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Old 09-26-2008, 06:54 PM   #1

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Default In Defense of Mike Tomlin

Recently there's a lot of "fire Tomlin" hyperbole, because we lost an (admittedly ugly) game.

I find this hard to understand--possibly we're just spoiled as Steelers fans, having such infrequent coaching changes, but it seems like people often overlook Tomlin's accomplishments, and dwell on the occasional imperfection. Here are a few points in defense of Mike Tomlin:

1. The Steelers, in Cowher's last year, were a train wreck. For as talented a team as we were in the previous years, to finish 8-8 was unacceptable. The defense was strong, with occasional weaknesses in the passing game--the real problem was that Roethlisberger had been in the motorcycle accident and was terrible. That, combined with a poor offensive line, led to a horrifically inconsistant offense(go look up the stats from the Raiders game that year) that often ended up scoring for both teams.

2. Tomlin inherited this talented, disorganized team. As far as I can tell/remember (someone let me know if I'm missing someone), the Steelers didn't gain a single new starter between Cowher's departure and Tomlin's ascension. In fact, players such as Alan Faneca, Marvel Smith, Casey Hampton, and James Farrior all got older. Yet the Steelers finished 10-6 last year despite Willie Parker, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Marvel Smith, Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, Deshea Townsend, and Troy Polamalu all missing time.

3. The secondary (Tomlin's specialty) has improved markedly since Tomlin was hired--both Deshea Townsend and Ike Taylor had career years last year, and Bryant McFadden is playing well so far. The only guy who's been a disappointment is Anthony Smith, and it seems Tomlin is pretty much done with him.

4. Here are some of Tomlin's personnel decisions (sometimes distinguishable from the FO):
~Giving James Harrison a starting role
~Using Najeh Davenport
~Drafting Woodley and Timmons, as well as William Gay
~Acquiring Keyaron Fox and Donovon Woods--looks like a good idea so far.
~on the negative side, he also recommended Mahan.

The jury is still out on Tomlin, but he's made enough good decisions that he deserves a little more patience than it seems like he's gotten.
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