The Steelers' DeMarcus Van Dyke was called for holding against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium Oct. 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
Throwing around words such as “egregious” and “repeat offenders,” Mike Tomlin sounded more like a judge than a football coach.
He’s not about to go soft on those he finds guilty.
Tomlin is running out of patience with all the penalties on Steelers’ special teams. Four were called Sunday in Cincinnati, all for holding, that cost the Steelers 94 yards’ worth of returns.
The most costly mistake was a holding penalty by DeMarcus Van Dyke that wiped out a 33-yard punt return by Antonio Brown to the Bengals’ 44. The Steelers were pushed back to their 13, and Ben Roethlisberger fumbled to set up a Bengals touchdown on the next play.
In Oakland, a Brown punt return for an apparent touchdown was nullified by penalties for blocking below the waist and holding.
“We believe we have some dynamic return men,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “Penalties negated that effort. What is going on in our return game from a penalty standpoint is disturbing.”
The Steelers fired special teams coordinator Al Everest just before the season began and replaced him with assistant Amos Jones, yet they already have 11 special teams penalties for 102 yards.
“To be quite honest with you, the multiple offenders and egregious offenders are going to be watching as opposed to playing as soon as we get some options as to who plays and who doesn’t,” Tomlin said. “Right now, with injuries, we have minimal options.”
Van Dyke has three holding penalties in the past two games, plus an earlier penalty for going out of bounds while playing a punt. Stevenson Sylvester has two holding calls. Ike Taylor, Jason Worilds and Will Allen all have one penalty each; Adrian Robinson had one nullified.
Tomlin hopes that losing a job will serve as a deterrent to younger players trying to make their way in the NFL.
“You can take the helmet off them and have them watch,” Tomlin said. “That’s what we intend to do if they don’t improve in that area.”