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83-Steelers-43
09-27-2007, 09:36 AM
Maybe coaching change isn't behind Steelers' 3-0 start
By The Associated Press
Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 3-0 for the first time since 1992, the year Bill Cowher was hired. If they beat Arizona on Sunday, they'll be off to their first 4-0 start since their Super Bowl-winning season in 1979.

The Steelers have needed only three games to win as many times as they did in their first nine games last season. No team has come within three touchdowns of beating them, and the only two touchdowns permitted by their defense came in games already decided.

"We've really kind of had a history of starting out slow or not coming out of the gate like this, so it's definitely different," guard Alan Faneca said Wednesday.

Plenty of reasons for the Steelers' fast start are being tossed out. The players were growing weary of Bill Cowher. New coach Mike Tomlin's impressive debut. A relatively soft schedule that's thrown the Browns (1-2), Bills (0-3) and 49ers (2-1) their way.

Or how about this: None of the above.

Wide receiver Hines Ward believes too many around the NFL wrote off the Steelers after they went 8-8 a season ago, a disruption-filled year in which quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was never right and no one knew if Cowher was coming or going.

To Ward, the Steelers' main motivation for again being the team that went 15-1 in 2004 and won the Super Bowl a season later is coming from within, not from a new coach or coordinator or a different set of circumstances.

"We really haven't played our best ball yet," Ward said. "It's a great feeling to start off the season 3-0 instead of 0-3, especially after last year. A lot of guys are hungry, we go out there playing with something to prove. A lot of people counted us out. We were kind of under the radar."

Even Cowher, in his new role as a CBS studio analyst, picked them to finish only third in the AFC North - even though he probably made that prediction in part to motivate them.

Faneca said there's no reaso n to think the Steelers wouldn't have been 3-0 if Cowher had stayed on the job. Left tackle Marvel Smith also won't credit the coaching change for the turnaround, and won't speculate where the Steelers would be if someone else was their coach.

"Really, that's in the past," he said. "I could really care less about that whole situation. I ain't even going to go down that road. ... Coaches coach, players play. Coaches can only put you in positions and situations where you can be successful, but you've got to go out there and do it."

Tomlin got his players' attention early with his structured and demanding offseason workouts and training. Still, the perceived notion that camp was far tougher under Tomlin than it was in Cowher's last few seasons is incorrect, Faneca said.

"It was a little lighter than what we have done," he said. "It was just probably less hitting, at least up front."

The impact of Tomlin's arrival on the Steelers turnaround is being debat ed because former Steelers assistant head coach Russ Grimm, the other finalist for the job, is now with Arizona. Ken Whisenhunt, the perceived front-runner when Cowher resigned, is the Cardinals' head coach.

The Whisenhunt-Grimm-Tomlin story line has generated considerable talk in Pittsburgh, though not so much in the Steelers' locker room.

All players go through multiple coaching changes as their football lives progress from high school to college to pro ball. Except for the few players who have been with Pittsburgh a long time, this was merely another such change.

"We're 3-0 with coach Tomlin," Ward said. "There's no looking back (wondering) if Russ or Whis was here."

Defensive end Brett Keisel would be disappointed if the Steelers weren't 3-0, regardless of who is coaching them.

"I feel like if we were less than that right now, I don't think we'd be where we should be," Keisel said. "I think 3-0 means we still have a lot of room for improveme nt. I'd rather be 16-0."

Notes: Roethlisberger spoke as though Ward (sprained knee) won't play. Ward, listed as doubtful, hasn't ruled out playing. ... Arizona RB Edgerrin James was the last running back to get 100 yards against Pittsburgh, in a November 2005 game for Indianapolis. ... Faneca on how Roethlisberger has more responsibility in offensive coordinator Bruce Arians' system than he did in Whisenhunt's: "I can definitely see where he would like it because he has a little more control. His hands are a little bit more dirty, and it definitely shows that he likes it."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_529546.html

tony hipchest
09-27-2007, 09:49 AM
"Really, that's in the past," he said. "I could really care less about that whole situation. I ain't even going to go down that road. ... Coaches coach, players play. Coaches can only put you in positions and situations where you can be successful, but you've got to go out there and do it."
well thats not a very juicy soundbite from marvel smith. i bet thats the first and last time the media will stop by his locker for a quote this season.

wheres keisel? hes a much better quote machine (and pretty funny too).

