PDA

View Full Version : Starkey: Steelers' moves hardly inspiring


X-Terminator
01-31-2007, 03:54 AM
By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, January 31, 2007

For all I know, Ken Anderson is the finest quarterback guru this side of Bill Walsh.

I just can't find any evidence to support such a notion.

In fact, Anderson mentored two of the more spectacular quarterback busts on record -- David Klingler and Akili Smith -- and didn't fare much better with Byron Leftwich.

The only thing missing from his resume is a stint with Ryan Leaf.

That's why it seemed so curious when new Steelers coach Mike Tomlin fired Mark Whipple, who was doing just fine as Ben Roethlisberger's tutor, and hired Anderson, 57, as the new quarterbacks coach.

Obviously, Roethlisberger had a poor season, but I'd be willing to match his first three years with those of just about any quarterback in NFL history.

Anderson is one of several hires/promotions on the Steelers' staff that can fairly be described as underwhelming, if not seriously perplexing.

Even the new head coach sports a spotty resume. Tomlin has one year's experience as a coordinator, and while people are quick to point out that his Minnesota Vikings defense led the league against the run, it also was tied for last against the pass and registered a paltry 30 sacks.

That's not saying Tomlin was a poor choice. The man deserves a fair chance -- and the Rooneys deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to hiring coaches.

I'm as impressed as everyone else with Tomlin's light-up-the-room charisma. I liked his decision -- assuming it was his -- to retain the core of the defensive staff, headed by coordinator Dick LeBeau.

The decisions on offense and special teams, however, are open to question.

Tomlin promoted Bruce Arians from wide receivers coach to coordinator and hired Larry Zierlein to coach the line. The only other time those two held the same positions in the NFL was with the Cleveland Browns.

They worked together from 2001-03, without much success.

The Browns finished 30th, 21st and 27th in the NFL in total offense, 31st, 23rd and 20th in rushing offense. Their only respectable year was 2002, when they hung 33 points on the Steelers in a playoff game and would have won if not for a Dennis Northcutt drop.

Maybe you could pin their poor numbers on mediocre personnel and a shaky head coach in Butch Davis. Arians, 54, and Zierlein, 62, are well-respected coaching vets -- Arians tutored Peyton Manning in Indianapolis -- but the fact is they failed in Cleveland.

That makes them an unknown entity in their current roles.

It's also entirely possible Anderson has fallen victim to the personnel around him and that nobody could have helped Klingler (drafted sixth overall in 1992) or Smith (third overall in 1999).

Anderson was the Bengals' quarterbacks coach from 1993-95 and 2001-02, their offensive coordinator from 1996-2000. The team did not make the playoffs in that span, though Anderson did some good work developing Jeff Blake.

Jacksonville hired Anderson as quarterbacks coach in 2003, the same year it drafted Leftwich seventh overall. Four seasons later, Leftwich is a mess. His one-time backup, talented David Garrard, failed to seize the job this season after he replaced an injured Leftwich, leaving the Jaguars with a quarterback quandary.

Anderson was fired earlier this month.

Which brings us to new special teams coach Bob Ligashesky.

Again, it's possible Ligashesky is going to become the special-teams version of Bill Belichick. He had some good years at Bowling Green. But if I'm the guy doing the hiring, and I'm looking at his recent job performance, I'm cringing.

In 2003, Ligashesky coached Pitt's special teams. The Panthers were last in the Big East in kickoff and punt returns. They also finished 116th in kickoff coverage, which might not seem bad until you consider 117 teams played Division I-A football.

In St. Louis this season, Ligashesky's units allowed an NFC-worst three kick-return touchdowns. The Rams somehow managed to finish below the Steelers in punt and kick return average (27th and 26th, respectively) and had the 28th-best kickoff coverage team. The punt coverage was better -- 10th overall -- but allowed a touchdown.

Ligashesky was fired last week.

"He's a good coach with a bright future," Rams coach Scott Linehan told reporters. "But we needed to make some improvements on special teams."

So do the Steelers. Here's hoping Ligashesky, a Sto-Rox High School graduate, can help.

But as with much of the reconfigured Steelers staff, you have to wonder.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_491024.html

Steel Pit
01-31-2007, 04:42 AM
JESUS CHRIST! After reading this article I think that someone had better go ahead and throw in the towel.:jawdrop:

I don't know? I've only heard of one of these hires that being Ken Anderson. I didn't support the Anderson hiring. I didn't like him as a player and it sounds as if he's been a pretty poor QB Coach.

