View Full Version : Tomlin spreads blame for letdown in pass defense

11-20-2010, 12:10 AM
Tomlin spreads blame for letdown in pass defense
By John Harris
Saturday, November 20, 2010

The words should be chilling to Steelers fans.

Asked about the play of his secondary after New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns in a 13-point Steelers loss, coach Mike Tomlin passed the buck to his front seven.

"Our pass defense is a combination of a lot of people. Not only corners but safties and linebackers and (pass) rush,'' Tomlin said. "A lot of the things that went on in that game, many of them were underneath throws that aren't directly involving cornerback play.''

Brady wasn't sacked in 43 attempts. With no consistent pass rush to force him to hurry his throws, Brady had plenty of time to target nine different receivers. Brady averaged 8.1 yards per completion, the highest average permitted by the Steelers this season.

"We weren't able to get consistent pressure,'' said Tomlin after the game.

Two days later, when he had a chance to view game tape, Tomlin added, "We all accept responsibility for our inability to consistently stop the New England Patriots. Coaches, players everyone. Not only the cornerback position.''

Added inside linebacker and defensive captain James Farrior: "We can't put those guys (cornerbacks) on an island and expect them to cover for a long time. We have to get a better pass rush. We definitely have to take it upon the front seven and the guys that are rushing the quarterback to have those guys' backs. They've got the hardest job on the field.''

Steelers cornerbacks have been a lightning rod for criticism following losses to Baltimore, New Orleans and New England. However, Tomlin's comments offered a different perspective about what went wrong defensively in those games.

The lack of a pass rush, for one.

In their three losses, the Steelers allowed six touchdown passes against only three sacks in 124 pass attempts.

"There were times when we could have done things better. And there were times there was nothing you could do about it,'' said outside linebacker James Harrison, who leads the Steelers with seven sacks this season. "We could have had more pressure when Brady held the ball long enough to where we could have got there.''

Former New England safety Rodney Harrison offered another perspective that could help explain Brady's success against the Steelers.

Appearing on NBC, Harrison predicted before last week's game that Steelers cornerbacks would play man-to-man against New England's receivers because "the teams that have beaten the Patriots (Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets) played tight man-to-man coverage. The Patriots love those short, intermediate routes. If you're playing zone coverage like the Pittsburgh Steelers do all the time, there's some openings. But I think they're going to play man coverage.''

The Steelers played mostly zone against New England as Brady had a field day.

"In pass coverage, it's all on us because we're the guys covering the people who catch the ball,'' free safety Ryan Clark said. "We know it all works together. We know that when James (Harrison) and LaMarr (Woodley) are getting to the quarterback, we're a better team. But we also need to give them time to get back there. You can't let Tom Brady throw on his third step or his fifth step, or have a guy wide open if you expect the rush to get there.''

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

11-20-2010, 03:28 AM
OK I put this on Tomlin then. If the teams that beat the Pats played tight man and the Pats love the short crossing and the intermediate routes then why in hell do you play zone? Why would you play to their strengths and not their weaknesses? Makes no sense to me.

We need better coaching from the head coach. When your coordinators won't make adjustments, it is up to the head guy to make them do it.

Come on Tomlin, just don't accept the blame, do something about it.

11-20-2010, 08:05 AM
So does this mean William Gay is not going?

11-20-2010, 09:13 AM
Slow ass James Farrior can not cover anymore.

Fire Haley
11-20-2010, 03:31 PM
The Steelers played mostly zone against New England as Brady had a field day.

So LeBeau should be fired?

11-20-2010, 03:55 PM
It seems like the coaching staff is to hard headed. LeBeau has called great plays for years, he might be the best defensive coordinator there is, but when a team is burning your zone's then you play man. That's common sense. Arians has been calling plays and watching them fail for years and hasn't changed. I agree with Tomlin that all 11 guys on defense are responsible for pass defense, but so is he. If the coordinators aren't making the right call Tomlin has to step up. Watching player error is discomforting, watching coordinator and coaching error play after play is painstaking. Hard headedness will not when you very many games.

11-20-2010, 03:57 PM
The Steelers played mostly zone against New England as Brady had a field day.

So LeBeau should be fired?

No, but he should be held accountable. Even the best have bad days, and the fact that in 3 or 4 heartbreaking losses this decade against the Pats, the Pats used the exact same offensive strategy against us it disturbing....

We only rushed 3 the whole game, and dropped everybody into coverage, playing our usual soft zones that Brady always picks apart, 10 to 15 yards a pop.

As soon as they changed up in the 4th quarter and started rushing Brady, what happened? He got a 15-yard penalty for thowing the ball away to the sideline cameraman, got thrown to the ground a few times, and generally did not complete another pass the rest of the game....had we done that starting in the 1st quarter, we would have really given Justin Bieber something to yell about and flail his mop around about on the sidelines....

11-20-2010, 06:37 PM
I am a HUGE LeBeau fan....but after that game in which every long time Steeler fan KNEW they would dink and dunk us with pass attempts...and run very little...We still could not call the right plays to stop them. Run 9 yards for a hook pattern...there's the ball...etc...Same thing happens every time we play the Pats. As amazing as LeBeau has been for us...that IMO is our weak area in this one sided rivalry. We can't keep doing the same thing on D each time we play them...lets try something new.

11-20-2010, 07:45 PM
They do the same thing every time, it's like they are just replaying the same games