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mesaSteeler
12-12-2009, 12:14 AM
Steelers' Tomlin isn't worried about division
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/print_657447.html
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hines Ward distilled a mystifying five-week stretch into three words when the Steelers wide receiver said, "Frustrating. Disappointing. Embarrassing."

"Good word by Hines, embarrassing," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said, "and disappointing."

Where the free-falling Steelers go from here is anybody's guess.

After a 13-6 loss to the Browns on Thursday night, one that left their playoff chances on life support, coach Mike Tomlin said changes could be coming.

But he said the same thing earlier in the week, and the Steelers' starting lineup remained intact for the must-win game against Browns.

The much-anticipated changes amounted to minor ones in Cleveland.

Rookie cornerback Joe Burnett spelled both William Gay and Ike Taylor. Rashard Mendenhall replaced Mewelde Moore as the Steelers' third-down back. Wide receiver Santonio Holmes saw his first action as a punt returner this season.

"None of those things were effective in determining the outcome of the football game," Tomlin said. "We will continue to take that approach (of making changes) while moving forward."

Rookie cornerback Keenan Lewis, whom Tomlin had said the Steelers wanted to take a good look earlier in the week, didn't even dress against the Browns.

He could get an opportunity Dec. 20 when the Green Bay Packers visit Heinz Field, especially with Taylor coming off another lackluster performance.

Tomlin may also focus on the offensive line during the extra time he has to scrutinize — and try to fix — the reigning Super Bowl champions.

The Browns, who entered Thursday night's game last in the NFL in total defense, sacked Roethlisberger eight times. Several of those came after a defender got a free run at Roethlisberger because of confusion among the offensive linemen.

The Browns, in fact, beat their archrivals at their own game by disguising their blitzes — and keeping the Steelers guessing as to which players were rushing and which ones were dropping into coverage.

That is something that Steelers have long done to their opponents, and especially the Browns, under defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

"It was something that was just very brand new for us," left tackle Max Starks said of Cleveland's scheme. "We were kind of slow to pick up on it, but we finally did. They blitzed (defensive backs), linebackers, dropped (defensive) linemen. It was something that was tough at the beginning."

Tomlin's assessment: "The protection of our quarterback was a big-time issue. Once we got some things communicated, I thought we were soft at times, and we lost a few individual battles."

One of the biggest battles facing the Steelers is not turning on one another.

Tomlin said he is not worried about a "close-knit" group coming apart in the midst of a five-game losing streak.

But the Steelers entered the season with their sights set on nothing less than a return to the Super Bowl. It will now take a minor miracle just for them to make the playoffs.

If there is one consolation to the way the Steelers are playing: there shouldn't be too much of a concern about the players watching what other teams fighting for a postseason berth are doing since the Steelers have to focus on themselves.

"We can't even worry about playoffs until we win a game," veteran cornerback Deshea Townsend said. "We've got to prepare like that's our motto."

As the Steelers search for answers — foremost among the questions are why their defense has lost its mojo and why an offense that will have a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers this season still comes up short at times — this much as certain: they have been sufficiently humbled.

"Any given Sunday, any team can win," Starks said. "Everybody's a professional at this level, everybody made it here because they're the best at what they do, so you have to respect that, and you have to appreciate that."

Not that Casey Hampton wanted to hear that following the Steelers' third loss in four weeks to teams that have a combined nine victories.

"We're too good to be losing these types of games, to these types of teams," the veteran nose tackle said. "You can say there's parity and (expletive), that you can lose to anybody, man that's ridiculous. It's embarrassing."

Tomlin's immediate task will be tapping into such pride and using it to get the Steelers out of their current funk.

With the players gone for the weekend — Tomlin said it had been determined before the loss in Cleveland to give them an extended break — the third-year coach said he and his staff will "work our tails off to put together a good plan."

Executing whatever plan emerges from a long weekend at the Steelers' practice facility will ultimately be up to the players.

"Fighting and sticking together are not going to win football games," Tomlin said. "Performance is."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

("Tomlin said it had been determined before the loss in Cleveland to give them an extended break.

" A extended break?!!!

With the way they are tackling and covering?!!!

Give me a break Tomlin, get your team working on fundamentals! - mesa)

Steelerfreak58
12-12-2009, 12:25 AM
Meh.

I will still be watching every frickin game like a hawk and praying other teams stumble as hard as we have but there is nothing anyone of them, staff or player is going to say at this point that is going to change anything. Lots of talk and little action means nothing.They have to win the last 3 to show me they mean what they say and are willing to back it up and finish 9-7 with at least a winning record and a little bit of dignity and pride.

Sharkissle29
12-12-2009, 12:30 AM
at this point ill watch the game if its on, but wont go out of my way to watch them like i normally would.

ill prolly just follow them on nfl.com or something, hurts too much to watch

tony hipchest
12-12-2009, 12:32 AM
("Tomlin said it had been determined before the loss in Cleveland to give them an extended break.

" A extended break?!!!

With the way they are tackling and covering?!!!

Give me a break Tomlin, get your team working on fundamentals! - mesa)

unfortunately fundamentals dont mean shit at this point. we all know these players know how to play. it was proven last year against the toughest schedule in league history.

all of a sudden, against the leagues weakest schedule, we cant win against the dregs of the nfl. that is on coaching and it starts from the top.

firing the likes of a. harrison and a. madison isnt going to help, and replacing logan on returns isnt the answer either.

its time to start looking further up the chain (maybe even beyond positional coaches who accidentally send internet porn to the commish). :noidea:

mesaSteeler
12-12-2009, 12:35 AM
unfortunately fundamentals dont mean shit at this point. we all know these players know how to play. it was proven last year against the toughest schedule in league history.

all of a sudden, against the leagues weakest schedule, we cant win against the dregs of the nfl. that is on coaching and it starts from the top.

firing the likes of a. harrison and a. madison isnt going to help, and replacing logan on returns isnt the answer either.

its time to start looking further up the chain (maybe even beyond positional coaches who accidentally send internet porn to the commish). :noidea:

Well we may have to disagree on this one. I think a reemphasizes on the fundamentals might help turn this team around.

Steeldude
12-12-2009, 07:23 AM
"It was something that was just very brand new for us," left tackle Max Starks said of Cleveland's scheme. "We were kind of slow to pick up on it, but we finally did.

when? after the game? how was it new for them? is zierlein really this bad? i knew he wasn't good, but that awful?

the third-year coach said he and his staff will "work our tails off to put together a good plan

and that's their best? losing to perhaps the worst team in the NFL? incapable of scoring a single TD against one the worst defenses in the NFL.

Rookie cornerback Keenan Lewis, whom Tomlin had said the Steelers wanted to take a good look earlier in the week, didn't even dress against the Browns

absolutely not a surprise.

Rashard Mendenhall replaced Mewelde Moore as the Steelers' third-down back

why would that even be a change? moore is fine as the 3rd back. problem is arians doesn't utilize him correctly. again, no surprise at all

Steeldude
12-12-2009, 10:54 AM
its time to start looking further up the chain (maybe even beyond positional coaches who accidentally send internet porn to the commish).

yep

markymarc
12-12-2009, 01:31 PM
I can't believe this team couldn't even play for pride against the Browns. And I am done listening to what Tomlin and the players have to say after losses. They are not getting it done on the field and until that happens this talking is pointless.