View Full Version : Tomlin's job responsibilties increase exponentially

03-05-2007, 03:11 AM
Tomlin's job responsibilties increase exponentially

By Scott Brown
Monday, March 5, 2007

His official title is head coach. But Mike Tomlin will find out he is unofficially a lot more things in his first season with the Steelers -- manager, planner, troubleshooter and even psychiatrist, to a degree.

"There's no manual for it," Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress said.

Maybe not, but Childress can at least serve as a guide for Tomlin, who had never been a head coach before the Steelers hired him Jan. 22.

Childress not only worked with Tomlin previously, but he was also part of a group that went from assistants to NFL head coaches last year.

Seven men made the considerable jump, and their experiences can surely help Tomlin, who said he has gotten advice from a number of coaches throughout the league.

"This profession is just a big fraternity," said Tomlin, who was the Vikings' defensive coordinator last season. "Most of the guys have reached out to me, and I've been appreciative of that."

He has probably heard everything from the necessity of taking a more panoramic view than he did as an assistant coach to understanding how the demands on him have increased exponentially.

One of the biggest challenges Tomlin may face is adapting to the change that comes with the new job while not straying from the philosophies and principles that got him to his new position.

"You're trying to trust what you've learned in those years as an assistant coach." said New Orleans' Sean Payton, who is in his second year as the Saints' head coach. "You try to stay consistent and true to what we're looking for in players, in addition to coaches."

Tomlin, 34, can probably most relate to Payton and the New York Jets' Eric Mangini, who were top-level assistants in their mid-30s when they got head coaching jobs.

The Steelers would love nothing more than for Tomlin to have the kind of success each had in their first season. Payton and Mangini took teams that had won three and four games, respectively, the previous season to the playoffs in 2006.

Payton captured AP NFL Coach of the Year honors, and Mangini was a finalist for the award.

Like Tomlin, Mangini coached defensive backs and then served as a defensive coordinator before becoming a head coach.

"I think with each change in responsibility there's things you have to learn," Mangini said. "When you're coaching just the (defensive backs), that's what you're focused on. When you move to defensive coordinator, now you've got a bigger group. And now in the head coach position, the group extends that much further."

Mangini said one aspect that makes the job of being a head coach so challenging is there are only 24 hours in a day.

"As I came into the position, I was told there are five things every day that come up that you don't have scheduled, and I found that to be true," Mangini said. "So you have your plan in place each day for what you're going to get accomplished, then you have to adjust it as the day unfolds with whatever comes up."

As for what can come up, well, anything is possible.

"You solve personal problems, problems of 'I'm not getting enough playing time.' " Detroit Lions coach Rod Marinelli said. "You're constantly dealing with a lot of different aspects."

Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak agreed.

"Just the responsibility gets so much greater," said Kubiak, who had been the Denver Broncos' offensive coordinator before going to Houston last year. "Instead of sitting there and worrying about my side of the ball and whether or not we could score some points, or worried about special teams or worried about defense, you're dealing with players' lives, coaches' lives, a lot more problems."

Welcome to a fraternity that can be as exhausting as it is exclusive.

"I think you lay a foundation and what you believe in," Marinelli said, "and everything works off that foundation."


Showing the way

Here's how first-time NFL head coaches fared last season:

? Brad Childress, Minnesota: Former Eagles offensive coordinator got the Vikings off to a good start, but they finished 8-8 after going 9-7 in 2005. Childress needs to improve their passing game.

? Gary Kubiak, Houston: Texans improved from two to six wins in his first season. Offensive-minded coach would have benefited from team taking Reggie Bush or Vince Young with first overall pick of the 2006 draft.

? Scott Linehan, St. Louis: The Rams went 8-8 after a 6-10 season in 2005 and scored their share of points with Central Catholic graduate Marc Bulger leading the offense, but they gave up too many because of breakdowns on defense and special teams.

? Eric Mangini, New York Jets: Led a team that had won four games the previous season to the playoffs and was hailed for making players earn their starting jobs and even roster spots every week.

? Rod Marinelli, Detroit: The Lions won just three games after going 5-11 in 2005. Marinelli said one of his top priorities is changing the culture in Detroit's locker room. Upgrading an offense stocked with underachieving first-round picks would help, too.

? Mike McCarthy, Green Bay: Pittsburgh native and former Steelers assistant coaxed a .500 record out of a team that went 4-12 the previous season. Quarterback Brett Favre is playing for at least one more year.

? Sean Payton, New Orleans: Presided over feel-good turnaround of the Saints, leading them to the NFC Championship Game for the first time in team history after the team went 3-13 in 2005.


03-05-2007, 03:23 AM
Lions coach raves about Tomlin

By Scott Brown
Monday, March 5, 2007

Detroit Lions coach Rod Marinelli said he talks to Mike Tomlin regularly.

He'll also apparently talk any time about the Steelers' coach because he can't say enough about him.

"He's going to really be special," Marinelli said. "I think you've got a guy that's going to be there for 30 years."

Marinelli was an assistant coach for Tampa Bay when Tomlin joined the Buccaneers' staff in 2000.

Tony Dungy, who was the Buccaneers' head coach at the time, hired Tomlin as a defensive backs coach even though he didn't have any NFL experience and was still in his 20s.

"We had all of these NFL guys interviewing for the job and it wasn't even close," Marinelli said. "The separation was just like, 'Whoa.' "

Tomlin, who had been the defensive backs coach at the University of Cincinnati, quickly made an impression on the players as well, Marinelli said.

"He is so bright and so strong, and I saw that when he came into Tampa and half the (players) were older but he came in with a, not arrogance, but confidence and knowledge of who he is," said Marinelli, who left Tampa Bay for Detroit in 2006. "People ask about youth and all those things. Character -- there's no age limit to it."

One of the biggest challenges the 34-year-old Tomlin may face is getting the players to buy into a lot of change. The Steelers have a lot of veterans who are used to doing things a certain way.

"Those players are going to really like (Tomlin) and respect him fast," Marinelli said. "Any time you know what you're doing, players buy in because you'll make them money if you know what you're doing and can help a guy with fundamentals and technique. If he's playing better, he's going to have a better contract and a better career."


03-05-2007, 11:05 AM
30 years? thats a bunch

03-05-2007, 05:30 PM
Well, what ever he has to do, it looks like he is going to have plenty of support.


03-05-2007, 06:16 PM
Both articles are a pretty good read.