View Full Version : Tomlin needs to snap his slump

12-14-2009, 06:03 AM
Tomlin needs to snap his slump
By Bob Smizik | Monday, 12:15 am.

These are not, as some have suggested, three meaningless games coming up for the Steelers. These games against Green Bay, Baltimore and Miami are loaded with meaning.

It’s no time to experiment. It’s time to win. A five-game losing streak is bad. An eight-game losing streak is worse.

If it requires using different players to make the team better, so be it. But it’s not time to flood the lineup with rookies and inexperienced players to see if they can play.

But beyond all of that, it’s time for Mike Tomlin to reassert his control of the team.

A lot has been written and said about the attitude of the Steelers during their humiliating defeat to the Cleveland Browns, which came four days after their humiliating defeat to the Oakland Raiders. There Mike Tomlinseems to be a near unanimity of opinion that the Steelers had considerably less than the required interest against the Browns.

No less an authority that Jerome Bettis questioned the Steelers attitude on his radio show Friday on 1250 ESPN. According to Joe Starkey‘s column in the Tribune-Review, Bettis said:

``That did not look like a team that even cared about being in the playoffs."

That’s a harsh condemnation from a revered former teammate.

Bettis further said, ``I think it starts at the top. You have to look at, is the head coach getting through to them?"

That, too, is a harsh condemnation.

Bettis, an all-time Steelers great and future Hall of Famer, never played for Tomlin. But he played with and was a leader of many of the men Tomlin coaches. He knows what goes on in a locker room. He knows what goes on in the minds of players.

Tomlin is falling into a dangerous trap: Big talk; little action.

If you’re planning to ``unleash hell,’’ as Tomlin suggested earlier this month, better back it up with deeds. Tomlin could not.

If you’re promising something approaching significant changes in your lineup, do it. Tomlin did not Thursday after suggesting there would be in the aftermath of the loss to Oakland.

Players were looking for leadership and direction. Tomlin did not supply it.

Think about Tomlin’s ``unleash hell’’ comment, which was made after the loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Here’s the full quote:

``We will unleash hell here in December because we have to. We won't go in a shell. We'll go into attack mode, because that's what's required."

I can hear the troops snickering amongst themselves when rehashing that comment.

What kind of hell is a coach going to unleash? If James Harrison made that comment, it would have some teeth. But coming from the coach of a team that had lost its third straight game, it was, in retrospect, kind of silly.

When bosses -- not just football coaches -- fail to back up their words, they lose the respect of their employees.

Bill Cowher would sometimes say of a player, ``I like the look in his eyes.’’

I never put much stock in that but I found myself not liking the look in Tomlin’s eyes Thursday night. He looked a little lost and without any answers.

He’s going to have to come up with some answers in a hurry or face ending the season with an eight-game losing streak. If the Steelers could not score a touchdown against the No. 32 defense in the NFL, Cleveland, what are they going to do Sunday against the No. 1 defense in the NFL, Green Bay?

And what are they going to do against Baltimore and Miami, two teams that are considerably better than the clubs the Steelers have been losing to.

If Tomlin thinks rookies Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett can help the team at cornerback, give them some opportunity. The secondary has been so weak that one of both might be an improvement. But beyond any personnel changes, tweaking or massive, Tomlin needs to regain the respect of his team.

It has been said on talk radio this week that the Steelers have a divided locker room. For Tomlin, that’s the good news. He has to hope it’s not a united locker room -- against him

12-14-2009, 06:22 AM
They need to win the next three games for even some hope of the playoffs. If they do make it to the play offs, it would be miracle, but still fire Arians and try to get Troy back. I am not blaming Tomlin for all of this. I am sure he's doing the best he can to help this team, but the Steelers are just not clicking. For the last 5 weeks, this was probably their routine. They practice hard, they do great in practice, but when it comes down to the games they suck. It looks like they are having stage freight, surprising for a team that had gone to the superbowl in the previous year.

12-14-2009, 08:39 AM
When a team is losing there is always plenty of blame to be thrown around. I don't have the answer but I do hope that things get turned around soon.

12-14-2009, 08:40 AM
To me, this team looks like a team that has lost belief in the "plan." Or, more likely, they don't even know what the plan is. This all looks to me like a coach that has taken over a team that had many succesful veterans on it already and felt somewhat intimidated by it all.

Tomlin is almost like a step-parent - he's come into a relationship where the kids are already in their teens & they think they've done it all & know it all. At first, he has to handle things gently so as not to lose them right away. But, then the kids take advantage of his kindness & start pushing boundaries and start testing him. Then they rebel and say "you're not my dad & you can't tell me what to do & I'm 18 & I can do what I want..." He needs to crack the whip & let the vets know who's in charge now!!!!

** Can you tell I have teenagers?**