Defensive end Brett Keisel would be disappointed if the Steelers weren't 3-0, regardless of who is coaching them.

"I feel like if we were less than that right now, I don't think we'd be where we should be," Keisel said. "I think 3-0 means we still have a lot of room for improveme nt. I'd rather be 16-0."

ahhh.... thats better.

83-Steelers-43
09-27-2007, 09:51 AM
Defensive end Brett Keisel would be disappointed if the Steelers weren't 3-0, regardless of who is coaching them.

"I feel like if we were less than that right now, I don't think we'd be where we should be," Keisel said. "I think 3-0 means we still have a lot of room for improveme nt. I'd rather be 16-0."

Now THAT is the type of mentality you want from a player. Cheers to Keisel. :cheers:

SCSTILLER
09-27-2007, 10:28 AM
As for the coach not really making a difference, have to disagree. I remember the home loss to Baltimore last year, Cowher just stood at the end of the sideline singing to himself " I've gone to Carolina in my mind" and not doing anything. He did nothing to motivate the players or anything. Players do need pep talks, players need encouragement after a bad play, and players need help staying focused, that's where the coach comes in! Just my opinion

rog
09-27-2007, 10:58 AM
I'm not sure if the change in play is due to who the headcoach is or more to the style of the headcoach because the difference between Cowher on the sideline to Tomlin on the sideline is night and day. Cowher ran on emotion and Tomlin runs on preparation (not meaning Cowher was never prepared). Cowher yelled and got in their face Tomlin coaches and explains. Now I"m not saying one style is better than the other just different.

DACEB
09-27-2007, 11:41 AM
Is it just me or does this article seem a little contrived. None of the players quotes seem to point in the direction of Tomlin not playing a role in their success. Those of us fans that have paid close attention since the hiring, I believe, would all say that Tomlin has played a major role in the turnaround. I believe the coordinators have a huge role in the success also but Tomlin has let them coach, something it appears Cowher didn't always let Lebeau and the ST coaches do.

The players are the main reason, but as Marvel said, the coaches put you in position to win.

Dino 6 Rings
09-27-2007, 11:44 AM
Best thing about Tomlin, after a win, he focusses on the mistakes and where the team needs to improve. Yep, won a game, but we did this wrong, this wrong and this wrong...those will be fixed.

There can be no questioning that Cowher was just tired last year. He came back hoping to run on the "champ" mentality and see if the team could repeat. With what happened in the offseason to ben, and some other issues with the team, it was clear half way into the season Cowher probably wished he'd retired on top. That trickles down to the players. Just has having a new coach who is hungry and wants to win now, not in 5 years but right now, is trickling down to the players. Plus having the best D coordinator in history on your sideline, helps a ton.

tony hipchest
09-27-2007, 11:50 AM
Is it just me or does this article seem a little contrived. None of the players quotes seem to point in the direction of Tomlin not playing a role in their success. Those of us fans that have paid close attention since the hiring, I believe, would all say that Tomlin has played a major role in the turnaround. I believe the coordinators have a huge role in the success also but Tomlin has let them coach, something it appears Cowher didn't always let Lebeau and the ST coaches do.

The players are the main reason, but as Marvel said, the coaches put you in position to win.it is a bit contrived. theres really no way to minimize what impact a staff overhaul can have (good or bad/tomlin or norv turner).

To Ward, the Steelers' main motivation for again being the team that went 15-1 in 2004 and won the Super Bowl a season later is coming from within, not from a new coach or coordinator or a different set of circumstances.
if seeing the rooneys show cowher where the door is and then take a pass on who were thought to be 2 of the hottest coaching candidates out there dont motivate the players from being shown the same door, i dont know what will.

their paychecks also motivates them and im sure they all took notice that they arent gonna get paid the big bucks with the steelers to put up 8-8 seasons.

with tomlin in charge i think everybody is motivated with keeping their job along with saving a little face and restoring some pride from 2 seasons ago.

Mosca
09-27-2007, 12:49 PM
I don't think that if you asked Tomlin, he would say anything different. I am 100% certain that he would say that the only thing he has done is put them in a position to be successful, but it is still up to them to perform.

A lot of foofala about nothing, IMO.


Tom

Big D
09-27-2007, 12:57 PM
i'm so sick of fanecas attitude. He wanted whisenhunt or Grimm. How are things going down there is Arizona? I'm sorry but benching a young quarterback like matt leinart is pure stupidity.

MACH1
09-27-2007, 01:09 PM
i'm so sick of fanecas attitude. He wanted whisenhunt or Grimm. How are things going down there is Arizona? I'm sorry but benching a young quarterback like matt leinart is pure stupidity.

I have a feeling faneca may find out what its like in az next year.
I think tomlin has a lot to do with how the team is playing. Just think where we would be with someone like marvin lewis.

Big D
09-27-2007, 01:12 PM
I have a feeling faneca may find out what its like in az next year.
I think tomlin has a lot to do with how the team is playing. Just think where we would be with someone like marvin lewis.

I couldnt agree with you more. I dont see the cardinals breaking the bank to give faneca his "market value contract" I think Faneca will be playing for the redskins next year

TackleMeBen
09-27-2007, 01:36 PM
I'm not sure if the change in play is due to who the headcoach is or more to the style of the headcoach because the difference between Cowher on the sideline to Tomlin on the sideline is night and day. Cowher ran on emotion and Tomlin runs on preparation (not meaning Cowher was never prepared). Cowher yelled and got in their face Tomlin coaches and explains. Now I"m not saying one style is better than the other just different.

i guess some players take better to being explained their mistakes than being yelled at.

Preacher
09-27-2007, 02:31 PM
Actually... I LOVED Faneca's comments.

Faneca on how Roethlisberger has more responsibility in offensive coordinator Bruce Arians' system than he did in Whisenhunt's: "I can definitely see where he would like it because he has a little more control. His hands are a little bit more dirty, and it definitely shows that he likes it."


That last part is a big compliment. It SHOWS that he likes it. How, by how he is playing. By the games he is winning. By not throwing interceptions.

And on the article as a whole, I fully disagree. The team was ready to come out and hit people SQUARE IN THE MOUTH. WHy? Because they were sick and tired of hitting each other.

I think Cowher's team would have been 2-1 or 1-2 right now.. probably 2-1. However, the games would have been much closer against the Bills. We may have lost the game against SF.

Again, I can't help it. I really do think it is the coaching.

Dracula In Cleats
09-27-2007, 03:18 PM
I gotta say that the coaching has to play a big part in the Steelers fast start. Yeah, there are a lot of holdovers from the 05 team and they probably are looking to rebound. However, a fresh start and a different approach to the season from the new coaching staff must have certainly lit a fire under some of these guys. And since Tomlin came in with a reputation as not only a players coach, but a guy who really pays attention to detail you have to figure he was able to get these guys excited about turing things around in a hurry. He gave most of the veterans their due, but he also challenged them to be even better than they had been in the past. Tomlin didn't come at them with a "What have you done lately?" approach. He came at them with a challenge to be better than they had been before. And I think it's obvious they are responding.

However, winning breeds a good feeling. I'll be looking to see how this team responds when they have to come back after a loss or two as the season wears on.

augustashark
09-27-2007, 04:52 PM
Actually... I LOVED Faneca's comments.



That last part is a big compliment. It SHOWS that he likes it. How, by how he is playing. By the games he is winning. By not throwing interceptions.

And on the article as a whole, I fully disagree. The team was ready to come out and hit people SQUARE IN THE MOUTH. WHy? Because they were sick and tired of hitting each other.

I think Cowher's team would have been 2-1 or 1-2 right now.. probably 2-1. However, the games would have been much closer against the Bills. We may have lost the game against SF.

Again, I can't help it. I really do think it is the coaching.

Are you kidding. Cowher would be 1-2 or 2-1! Norv could be coaching the steelers and we would be 3-0. Games may have been closer, I don't know.

These are grown men (most of them) the last thing you should ever need is another grown man trying to get you up for a pro game.

Head coach, too much credit when times are good and too much blame when they are not.

