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Old 02-14-2007, 10:03 AM   #1
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Default Tomlin's defensive plans still unknown

By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Mike Tomlin, who is following two coaches that won 342 regular-season NFL games between them, said his approach to his new job isn't any different from the one he would take if he were a mortgage broker.
It is fitting that the Steelers' new coach would choose an occupation so bound to numbers for his comparison.

Numbers are at the root of the intrigue Tomlin brings to the Steelers: Will he go with a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense?

The Steelers are built to play the former, while Tomlin received the equivalent of a master's degree in the latter. Tomlin has not tipped his hand as to what shape the Steelers' defense will take next season, and Monday he downplayed the significance of schemes.

"The elite players defy scheme. They do," Tomlin said. "Troy Polamalu is going to be an excellent safety regardless of what defensive scheme he's in. Casey Hampton's going to be a dominant defensive lineman regardless of what scheme he's in. We're not going to get enamored with that."

The clues to what scheme he wants to play -- Tomlin used a 4-3 last season as the Minnesota Vikings' defensive coordinator - could come shortly.

The period to sign free agents starts March 1, and that is followed by the NFL draft in late April.

Tomlin said he has been reviewing game film from last season to identify players' strengths and weaknesses, not to evaluate whether they better fit into a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense.

He said the Steelers will take the same approach when it comes to acquiring players through free agency and the draft, adding that talent will trump all other considerations.

Several signs points to the Steelers playing a 3-4 defense, at least in the short term.

One of the assistants that Tomlin retained from Bill Cowher's staff was defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

In addition, the stability that has become a hallmark of the Steelers' organization makes wholesale changes unlikely, especially since the team is one season removed from winning the Super Bowl.

"We're going to continue to shape our package to what our players do and do well," Tomlin said. "It will be a constant evolution."

As for LeBeau, Tomlin said, "As I start to work with him on a day-to-day basis, he's exceeded my expectations in terms of what he's capable of. It's been refreshing, not (just) with him but with the entire defensive staff. It's been fun. We're in there every day hacking away at it."

Tomlin made it clear that he and his assistants aren't the only ones who will be working hard leading up to his first season as the Steelers' head coach.

Tomlin said he plans to hold two minicamps -- the dates are still being worked out -- and that he welcomed the selection of the Steelers to play in the Hall of Fame exhibition game, because it will give the team an extra week of training camp.

"I have always loved camp," said Tomlin, whose team will play the New Orleans Saints Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio. "Most players won't agree with that, but I am looking forward to it. It is an opportunity to eliminate some of the outside distractions that are involved in everyday life and focus on the game itself. "
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Old 02-14-2007, 10:07 AM   #2
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Default Re: Tomlin's defensive plans still unknown

I hope he finds some plans for us soon. We need our defense to be 100 times better than last season.

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Old 02-14-2007, 10:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: Tomlin's defensive plans still unknown

I'd prefer he keep it a big secret.......until we are lined up against another team and then BAM!!!!
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Old 02-14-2007, 10:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: Tomlin's defensive plans still unknown

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I'd prefer he keep it a big secret.......until we are lined up against another team and then BAM!!!!
Yeah, but it would be nice if he could tell us that he knows what he going to do and then leave it at that.

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Old 02-14-2007, 11:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: Tomlin's defensive plans still unknown

I actually love the fact that he doesn't "have a plan" yet. That he is assessing the strengths and weaknesses and going from there. It says a lot about his work ethic.
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Old 02-14-2007, 11:36 AM   #6
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Default Re: Tomlin's defensive plans still unknown

So far, you have to love what this guy says...He's got the attitude of a solid leader, and realizes he needs his coaches and talent to make it work. I think it'a a big positive that some of our older veterans need to prove themselves again, judging by what i saw last year, there was some compacency going on. Unfortunately, you wonder if someone is going to have an example of them made to get the other veterans attention.. I really think this guy means business and there won't be any bullshit happening.
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Old 02-14-2007, 11:54 AM   #7
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Default Re: Tomlin's defensive plans still unknown

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Originally Posted by geo1963 View Post
So far, you have to love what this guy says...He's got the attitude of a solid leader, and realizes he needs his coaches and talent to make it work. I think it'a a big positive that some of our older veterans need to prove themselves again, judging by what i saw last year, there was some compacency going on. Unfortunately, you wonder if someone is going to have an example of them made to get the other veterans attention.. I really think this guy means business and there won't be any bullshit happening.

Well said
I agree with most all you said and I just hope that Tomlin takes his time and finds out what our strengths and weakness's are and then goes from there.
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Old 02-14-2007, 02:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: Tomlin's defensive plans still unknown

I would love to see the Steelers run some kind of hybrid were they switch out of the 3-4 to a 4-3 during different times throught out a game, or maybe use one more than the other depending on that week's game plan. I think eventually Coach T is going to make the Steelers predominately a 4-3, but it would be nice if he keeps some things from LeBeau's 3-4 packages in the future. I think we as fans will have a better clue as to what the plan is after the draft.
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Old 02-14-2007, 03:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Tomlin's defensive plans still unknown

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Originally Posted by 1207 View Post
I would love to see the Steelers run some kind of hybrid were they switch out of the 3-4 to a 4-3 during different times throught out a game, or maybe use one more than the other depending on that week's game plan. I think eventually Coach T is going to make the Steelers predominately a 4-3, but it would be nice if he keeps some things from LeBeau's 3-4 packages in the future. I think we as fans will have a better clue as to what the plan is after the draft.
Yeah, a lot of it depends on what we get out of the draft talent wise.

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Old 02-14-2007, 03:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: Tomlin's defensive plans still unknown

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Originally Posted by 1207 View Post
I would love to see the Steelers run some kind of hybrid were they switch out of the 3-4 to a 4-3 during different times throught out a game, or maybe use one more than the other depending on that week's game plan. I think eventually Coach T is going to make the Steelers predominately a 4-3, but it would be nice if he keeps some things from LeBeau's 3-4 packages in the future. I think we as fans will have a better clue as to what the plan is after the draft.
Me too
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