ChronoCross
01-31-2007, 06:37 AM
I always have trust in the Roony's when they Hire a coach, but the moves of Tomlin in the coaching staff have left me surprised. I knew a letter would be coming out like this. Seeing coaches from prior teams as Cards, Browns, Bengals, Rams, and knowing what them teams did during there stay there as coaches has baffled me in this moves. I mean really, Tomlin was given the best job in the NFL, and its his to loose. No other team keeps coaches like the Steelers do. And if Tomlin does flop do to his bringing in the wrong help right off the bat its his own fault for loosing from right off the get go. I hope we do not pay for mistakes right off the bat. Time will only tell now. Maybe all this coaches with the right personal such as the Steelers have might be the difference considering most of the personal they had with the other teams was crap. I hope with there chance here with great talent and a good team that they do not fail. Lets just hope for the best is only thing we can do.

Atlanta Dan
01-31-2007, 07:58 AM
Unlike Starkey, I admit I have no clue as to whom Tomlin should have hired as assistants.

Notably absent from Starkey's column are any alternative suggestions for assistants that should have been hired. Maybe Starkey thinks it is a shame Tomlin did not hire Greg Knapp.

Too bad Starkey had to turn in a column when he had nothing to say.

HometownGal
01-31-2007, 08:17 AM
Only time will tell, I suppose. I'm going to give this coaching staff a fair chance and trust that Coach Tomlin saw something special in these men. I'm not banking on what failures they had in their past - the slate is wiped clean as far as I'm concerned. Let's see what they can do before predicting their doom.

83-Steelers-43
01-31-2007, 08:28 AM
Another move.....

Fuhrman latest to go in Steelers' shuffle
Wednesday, January 31, 2007

From local and wire dispatches

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has decided not to retain conditioning coordinator Chet Fuhrman, who had a year remaining on his contract.

"I've been here a long time and I wanted to thank Dan and Art Rooney for that. They've always supported me and my programs," Fuhrman said yesterday.

Fuhrman was the only remaining member of Bill Cowher's staff who had been with the Steelers since 1992. No replacement has been named.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07031/758117-66.stm

As for Starkey's article. We'll just have to wait and see. He can criticize Tomlin's decisions all he wants, but we won't know the results until the season begins. A very oddly timed and poorly written article in my opinion.

Donnie Iris
01-31-2007, 08:47 AM
With a few exceptions through the years, most assistants that have come through the organization had a lot of question marks coming in. This is just another "I hate change" article.

stlrtruck
01-31-2007, 09:09 AM
Just the media trying to find something negative when we've got such a positive change!

TackleMeBen
01-31-2007, 09:59 AM
Just the media trying to find something negative when we've got such a positive change!

Well I guess the media is bored and can't find anything better to write about. And change is good... I mean we couldnt have gotten any worse. I think that the guys will come out with a new hunger and will rightfully take back their championship :thumbsup:

Mosca
01-31-2007, 10:09 AM
Oh jeez, thanks for letting me know. I give up. There's no sense in playing the season out, let's just fold the team and turn in our colors.


Tom

lamberts-lost-tooth
01-31-2007, 10:21 AM
As for Starkey's article. We'll just have to wait and see. He can criticize Tomlin's decisions all he wants, but we won't know the results until the season begins. A very oddly timed and poorly written article in my opinion.

Very good point...does anyone remember how the media welcomed Coach Cowher when he was hired?

memphissteelergirl
01-31-2007, 10:23 AM
With a few exceptions through the years, most assistants that have come through the organization had a lot of question marks coming in. This is just another "I hate change" article.


Exactly!! Must be a slow news day. :coffee:

Atlanta Dan
01-31-2007, 11:35 AM
Very good point...does anyone remember how the media welcomed Coach Cowher when he was hired?

Although Noll personally would never wear out his welcome after what he had done in the 70s, after 1 playoff appearance in his last 8 seasons I do not recall there was any outcry to keep any part of Noll's support staff around after Noll left. And of course there were no Internet message boards to stir the pot by critiquing the critiques of Cowher's hiring decisions.

OTOH, with the Steelers recent success, I think there is an interest by some to keep as much of the Cowher regime around as possible even though Cowher is gone.

