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Old 03-20-2007, 06:17 AM   #1
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Default Tomlin's First Team Meeting

Tuesday, March 20, 2007
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Coach Mike Tomlin had his first meeting with his new team yesterday as the Steelers began their offseason workout program with little fanfare at their South Side training facility.

So little, in fact, that Tomlin declined interview requests. A Steelers spokesman explained that Tomlin did not want to make a bigger deal out of his first meeting with his team than what it was by speaking publicly.

He saved that for his players.

"He laid down the law," wide receiver Cedrick Wilson said.

Wilson was the only player available to the media after Tomlin spoke with the players and they went through workouts. He said 85 percent of the roster attended and that more players were traveling to Pittsburgh to begin training, something Tomlin strongly urged them to do.

Wilson said Tomlin told them that "you can go train in Orlando or you can go train in Arizona where it's a nice climate, whatever, but you can't get out of those places what you can get here and that's football."

"And that's what he's preaching," Wilson said, "and that's what he's coaching. A guy like myself, I'm definitely taking heed of it.

"He stepped in and kind of laid down the law a little bit, like, 'Hey guys it's going to be a little bit uncomfortable but as soon as we can get over that it's going to be better for all of us.' The guys worked hard today, on the field and also in the weight room, and I look for the same thing tomorrow."

Each player has to prove himself to the Steelers' new coach, Wilson said.

"Oh yeah. I think everybody does. He doesn't know anyone. He just came from Minnesota. ... I think everyone has to prove themselves."

Wilson said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also had some things to say yesterday, at least to the wide receivers. Roethlisberger has been working out at the Steelers' facility off and on for several weeks.

"He made it clear, he is here right now. That's a statement itself," Wilson said. "It's March 19. We have five or six months before the season begins. He is here and we are here and we will get into the feel of throwing the ball and catching and things of that nature later on as guys gradually get used to the new strength coach and his way of doing things.

"I think the goal is for the receivers and the quarterback to work a ton. Our third-down efficiency was pretty good last year, but it wasn't as good as it was the year we won the Super Bowl. That's where we're going to have to get it up. If you want to win a championship you have to be darn good on third down. This time right now we can lay a platform for the upcoming season."

It won't be known until later what kind of impression Tomlin has made on his players or if some of the discontent expressed by them over his hiring and the release of linebacker Joey Porter has subsided.

Two offensive co-captains, guard Alan Faneca and wide receiver Hines Ward, have been outspoken about each. Faneca, among those who did not make it to the team's facility yet, complained when the Steelers bypassed offensive line coach Russ Grimm and hired Tomlin to replace Bill Cowher. Ward, who attended yesterday, still was protesting the release of Porter, who subsequently signed with the Miami Dolphins.

"It's shocking that they let him go," Ward told Michael Silver of SI.com last week, "because he was really the emotional leader, the guy who brought out the best in a lot of players. That's why so many veterans -- Alan Faneca, James Farrior and others -- called me when they heard he was released. We were all shocked.

"You can always replace players, but you can't always replace leaders. That's what we lose more than anything. It was tough when we lost Jerome [Bettis] before last year, and then we lost coach Cowher. Now we lose Joey Porter? It's going to be different."

A request through the team to talk to Ward yesterday, a day after Porter was charged with misdemeanor battery in Las Vegas for allegedly punching Bengals tackle Levi Jones in the face, was not fulfilled.
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Old 03-20-2007, 06:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Tomlin's First Team Meeting

It's a new coach and the players will have some adjusting to do. But, they are all professionals, so it shouldn't be much of a problem. We all thought that Whiz or Grim would get the job, but they didn't and it's time to move on. Who really gets to choose their boss or co-workers anyway? I have loads of respect for Faneca and Ward, but they need to get over their objections and do their jobs.
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Old 03-20-2007, 06:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: Tomlin's First Team Meeting

Sounds like Coach Tomlin has them moving in the right direction.

Looks like Cedric Wilson is the new mouthpiece for the Steelers team - I guess they couldn't put one of the older heads out there after the negative image they have portrayed at times this offseason.

Thats a smart idea by MT - too many cooks spoil the broth.
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Old 03-20-2007, 07:01 AM   #4
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Default Re: Tomlin's First Team Meeting

Interesting they would not make Hines available to the media.

That might be the Steelers decision or it might have been at Ward's request. Hines has developed an unfortunate habit of popping off in SI with derogatory comments since the SB win and then claiming he was misquoted.

Hines knew he was going to get questioned on his comments re Porter and probably was not upset he could dodge them for now. In addition, Hines, unlike Faneca, will have less upside in negotiating with another team if he is let go after this season and may have concluded it is time to practice and quit complaining.

There is definitely a new sheriff in town.
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Old 03-20-2007, 07:04 AM   #5
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Default Re: Tomlin's First Team Meeting

Article translation: The long vacation that was the 2006 season is finally over. About damn time.
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Old 03-20-2007, 07:15 AM   #6
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Default Re: Tomlin's First Team Meeting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta Dan View Post
Hines knew he was going to get questioned on his comments re Porter and probably was not upset he could dodge them for now. In addition, Hines, unlike Faneca, will have less upside in negotiating with another team if he is let go after this season and may have concluded it is time to practice and quit complaining.
I think you're right there, Dan. It is time for both Hines and Faneca to stop B & Ming and get themselves ready for the upcoming season - what's done is done. The team is moving in a new direction with a new "sheriff" and these guys need to focus on getting into playing shape and what they need to do to bring their best to the table. I have no doubt that everything will work out just fine and Tomlin will develop his own positive rapport with the guys.
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Old 03-20-2007, 07:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: Tomlin's First Team Meeting

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Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
It is time for both Hines and Faneca to stop B & Ming and get themselves ready for the upcoming season - what's done is done. The team is moving in a new direction with a new "sheriff" and these guys need to focus on getting into playing shape and what they need to do to bring their best to the table. I have no doubt that everything will work out just fine and Tomlin will develop his own positive rapport with the guys.
Agreed, HTG. For example, when is the last time Ben started prepping for the season this early? Ever? Certainly didn't happen last year - seems to me last year he was too busy riding that stupid crotch rocket around and damn near killing himself on it. Looks like Ben got the message, and it's a very positive sign that the majority of the rest of the guys are getting it too.
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Old 03-20-2007, 08:25 AM   #8
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Default Re: Tomlin's First Team Meeting

Quote:
Originally Posted by fansince'76 View Post
Article translation: The long vacation that was the 2006 season is finally over. About damn time.
I couldnt agree more!!!!!!!!!

Quit patting yourselves on the back & STAY HUNGRY
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Old 03-20-2007, 08:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: Tomlin's First Team Meeting

Maybe now people will stop saying that Ben has such a bad work ethic. he showed up for off season conditioning...but i have one question??? did he show up on his crotch rocket??? lol
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Old 03-20-2007, 08:29 AM   #10
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Default Re: Tomlin's First Team Meeting

Interesting that a young coach, at least duriing the early stages in the offseason, has seemed to "mature" some of the guys....Either that or their in there fightin for their spot....Something that Mr. Chiny Chin appeared to deem UN-important.
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