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alittlejazzbird
12-06-2007, 11:29 AM
Tomlin carries on tradition, not afraid of perfect Pats
by Damon Hack
Posted: Thursday December 6, 2007 11:26AM; Updated: Thursday December 6, 2007 11:26AM

A year ago, most of the country had never heard of Mike Tomlin. He was the Vikings' first-year defensive coordinator, someone whose name was easily confused with the Boston Red Sox reliever. In quick order, he elevated the Minnesota's defense from No. 21 in 2005 to No. 8 in 2006, the kind of improvement that turned heads and opened eyes.

On Sunday at Gillette Stadium, Tomlin will introduce himself to a new audience when he brings the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3) to New England (12-0) and tries to take down a Patriots team that hasn't lost a game since January.

"We're approaching this week like we approach any other week," Tomlin, the Steelers first-year coach, said Wednesday during a conference call. "We have no control over who we play, the schemes they prepare, and things of that nature. We focus on what it is that we do and how we prepare and, ultimately, how we perform."

While Tomlin is playing down the hype of the matchup -- at least publicly -- a Steelers victory on Sunday would lift his rookie season from excellent to other-worldly. It might even elevate him to the front of the pack in the voting for coach of the year.

At the very least, the 35-year-old Tomlin has already earned a place in that conversation. Though he took over a talented team, Tomlin's transition didn't have the malaise and lethargy that visited the San Diego Chargers and NorvTurner early this season.

Coming from a 4-3 defensive background, Tomlin kept DickLeBeau's 3-4 system intact, blending his own beliefs with the style that has marked Steelers defenses for decades. If anything, the bedrock of the Steelers is the same under Tomlin, who preaches accountability, toughness and physicality.

"It's not only the Steelers' story -- that's the story of this game, the game of football," Tomlin said. "I think that's just the way this game was meant to be played. Most people that are good play the game that way."

Every week, Tomlin compiles a report that tells his players what is lacking and what needs improvement. Though he is not as confrontational as his predecessor, Bill Cowher, Tomlin has his own way of conveying a message, says running back Willie Parker.

"He doesn't sugarcoat anything that isn't up to his caliber or his standard," Parker said during a conference call. "He'll let you know."

While Sunday's game represents Tomlin's first foray against Bill Belichick, the Steelers and Patriots have a recent history almost as rich as Patriots-Colts. In the 2001 and 2004 seasons, New England advanced to the Super Bowl after defeating Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship game. During the '04 season, the Steelers ended New England's 21-game winning streak, a victory memorable for linebacker Joey Porter pounding Tom Brady and forcing him into mistakes.

Porter is gone, but the Steelers have restocked with James Harrison, another pass-rushing, outside linebacker who chases quarterbacks from the blind side.

The Patriots, for their part, have looked tired the last couple of weeks, as if the burden of carrying a perfect record into December is catching up with them. Defensively, the tackling hasn't been as crisp and the pass rush seems a step slow. Even the offense has shown a few bugs, with receivers dropping passes and Brady facing more heat in the pocket than he has all year.

While Belichick would never admit weakness, he gave the players a rare day off from practice Wednesday following three consecutive prime-time games against the Bills, Eagles and Ravens. (Asked if the rest was the result of the night games, Belichick said the Patriots' coaching staff wanted to use the time to sharpen the game plan for Pittsburgh before presenting it to the players.)

Blowout wins have been the story of the Patriots' season, but so have the nail-biting, emotional victories: at Dallas on Oct. 14, at Indianapolis on Nov. 4, vs. Philadelphia on Nov. 25, at Baltimore last Monday.

Now, the Patriots face a Steelers team that has listened all season to people telling them they aren't in New England's class. That still could be the case, but you get the feeling the Steelers are glad they have three hours Sunday to figure it out.

"Their quest to go undefeated is not our story -- that's their story," Tomlin said. "Our story is that we play them this week and we want to beat them because they're on our schedule. We're going to play football this weekend."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/damon_hack/12/06/steelers/index.html

Dino 6 Rings
12-06-2007, 11:32 AM
We want to beat them because they're on our schedule...

Nuff Said.

TackleMeBen
12-06-2007, 11:40 AM
you have to love tomlin. he is cool and collective under all the pressure of going against the evil empire!

HometownGal
12-06-2007, 11:48 AM
Good read, jazzy - thanks! :cheers:

(Asked if the rest was the result of the night games, Belichick said the Patriots' coaching staff wanted to use the time to make sure their videocameras were serviced and charged and ready to go for Pittsburgh.)


:toofunny::toofunny:

"Their quest to go undefeated is not our story -- that's their story," Tomlin said. "Our story is that we play them this week and we want to beat them because they're on our schedule. We're going to play football this weekend."


I watched clips of Tomlin last night on KDKA and not only heard the above statement, but watched his facial expression as he made it. He was dead serious and didn't blink an eye as he looked directly into the camera. You gotta love Tomlin's straight up, no bullshit mindset. :tt02:

SuzyPeppercorn
12-06-2007, 12:02 PM
i hope tomlin's attitude rubs off onto the players. i hope the steelers play like their not scared.

i want to see onside kicks, gutsy plays. no bs.

lets go steelers:tt02:

SteelerFanInCA
12-06-2007, 12:03 PM
One week at a time. I love Tomlin's mentality on this. Is it Sunday yet?

MrTibbs
12-06-2007, 12:29 PM
you have to love tomlin. he is cool and collective under all the pressure of going against the evil empire!

Like when he was about to cry after the Jets loss during his interview?

WisconsinSteelerMan
12-06-2007, 12:35 PM
Gosh, I can't wait for this game. Time for our men to put their money where their mouth is. I actually get to see this game Sunday, so I am doubly pumped!!!

TackleMeBen
12-06-2007, 12:43 PM
Like when he was about to cry after the Jets loss during his interview?]

was he??? b/c i dont recall that.. maybe its your blindness that was seeing that..

RunWillieRun
12-06-2007, 12:50 PM
Like when he was about to cry after the Jets loss during his interview?

The only one who cries in football is ass-chin brady. Every play something doesn't go his way you see him crying to the refs.


(and Kordell Stewart, but we don't need to bring that up)

19ward86
12-06-2007, 01:58 PM
that would be horrible if he was scared. those types of titles make wonder why someone would even think that a steeler would ever be scared.

The_WARDen
12-06-2007, 02:12 PM
The only one who cries in football is ass-chin brady. Every play something doesn't go his way you see him crying to the refs.


That's so true...don't think I've ever seen a bigger whiny biatch than Marsha!

stillers4me
12-06-2007, 04:30 PM
ummmmmmm.....Carson said he was skeered................................

Dino 6 Rings
12-06-2007, 04:44 PM
I expect some Pats fans to be crying this Sunday.

Not only will the perfect season end, but Doubt will begin to rear its ugly head and "the fear" will strike them deep into their hearts.

Sunday, the most Violent Defense in football is going to introduce itself to the "Greatest Offense" in football.

I don't expect any gentlemen hand shakes after this one.

SteelerFanInCA
12-06-2007, 05:52 PM
It's time to put on the big boy pads. This will definitely be a big challenge this week.

eafratitpm3
12-06-2007, 06:19 PM
The Steelers have nothing to lose here, the whole world (except STEELER NATION) expects the Cheatriots to win so when we spank that A** sunday afternoon maybe all these Brady knob-slobbing announcers will finally give the Steelers their due.

HometownGal
12-06-2007, 06:41 PM
I expect some Pats fans to be crying this Sunday.



Yeah, they'll be crying when they fall on their doopas from jumping off the bandwagon. :chicken:

msafford
12-06-2007, 08:02 PM
Gosh, I can't wait for this game. Time for our men to put their money where their mouth is. I actually get to see this game Sunday, so I am doubly pumped!!!

Lucky bum! I get to be subjected to the "lovely" Browns game. Oh boy. Of course....whenever I can't see the Steelers on TV, they usually beat some serious tail, so I guess we're ok. :tt02:

fansince'76
12-07-2007, 03:25 PM
Like when he was about to cry after the Jets loss during his interview?

Yeah, right. Maybe he will grow up to be like Belichick and begin cheating on his wife, sucker punching cameramen from behind and conduct all his interviews with a series of monosyllabic grunts and groans. IOW, become the same sort of classless d*ckhead you bandwagoners seem to worship and admire so much. :coffee:

Edman
12-07-2007, 04:19 PM
Tomlin's not scared is he?

That's good. Let's see how the playcalling and execution goes. Against a team like the Pats, you have to be aggressive and play to win.

Atlanta Dan
12-07-2007, 05:11 PM
Lucky bum! I get to be subjected to the "lovely" Browns game. Oh boy. Of course....whenever I can't see the Steelers on TV, they usually beat some serious tail, so I guess we're ok. :tt02:

Sorry to hear you get Browns-Jets

Two words to cure that problem - Sunday Ticket

I know I am an addict (the first step to recovery is acknowledging the sickness), but DirecTV could do a major increase in the price and still have me.

alittlejazzbird
12-07-2007, 06:13 PM
Tomlin's not scared is he?

That's good. Let's see how the playcalling and execution goes. Against a team like the Pats, you have to be aggressive and play to win.

Absolutely right, Edman. We can debate until the end of time, but it will finally all come down to simple playcalling and execution. Until a couple weeks ago, execution was something the Pats did exponentially better than anyone else. Lately, though, the playing field has leveled some, and their execution over the last two weeks has been average to good.

If the Steelers can match good with good (or great), then they have a real shot at winning. They have to make calls on both sides of the ball that take advantage of our strengths and the Pats' weaknesses, and our guys have to be smart and relentless on the attack.