The idea that a sports writer is competent to write a meaningful article on the merits of assistants that are hired as soon as they are hired is laughable. But the Steelers are Pittsburgh's obsession so that is what is the subject of sports columns even when there is nothing meaningful to be said.

VolatileMan
01-31-2007, 11:54 AM
Sometimes people need a new environment to excell. Billichek wasnt such a genius in Cleveland was he? But in NE all of a sudden he (supposedly) is the next best thing since sliced bread.

Grueden did a great job with a crappy Raiders team, but what has he done to a great TB team he inheritide? He's ran it into the ground!

There are a gazillion examples leaning in each direction.

Time will tell but the track record of this orginization finding quality people for the right position speaks for itself. I trust this franchise to always move in the right direction because I have yet to see otherwise!

Just my $.02
VolatileMan

DACEB
01-31-2007, 12:35 PM
Great post, excellent points V-man

HometownGal
01-31-2007, 12:46 PM
Whiz moved around a bit in a 4 year span with the Ravens, Browns and Jets as a TE and ST coach before he was brought here to the Burgh as a TE coach by Cowher in 2001. Two years later, he was promoted to OC and did a whale of a job in that capacity. He was given an opportunity by The Chin and took full advantage of that opportunity - many of us didn't even know who he was when he joined the Steelers staff. The media can crow all they want about Tomlin's selections for HIS staff - I'm confident in Coach Tomlin's "feel" for selecting the right staff to work beside him in coaching this team back up to the top of the AFCN.

Stillers43
01-31-2007, 12:51 PM
Some new hires are definately question marks! But, let's give them a chance first!

Preacher
01-31-2007, 12:57 PM
Yeah, well...

After reading the article... My question is,

Who was left in the league TO HIRE? I really didn't hear of too many top notch Offensive coaches that were just waitin to be hired.

memphissteelergirl
01-31-2007, 01:00 PM
Yeah, well...

After reading the article... My question is,

Who was left in the league TO HIRE? I really didn't hear of too many top notch Offensive coaches that were just waitin to be hired.



DING! You win the prize! :cheers:

Donnie Iris
01-31-2007, 01:07 PM
Yeah, well...

After reading the article... My question is,

Who was left in the league TO HIRE? I really didn't hear of too many top notch Offensive coaches that were just waitin to be hired.

You're right. And what cracks me up most is that the people with the biggest problems about these hires don't ever offer an alternative suggestion to replace them. Classic!

fansince'76
01-31-2007, 01:10 PM
By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, January 31, 2007

For all I know, Ken Anderson is the finest quarterback guru this side of Bill Walsh.

I just can't find any evidence to support such a notion.

In fact, Anderson mentored two of the more spectacular quarterback busts on record -- David Klingler and Akili Smith -- and didn't fare much better with Byron Leftwich.

The only thing missing from his resume is a stint with Ryan Leaf.

There's also an old saying that goes "you can't polish a turd." I'm giving Anderson a chance.

Livinginthe past
01-31-2007, 01:30 PM
This would just be Starkey laying down a marker, just in case the units he mentioned have a terrible 2007.

Im sure he will print something about those units in a positive light, at some stage, so he has all the bases covered when it comes to 'I told you so' time.

NM

CargoJon
01-31-2007, 02:49 PM
I guess we should just borrow a line from the worst owner in the NFL - "Just win baby"

We won't care who the coaching staff is if they win. If they lose we'll be back here this time next year picking apart these posts figuring out who gets fired....

Preacher
01-31-2007, 02:59 PM
This would just be Starkey laying down a marker, just in case the units he mentioned have a terrible 2007.

Im sure he will print something about those units in a positive light, at some stage, so he has all the bases covered when it comes to 'I told you so' time.

NM


You gotta stop posting like this... Your making too much dang sense!

Livinginthe past
01-31-2007, 03:16 PM
You gotta stop posting like this... Your making too much dang sense!

I have these odd urges......to make sensible posts.....it'll pass...always does :wink02:

NM

SteelerFanInCA
01-31-2007, 03:17 PM
I think we just have to let time play itself out. I've got a good vibe about Tomlin and the hiring choices he has made.

Like someone already said, it's all about a clean slate.

ChronoCross
01-31-2007, 03:36 PM
Well all this new coaches have walked into a gold mind of talent. Something they never had with the other teams they were with.

Black@Gold Forever32
01-31-2007, 03:48 PM
Only time will tell, I suppose. I'm going to give this coaching staff a fair chance and trust that Coach Tomlin saw something special in these men. I'm not banking on what failures they had in their past - the slate is wiped clean as far as I'm concerned. Let's see what they can do before predicting their doom.


I'm with you Hometown. I could careless what these coaches done in the past. We won't know how good they will do with the Steelers until we see the team perform this year.

As for Ken Anderson. Sure he has a poor track record of developing QB's. But I don't think Christ himself could have made David Klingler and Akili Smith into all-pro QB's. As for Leftwich he hasn't been terrible his thing is staying healthy. Plus the Jags don't have the WR's to help Leftwich out. So to me I think Ken Anderson could help Big Ben out. He was a former league MVP. He does know how to play QB in the NFL.

People have to remember coaches need talent to work with. Its safe to say most of these new coaches havn't had a chance to work with the talent they now have with the Steelers.

HometownGal
01-31-2007, 03:48 PM
This would just be Starkey laying down a marker, just in case the units he mentioned have a terrible 2007.

Im sure he will print something about those units in a positive light, at some stage, so he has all the bases covered when it comes to 'I told you so' time.

NM

There you go, Nigel - scaring me again. :horror: :wink02: Couldn't agree more.

As Chrono said above, these coaches are walking onto a team with talent and a well-respected and successful franchise behind them. I like what I've heard from Coach Tomlin and am going to trust in his judgment until shown a viable reason not to. :thumbsup: :tt02:

slashsteel
01-31-2007, 06:17 PM
I'll go with Tomlins judgement calls too, but won't turn a blind eye to the question marks. IMO new coaches and new players always carry question marks. It is up to them to prove their worth. Yes some of the moves make me wonder. Hopefully all the moves will turn out good. But in reality didn't Cowher go through a lot of coaches before he got the right mix ? ? I am sure Tomlin could have picked a few rotten apples before he pushes his way to the ripe sweet ones. ;)

Bottom line:

As long as Tomlin is the right long term choice, a few bad apples won't sour my appetite.

Preacher
02-01-2007, 01:12 AM
Like I said before...

I will give him a couple of years. He needs that much time to really clean house, find out exactly what he has, then find the right coaches to put into place. Like I said.. a couple three years.

wv2kybohntr
02-01-2007, 01:56 AM
This would just be Starkey laying down a marker, just in case the units he mentioned have a terrible 2007.

Im sure he will print something about those units in a positive light, at some stage, so he has all the bases covered when it comes to 'I told you so' time.

NMNot exactly sure, but it appears reporters in the burgh enjoy covering every angle. If the O line plays like it did this year, we may never know if Anderson can coach Ben. Ben got plenty of practice getting back up every time he tried to pass, so my biggest concern is coaching the line. I still believe Grimm would have been HC if the line would have performed well. I can't help believing the Rooneys looked at his inability to motivate a few linemen and questioned his leadership abilities. Hence making Tomlin more attractive.
I'm quite sure the media will question and print negatives in April concerning poor selections (in their opinion) during the draft, but the reality is the organization of the Steelers have always seemed to have their finger on the right personnell at the right time and I am willing to give all the new Steelers a fair chance to prove their worth.
Let's be realistic for just a minute. We had pretty much the same talent we had in the superbowl, but struggled to 8-8. I feel the only thing missing was the motivation and drive everyone showed the previous year. That, in my opinion falls directly in the laps of the coaching staff for either not motivating or benching them.
Now, as I climb down off of my soapbox, Lets go Steelers and I really enjoy all the opinions here in this forum.

X-Terminator
02-01-2007, 02:39 AM
If anybody has any doubts about the coaches Tomlin has brought in who have failed before, just remember that many of the same things were being said about Kevin Colbert when he was hired from the Lions to become the Steelers' director of player operations (GM). I think that has worked out pretty well, wouldn't you say? So just because these guys have failed elsewhere does not guarantee that they will fail here.

