue in the draft and free agency. While Tomlin will keep most, if not all, of the defensive staff that ran a 3-4 in Cowher's 15-year tenure, Tomlin coached a 4-3 with a cover-2 philosophy as defensive coordinator in Minnesota and as the secondary coach in Tampa Bay.
Those different styles usually require different types of linebackers, ends and tackles. Some NFL teams, including the AFC North champion Baltimore Ravens, alternate between the defenses in games. "It wouldn't surprise me if we kept the 3-4 for awhile," Rooney said. "We did not make that a criteria for a decision [on the coach], that he commit to running one defense or another. Obviously, we were comfortable with our defensive staff and told him that. Again, it's his decision what defense we run, and we could run both."

01-26-2007, 07:24 AM
Very good article, Dom - thanks for posting it! :smile:

Seems like everyone is on the same page and that can only mean good results! :tt02: