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lamberts-lost-tooth
12-09-2008, 09:12 AM
Tomlin's trademarks showing on defense
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In 2006, the Steelers ranked No. 20 in the NFL in pass defense and No. 9 in total defense.

Two years later, with essentially the same core of players, the same defensive coordinator and most of the same position coaches, the Steelers are the top-ranked defense in every major statistical category with three games remaining in the regular season.

The difference? Head coach Mike Tomlin, whose 20-9 record in his first two seasons is the best start in franchise history.

Of course, James Harrison is now playing right outside linebacker instead of Joey Porter, and LaMarr Woodley is the new left outside linebacker in place of Clark Haggans, but the other nine starters remain.

Tomlin's impact on the defense alone should make him a legitimate candidate for NFL coach of the year. No team since the 1991 Philadelphia Eagles has finished the season No. 1 in all three major defensive categories as the Steelers are on the verge of doing. The Steelers ranked No. 1 in total defense and No. 3 in pass defense in 2007, Tomlin's first season.

What makes Tomlin's influence more impressive is that the Steelers are 10-3 this season playing what was considered before the season as the league's most difficult schedule. The Steelers have played or will face most of the league's playoff contenders. That includes the Colts, Patriots, Ravens (twice) and Titans in the AFC; the Giants, Cowboys, Eagles and Redskins in the NFC.

Granted, coach Jeff Fisher's Titans are 12-1 and already have clinched the AFC South. Fisher is a leading candidate for coach of the year, as he should be. However, the Titans have played an easier schedule than the Steelers, with wins over the 0-13 Lions, 1-11-1 Bengals and 2-11 Chiefs.

Raise your hand if you predicted the Steelers would be 10-3 with three games to play.

A defensive coach, it's no surprise that Tomlin's biggest influence has been on defense. But Tomlin's strength as a head coach is that he's comfortable enough with himself to allow his assistants to work without allowing his ego to take over.

He gives defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau more freedom to experiment and gamble than LeBeau had under former coach Bill Cowher while quietly tailoring his secondary -- he previously coached the secondary in Tampa Bay -- and the cornerbacks in particular.

"The DB's did a great job covering. They didn't let them get nothing," inside linebacker Larry Foote said of the secondary's performance Sunday against Dallas and quarterback Tony Romo.

Safety Troy Polamalu grabbed his NFL-leading seventh interception against the Cowboys, a career high. And, of course, cornerback Deshea Townsend returned a Romo interception for a touchdown in the game's final two minutes to fuel the Steelers' 20-13 win at Heinz Field.

What a difference a head coach makes.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_602079.html

DACEB
12-09-2008, 10:15 AM
I'm just going to toss this out there just for discussion.

Living in Mass., I listen to WEEI. After the win over the Pats, Belicheat said that they were prepared for everything we did on defense (ill prepared). Stating that we do what we do, and that our schemes are always the same. He did praise our D, saying they played extremely well (duh).

So I ask you, while I believe Tomlin has made a difference in the secondary, do you think this is more due to S'back & Wood or Coach T?

I've also heard Tomlin say that we don't change our schemes, stating the same "we do what we do".

Blitzburgh_Fever
12-09-2008, 10:28 AM
So I ask you, while I believe Tomlin has made a difference in the secondary, do you think this is more due to S'back & Wood or Coach T?

I think I remember reading Woodley was one of "Tomlin's guys" somewhere, but that might've been Timmons. Either way, Tomlin is the guy making the roster changes.


I've also heard Tomlin say that we don't change our schemes, stating the same "we do what we do".

Probably true, but damn if we don't do what we do better every game :laughing:

Realistically last year we saw Tomlin keep the ship afloat and not make too many major changes. This year we saw him make appropriate half-time adjustments more times than not, implement the roster changes necessary to produce one of the best defense in the history of the NFL, and provide depth to the roster where we don't drop due to injuries, like so many other teams have this year. I'm not saying this is all Tomlin, but it'd be silly to say he didn't have a hand in it.

I think you're probably right though, we don't change things too much in our philosophy. Our execution just gets sharper and our discipline keeps us from giving up huge plays -- and capitalizing on poor ones by the opposing team.

DACEB
12-09-2008, 01:08 PM
This year we saw Tomlin make appropriate half-time adjustments more times than not, implement the roster changes necessary to produce one of the best defense in the history of the NFL, and provide depth to the roster where we don't drop due to injuries, like so many other teams have this year. I'm not saying this is all Tomlin, but it'd be silly to say he didn't have a hand in it.

Great points, Blitz. He's also rotated guys and practiced smarter this time around and I believe that plays a role in the 2nd half dominance (of games) the team has displayed this season.

hindes204
12-09-2008, 01:17 PM
Great points, Blitz. He's also rotated guys and practiced smarter this time around and I believe that plays a role in the 2nd half dominance (of games) the team has displayed this season.

The way we play in the second half this season is unbelievable...and you have to give credit where credit is due, to Coach Tomlin. When Cowher left I was very dissapointed, but to see the direction in which Tomlin has taken this team, I can say now, that I wouldn't want any other coach

tyler289
12-09-2008, 01:25 PM
Tomlin has done an awesome job this season.

He deserves a lot of credit.

But I also think a large reason for our defensive resurgance is one man: Troy P. He is officially back.

TerribleSteelyMcBeam
12-09-2008, 02:23 PM
so what if we "do what we do"

thats the beauty of it... what are you gonna do about it?


nothing lol

DACEB
12-09-2008, 02:50 PM
so what if we "do what we do"
thats the beauty of it... what are you gonna do about it?

nothing lol

There's just something bada$$ about that, isn't there. Here it is, try and stop it!!

hindes204
12-09-2008, 03:03 PM
LeBeau is good at mixing in different blitz packages and disquising coverages....but your right, most opponents know exactly what were coming with....they just cant stop us

LetsRock
12-09-2008, 03:05 PM
The thing I like from Tomlin over Cowher is that Tomlin will step on the other teams neck and then kick them in the nuts with the other foot. Cowher would get a lead and go conservative and be satisfied to protect a lead. I hate the 'turtle".