Livinginthe past
02-01-2007, 02:57 AM
Not exactly sure, but it appears reporters in the burgh enjoy covering every angle. If the O line plays like it did this year, we may never know if Anderson can coach Ben. Ben got plenty of practice getting back up every time he tried to pass, so my biggest concern is coaching the line. I still believe Grimm would have been HC if the line would have performed well. I can't help believing the Rooneys looked at his inability to motivate a few linemen and questioned his leadership abilities. Hence making Tomlin more attractive.
I'm quite sure the media will question and print negatives in April concerning poor selections (in their opinion) during the draft, but the reality is the organization of the Steelers have always seemed to have their finger on the right personnell at the right time and I am willing to give all the new Steelers a fair chance to prove their worth.
Let's be realistic for just a minute. We had pretty much the same talent we had in the superbowl, but struggled to 8-8. I feel the only thing missing was the motivation and drive everyone showed the previous year. That, in my opinion falls directly in the laps of the coaching staff for either not motivating or benching them.
Now, as I climb down off of my soapbox, Lets go Steelers and I really enjoy all the opinions here in this forum.

I think of alot of people on this forum would agree with your points, myself included.

The Steelers certainly didn't become a poor team over a single offseason.

Alot of factors played into a the disappointment of an 8-8 year - not least of those the persistent injured state of the franchise QB.

What shocked me, was what you alluded to, the lack of determination of a very capable O-Line (no-one can accuse them of not being talented) to protect their QB - the amount of sacks Ben took this year was plain embarrassing.

I agree that when you have a whole unit of the team malfunctioning - you have to look at the coach(es) relevant to that unit.

For whatever reason, the team never really focussed properly on the season until it was too late - I doubt very much if we would have seen a repeat of that even if Cowher had returned.

With a new guy things will be freshened up, however, we will also get to see what impact Cowher had as a coach through his absense this year.

Oh, and welcome to the forum.

NM

Livinginthe past
02-01-2007, 02:59 AM
If anybody has any doubts about the coaches Tomlin has brought in who have failed before, just remember that many of the same things were being said about Kevin Colbert when he was hired from the Lions to become the Steelers' director of player operations (GM). I think that has worked out pretty well, wouldn't you say? So just because these guys have failed elsewhere does not guarantee that they will fail here.

Definitely agree with that sentiment - the same goes for players who have struggled with certain franchises and who are given a fresh start elsewhere.

Sometimes the prevailing attitude in a team swamps an individual.

NM

HometownGal
02-01-2007, 07:24 AM
If anybody has any doubts about the coaches Tomlin has brought in who have failed before, just remember that many of the same things were being said about Kevin Colbert when he was hired from the Lions to become the Steelers' director of player operations (GM). I think that has worked out pretty well, wouldn't you say? So just because these guys have failed elsewhere does not guarantee that they will fail here.

Absolutely! :thumbsup: That is why I said in my earlier post that I am wiping the slate totally clean on these new additions to the coaching staff because I don't care what they've done in the past or what team they are coming from. The same goes for FA acquisitions. The Steelers have a philosophy and style that is unique and allow their coaches pretty much free reign on doing what is best for the team (unlike Daniel Snyder and a few other owners around the league). I'm getting pumped for the 2007 season and we still have 5 months to go until camp. :tt02:

SteelCzar76
02-01-2007, 10:00 AM
It's of great importance that Coach Tomlin surrounds himself with individuals whom are 'on the same page' with him so to speak in terms of his philosophy and his vision for the type of team(s) he intends to build here.
With this in mind,......he should be given the benefit of the doubt regarding the men he selects to serve as his assistants. As i'm almost certain that he understands the 'gravity' of the opportunity before him. Therefore i'm confident that he's not only 'done his homework' regarding these men,......but also believes that they're the best suited available candidates for what he hopes to accomplish.

Steeldude
02-01-2007, 12:39 PM
That's why it seemed so curious when new Steelers coach Mike Tomlin fired Mark Whipple, who was doing just fine as Ben Roethlisberger's tutor

yeah, that long ball of BR's is outstanding. i also like the way he throws off of his back foot so consistently. whipple was doing a remarkable job :rofl:

slashsteel
02-01-2007, 06:09 PM
If anybody has any doubts about the coaches Tomlin has brought in who have failed before, just remember that many of the same things were being said about Kevin Colbert when he was hired from the Lions to become the Steelers' director of player operations (GM). I think that has worked out pretty well, wouldn't you say? So just because these guys have failed elsewhere does not guarantee that they will fail here.

Actually I never heard anything to the sort that made me think Colbert wasn't a good addition right off the bat. The Lions always drafted pretty well overall IMO they had decent talent but didn't have the coach to bring it all together. I said this right from the get go. Colbert had a decent track record is what I am saying. Some of these new coaches have no track record worth mentioning. But yes sometimes you have to just sit and watch and hope for the best.