View Full Version : Tomlin senses turnaround in resistant Steelers

08-17-2007, 08:34 AM
Steelers initially resist change, but Tomlin senses a turnaround
By The Associated Press
Friday, August 17, 2007

Maybe the Pittsburgh Steelers still were Bill Cowher's team when training camp began last month. The players weren't happy about the extra practices new coach Mike Tomlin scheduled and all the contact work during the opening week of camp.

There also was that annoying clock along the sidelines that ticked down the amount of time left in a drill -- the clock Hines Ward claims never moves. And the altered practice schedule. Ward also complained that Tomlin allowed the defensive backs to be too physical against the receivers during supposedly non-contact drills.

No wonder that, when asked what he saw his players resisting, Tomlin said, "Everything."

But as the days at Saint Vincent College wound down, Tomlin believes his players settled into the new routine. They came out with an all-business mind-set and an extra measure of physicality for their first preseason game, and they dominated the Saints while the starters were on the field.

While Tomlin hasn't said it yet, he doesn't believe there will be much lingering talk of how it used to be with the Steelers when they open the season Sept. 9 at Cleveland.

"They resisted the change, like we all do," Tomlin said Thursday. "But, ideally, I think they did a nice job of dealing with it and not letting it affect their quality of play."

As camp dragged on -- it finally ends Friday, when the Steelers leave for Saturday's exhibition game at Washington -- Tomlin sensed less and less resistance.

"It's funny, we're all creatures of habit, particularly the guys that have been here a long time," Tomlin said. "Guys who were drafted here, they knew only one way. When you know what's going on, you never have to look at a schedule and you can kind of be on autopilot. That's what we crave. We like to be on autopilot and know what lies ahead. But sometimes it's good to get out of your comfort zone a little bit."

Tomlin's philosophy may explain why he isn't revealing who his starters will be Saturday at several positions -- to make sure those players keep an edge. He will play his starters far more than he did in the first two exhibitions, perhaps well into the second quarter.

"We're always going to be prepared to play it by ear. But it's our intention to play guys more in this game," he said.

The starters will play even longer next weekend against Philadelphia, possibly into the second half.

Running back Willie Parker (knee) and first-round draft pick Lawrence Timmons (groin) will play for the first time this preseason, though Tomlin isn't saying how much. Timmons returned to practice only this week after being out since the early days of camp.

"How much will kind of be determined on conditioning and what he's capable of handling from an assignment standpoint," Tomlin said of Timmons, an outside linebacker. "But he's shown that he's getting pretty sharp from an assignment standpoint."

Also starting will be Bryant McFadden at cornerback, ahead of Deshea Townsend, and wide receiver Santonio Holmes, ahead of Cedrick Wilson. Those changes are expected to carry into the season.

Tomlin kept one tradition during this camp: Cowher's movie day. Cowher usually canceled one morning practice and packed off the players to a local theater to watch the movie of their choice.

But, predictably, Tomlin handled movie day a little differently. He told his coaches and players on Tuesday night that they would have Wednesday morning off -- either to see a movie, sleep in or hit golf balls at a driving range.

By telling them in advance, the players didn't have to get suited up and the trainers didn't have to tape up players for a practice that wouldn't take place. The assistant coaches also didn't have to draw up plans for a phantom practice.

"I had too much work to do. I didn't have time to go to the movies," said Tomlin, who worked during the players' morning off. "I guess going to the movies is a tradition around here. I'm not much into tradition."

Notes: LT Marvel Smith may play despite a lingering back problem. ... DT Chris Hoke (knee) is out. ... Tomlin hinted that WR Nate Washington must quit dropping passes and concentrate better if he's to make the team. .. Trai Essex will also play some at LT. ... Thursday afternoon's practice was the last this season that was open to the public.


08-17-2007, 10:08 AM
Nice Post! It is now time for the "resistant Steelers" to deal with the fact that Tomlin IS the COACH and play!!

Can't wait for opening day when the games COUNT!

Mike in La Crosse, WI

08-17-2007, 04:17 PM
It shows to me that Tomlin is going to coach his way, not the Steeler way. I like that, I really do. Something new will be in store for our Steelers this year!

08-19-2007, 12:06 AM
Nothing more, nothing less. He tells it like it is. He doesn't lie. He doesn't beat around the bush. He tells the truth. Every week is different, he knows that. I love a coach thats honest, and the more I hear from him the more I like. I wish nothing but the best for him. I see us making the playoffs this year, as a wild card. If we do better, I will go balistic. Go Steelers and go Tomlin, you have my support!!!!!!!!!!!

08-19-2007, 03:05 AM
It shows to me that Tomlin is going to coach his way, not the Steeler way. I like that, I really do. Something new will be in store for our Steelers this year!

Beg to differ.

This is exactly the Steeler Way. The Rooney's hire WINNERS. That is the Steeler Way.

The preseason last year was disgraceful because it was riddled with selfishness. Oh. And a Super Bowl winner failed to make the playoffs.

Those who resist Tomlin should be thankful they aren't playing for Bad Newz Kennels. Whoa! What a concept! Perhaps poor performances by NFL players should suffer the same fate as the Bad Newz losers.

Tomlin is a winner. I'll takes bets right now that he'll win a Super Bowl before Cowher won his first.

08-19-2007, 08:42 AM
Tomlin is the man in charge, so they have to deal with it! They get great $$$ to deal with it!

But I hope Tomlin produces, and does not get a bad rep, then nobody will come here!