There is a reason why the 9ers and cowboys won SB with diff coaches in the late 80's and 90's. Did you think that Barry Switzer was a great coach or did he just have very good and very motivated talent.

MarylandSteeler
09-27-2007, 05:10 PM
IMO I think that the Steelers are just gelling together. With Santonio Holmes and Heath Miller and Big Ben getting better with the offense and making better decisions. that is waht is making this team better. But, I alos think that Tomlin has something to do with it....not quite sure what it is but the team seems invigorated and ready to play good football.

83-Steelers-43
09-27-2007, 05:30 PM
I think it's a combination of things up to this point. Keeping in mind that we have played the Browns, Bills and 49ers....

Our o-line is playing better. Would still like to see better pass protection at times.

Roethlisberger's decision making is much improved. Throwing the ball away instead of forcing it for starters.

Defense is playing better. It helps that they are not on the field for the majority of the game. Offense is giving them a breather. Ike seems to be back to his old self. And in Jame Farriors own words, Tomlin is letting LeBeau do his own thing and we are seeing the results.

When it comes to Tomlin (from what I've gathered up to this point), he's consistent and he's a leader. I think he makes it clear to ALL of the players that no job is safe. It doesn't matter if your last name is Townsend or Taylor. I'm not sensing a buddy/buddy system with certain players nor do I see him going out of his way to pamper certain players no matter how much arse kissing is going on. The guy is a straight shooter. No B.S. Come to work, do your job and you have nothing to worry about.

As many were stating around the time Cowher was debating on staying or leaving......"Change is good at times".

Atlanta Dan
09-27-2007, 05:41 PM
Actually... I LOVED Faneca's comments.

And on the article as a whole, I fully disagree. The team was ready to come out and hit people SQUARE IN THE MOUTH. WHy? Because they were sick and tired of hitting each other.

.

Not according to these Faneca quotes in today's P-G:smile:

"Sometimes it's just circumstances, sometimes it's who you're playing, sometimes it's a little everything."

-- Alan Faneca, on the 3-0 start

Deserved or not, critics blamed the traditionally slow starts by Bill Cowher's Steelers on easy training camps. Then along came Mike Tomlin with a 3-0 start, and people linked it to the "tough" training camp he held in Latrobe this summer.

It sounds good, except for one thing. Tomlin's training camps were easier than those run by Cowher. At least, that's what guard Alan Faneca believes.

"The only thing I would say training camp-wise, it was a little lighter than what we've done in the past," Faneca said yesterday.

And here most everyone thought they were more difficult.

"That was y'all guys," Faneca told the media gathered around him.

While Tomlin scheduled 15 two-a-days, several were canceled and more than half were short special-teams practices. Other times, he cut the afternoon practices short.

Faneca cited his main reason for believing the new staff went easier on them.

"It was just probably less banging, at least up front."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07270/820885-66.stm

Faneca and Hines have both cooled off on the quotes recently - OTOH Ben apparently cannot shut up when it comes to sending zingers out Arizona's way.

As the Texas saying goes, "it ain't braggin' if it's true." Let's see if Ben is bragging or telling truths with his unceasing series of Whiz-grams after late Sunday.

I admit to having a bad feeling about Sunday's game.

83-Steelers-43
09-27-2007, 05:59 PM
I've been pleasantly surprised with Hines Ward.

He's going on the whole 'it's in the past, let it go, time to move' route instead of making idiotic and immature comments. Very refreshing and hats off to him.

As for Faneca, I've only seen him do one interview since the start of season. Seems to be keeping to himself for the most part. Not a bad thing when you have a disgruntled guard on your roster.

NateC
09-27-2007, 09:11 PM
Lol do you think if Ben Struggled Whiz woulda Benched him... Lol Lienart in his second year looks better than say Eli in his second year.. not a wise move and i like lienart and dont want him to be crap for rest or carrer cause of broken Confidence

SteelDogFan
09-27-2007, 10:27 PM
I also believe that coaching deserves a little more praise. I'll make one example; Chargers minus Marty. I know the Steelers had a nucleolus of talent but someone has to organize and motivate that talent. The NFL is made up of the best players in the world but why is that out of 41 superbowls there is only about 25 coaches who won them, maybe even less.....coaching.