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Old 02-23-2007, 04:13 AM   #1
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Default Tomlin's tenure enters 1st crucial phase

Brown: Tomlin's tenure enters 1st crucial phase

By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, February 23, 2007


INDIANAPOLIS - He shook hands and accepted congratulations as he walked down a hallway Thursday morning at the Indianapolis Convention Center.

The scene reinforced how new Mike Tomlin still is to the Steelers' head coaching job.

He addressed the national media for the first time with the Steelers. And just as he has done with local reporters, Tomlin talked a lot but said little.

The next couple of months should offer some clues as to what shape the Steelers will take under Tomlin.

Free agency starts March 2, and the NFL Draft will be held at the end of April.

Tomlin and director of football operations Kevin Colbert are here for the NFL Scouting Combine, and they should leave Indianapolis with a better idea of who the Steelers will draft. Teams have an opportunity to interview prospects, watch them work out and put them through a medical examination.

"I don't know if there's one single thing that I can point to," Tomlin said about the most important aspect of the combine for players. "It's going to be the body of work: how they work out, how they present themselves from an interview standpoint, and every bit of information we can gather, in terms of getting to know people."

Tomlin, who took over as Steelers coach Jan. 22, has apparently made an effort to get to know outside linebacker Joey Porter. He said he has talked to Porter but didn't give any indication of what direction the Steelers will take with the three-time Pro Bowler.

The eight-year veteran is due a $1 million bonus if he is on the roster March 6; Porter, who turns 30 on March 22, is in the final year of his contract and wants an extension.

Porter's base salary for next season is $4 million, though his contract could be restructured or he could be released.

When asked if he had a feeling one way or another whether Porter would be with the Steelers next season, Tomlin said. "I have no thoughts on that. He's under contract. He's a Pittsburgh Steeler."

Tomlin has only been able to make that claim for a month.

That and the fact Tomlin beat out an in-house candidate (former offensive line/assistant head coach Russ Grimm for the job) led to the question Thursday of how he'll get the veterans in the Steelers' locker room to follow his lead.

One of those players, Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca, said earlier this month he had hoped Grimm would succeed Bill Cowher as the team's head coach.

"Transition is never easy, and I'm OK with that," said Tomlin, who was the Minnesota Vikings' defensive coordinator last season. "Sometimes it's good to feel a little uncomfortable. That's kind of what I've been talking to guys about. Understand that it's going to be difficult at times for some people."

That's not to say Tomlin is forecasting a difficult 2007 season for the Steelers since "long-term goal" is apparently an oxymoron to him.

"I don't try to put a schedule on anything I do. I want it, and I want it yesterday," said Tomlin when asked if he had set a timetable for what he wanted to accomplish. "That's just how I'm wired, and this situation, this opportunity, is no different than any other I've had."

Note: Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor will be a guest today on the ESPN sports show "Cold Pizza." It airs live from 10 a.m. to noon on ESPN2.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_494582.html
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Old 02-23-2007, 09:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: Tomlin's tenure enters 1st crucial phase

Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Tight on salary cap
The Steelers squeezed under the NFL's salary cap when they reported Jeff Hartings retirement and erased his 2007 salary from their books. But they remain tight and must find ways to create even more space if they are to add anyone in free agency or sign some of their own players to long-term deals.
"We're looking at several options and we're going to weigh those in the upcoming days and move forward in that regard," Tomlin said. "But we have several options and we're exploring those."

Contracts expire
The Steelers have been talking to the agents for some of their players whose contracts expire next Friday, all of them backups. Among those they'd like to sign is halfback Najeh Davenport.

Coach Tomlin and Colbert have their work cut out for them.
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Old 02-23-2007, 12:28 PM   #3
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Default Re: Tomlin's tenure enters 1st crucial phase

please....please....please....get somebody in here more effective than Najeh!!!!
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Old 02-23-2007, 12:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Tomlin's tenure enters 1st crucial phase

Quote:
Originally Posted by coachspeak33 View Post
please....please....please....get somebody in here more effective than Najeh!!!!
more effective, means not as cap friendly.


not sure we can pay anyone who is more effective.
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Old 02-23-2007, 04:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Tomlin's tenure enters 1st crucial phase

LOL
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Old 02-23-2007, 08:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Tomlin's tenure enters 1st crucial phase

If anybody is looking for the Steelers to be a big splash in FA, they are kidding themselves.
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Old 02-23-2007, 09:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Tomlin's tenure enters 1st crucial phase

With regard to the cap, this year is treading water - after 2007 is when a lot of familiar faces will be gone.
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Old 02-24-2007, 12:03 AM   #8
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Default Re: Tomlin's tenure enters 1st crucial phase

I personally think Porter is released before March 6th.
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Old 02-24-2007, 01:13 AM   #9
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Default Re: Tomlin's tenure enters 1st crucial phase

Bouchette was on Savrans show tonight broadcasting from the combine and he wasn't talking like we'll be seeing Porter next year.

He said the offensive line's noses were out of joint because Russ didn't get promoted. He heard some rumbling from the guys on the O-line not wanting to extend their contract but he said that kind of "talk" is starting to die down.

The top three signing will be Faneca, Smith and Troy. He mentioned LaVar Arrington as a possible free agent signing and another linebacker who's name escapes me right now.

Got an e-mail from a friend Bouchette was on Cold Pizza with Ike Taylor. Bouchette says that Tomlin and the new staff are going to try to get Ben to work harder this season to get better. Bouchette said Ben has a reputation of "last in, first out." They want him to work harder and they want him to watch more film. This isn't the first time I've hear mention of Ben's laziness. This isn't a ringing endorsement on the state of our QB. With the amount of money he makes you shouldn't have to put a crow bar in his ass to get him moving.

The next few weeks should prove very interesting as Tomlin doesn't have the emotional ties to these guys like Cowher did and he's able to looking at everything with an open mind. The players were getting to comfortable things were to predictable. Tomlin is going to have the boys sitting straight up with their asses planted firmly in their seats -- this is a good thing and I'm all for it.
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Old 02-24-2007, 02:41 AM   #10
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Default Re: Tomlin's tenure enters 1st crucial phase

I hope like hell we can keep Najeh. He broke some great runs late in the season when he was used most effectively, late in games against tiring defenses, and his work on special teams was fantastic.

I hope the Steelers can keep him.
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