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Old 09-05-2007, 07:39 AM   #1
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Default Tomlin wants in season practice to be as intense as training camp?

I heard this on the local (northeast PA) radio today; no sources given. The announcer said exactly that, that Tomlin wants to keep in season practice as competitive as training camp.

Accepting that as true, I'm not so sure it's a good idea. It might work just fine in weeks 1, 2, and 3, but it might be problematic in week 12. Especially after we have already had a 5 game preseason rather than 4 like everyone else. And then there is the risk of injury, and the questionable idea of having banged up guys practicing at full speed mid-season; the guy might be playable on Sunday if he is allowed to cruise during the week. I'll take Polamalu at 50% during the week and 90% on Sunday, over Colclough at 100% during the week and on Sunday.

If this is true, I call it Tomlin's first serious miscalculation.


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Old 09-05-2007, 07:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: Tomlin wants in season practice to be as intense as training camp?

Tomlin: Practices must stay intense, even as season starts
By The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Pittsburgh Steelers' practices for Sunday's season opener at Cleveland will resemble those at training camp, if new coach Mike Tomlin has his way.

Tomlin wants his backups pushing his starters, his starters working to keep their jobs and his rookies playing like veterans as quickly as possible. The only way to do that, he said Tuesday, is to keep practices just as competitive as they are when players are competing for jobs during camp.

Running back Willie Parker, for example, told Tomlin he'd like the linebackers vs. running backs blocking drill -- a staple of training camp -- to extend into the season. Most NFL teams back off the contact work in practice once the season starts to lessen the chance of injury.

"I've said repeatedly that we're developing a world championship-caliber team, and the only way to continue on that path is to continue to grow," Tomlin said. "That was the gist of my message to the team -- we are moving into the season, but iron sharpens iron. We've got to continue to compete on a day-to-day basis."

To illustrate that, Tomlin isn't guaranteeing that Allen Rossum will return kickoffs and punts Sunday, even though it's obvious the Steelers traded for him Saturday to handle that job.

"We're not anointing anyone," Tomlin said.

Chukky Okobi's release Saturday may be proof of that. Tomlin dropped strong hints that he didn't like the way Okobi -- the starting center when camp opened -- handled himself after missing camp time with a rib injury. Sean Mahan moved ahead at center during Okobi's absence and has kept the job.

Okobi spoke out last week, saying he hadn't done anything to lose the starting job and that it would it would a miscarriage of justice if he wasn't on the 53-man roster, which he wasn't.

"Sean was our best option as a starting center," said Tomlin, a Tampa Bay assistant coach when Mahan played there.

Mahan's backup will be Darnell Stapleton, an undrafted rookie from Rutgers who also missed camp time to injury. If one of the game day roster spots is needed for another position, right guard Kendall Simmons will be the backup center.

"We felt Sean Mahan distinguished himself the more we watched it," Tomlin said. "He probably was the beneficiary of Chukky's unfortunate injury, but we're very comfortable where he is. Darnell Stapleton also dealt with injury, and I was really impressed the way came back, in terms of his quality of play. He didn't fall behind mentally."

Willie Colon, the right tackle at the end of training camp, continues to be listed on the depth chart ahead of Max Starks, and Ryan Clark is ahead of Anthony Smith at free safety.

Tomlin also said:

• WR Willie Reid will continue to practice as a kick returner, even though the Steelers have added Rossum.

"Allen provides a veteran presence," Tomlin said. "I have a great deal of respect for what he is capable of doing. Willie Reid has been growing in big ways, he's an emerging player, and we'll continue to work with Willie."

• He hasn't decided if Parker will also be the third-down back.

"That will depend on what we're trying to do on a week-to-week basis," Tomlin said. "We're open to it."

• First-round draft pick Lawrence Timmons will see considerable playing time on special teams.

"Lawrence is trying to get in where he can fit in," Tomlin said.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_525721.html
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:02 AM   #3
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Default Re: Tomlin wants in season practice to be as intense as training camp?

Pretty clear Tomlin has lost faith in Reid as a returner by bringing in Rossum and apparently handing him the return job based on what Tomlin has seen on film. Glad to see Holmes is ruled out as an option on returns - your gamebreaker starters do not need to get banged up on kick returns.

As for maintaining training camp intensity for practices during the season, we will see how much of that is talk - the pre-camp talk of all the two a days turned out to be not quite the death march that had been anticipated. If Tomlin actually does go down that road he might have a burned out team on his hands as the schedule toughens up in October. He has made a good impression so far but this is the first time he has had the car keys; we will find out now how good a driver he is.

All the media talk by Tomlin and interpretation of that talk by the media is pointless - it is what is said in the locker rom and on the field that counts. If Tomlin wants to come across to the fans as General Patton (or the media has decided that is the image they are going to create for him) we can take it or leave it as we choose - all that matters is whether or not he wins.
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: Tomlin wants in season practice to be as intense as training camp?

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Originally Posted by Mosca View Post
I heard this on the local (northeast PA) radio today; no sources given. The announcer said exactly that, that Tomlin wants to keep in season practice as competitive as training camp.

...

If this is true, I call it Tomlin's first serious miscalculation.


Tom
Agreed. This is a mistake not entirely uncommon to first-year coaches, too. I remember this being an issue for Lovie Smith in his first year with the Bears a couple years ago. He worked them with maximum intensity from day 1 of training camp to like, Week 8 of the regular season before he realized that too many of his players were being sidelined with relatively non-serious but still painful injuries that could be avoided.

There is a fine line between maintaining discipline and fitness and pushing players to a point that is unrpoductive and possibly not healthy. I think Tomlin should tend to stay further away from that point rather than getting up to the edge and seeing how far he can push it. If the Steelers come out flat in the first two or three games and just look like they're being outclassed as far as strength and endurance, then maybe you change the policy a bit. But to announce it now is like saying he's not even going to give the players a chance to prove themselves.

I would say I'm definitely a little wary of this as well.
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: Tomlin wants in season practice to be as intense as training camp?

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As for maintaining training camp intensity for practices during the season, we will see how much of that is talk - the pre-camp talk of all the two a days turned out to be not quite the death march that had been anticipated. If Tomlin actually does go down that road he might have a burned out team on his hands as the schedule toughens up in October. He has made a good impression so far but this is the first time he has had the car keys; we will find out now how good a driver he is.
Yea, I agree Dan. Camp was tougher than under Cowher but like you said it wasn't a death march.

I think Tomlin might keep this approach for this week, hoping the guys come out the way they did against the Saints. You have to admit that the Saints looked like they didn't belong on the same field with us.

My point being that Tomlin understands the importance of this first game. If we win we hold a share of the div. lead. We can set a tone early for what type of team we will become this season.

For all the talk of a tough training camp and now this talk of carrying that type of practice into the regular season, I think Tomlin is just pushing mental buttons. Tomlin didn't burn the guys out in camp and he won't do it now that the regular season is here.
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Old 09-06-2007, 02:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Tomlin wants in season practice to be as intense as training camp?

I don't read this the same way all of you do.

I am reading more as, don't get lazy during the year, or you will be replaced.

Sure, there are drills that will be ran. I will bet that the first time we see our defense arm-tackling... You will see some MAJOR tackling drills that next week. That is not all bad. Matter of fact, that is what a practice team is for!

In the end, this will be push mental alertness. No more massive mental mistakes in games.
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Old 09-06-2007, 02:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Tomlin wants in season practice to be as intense as training camp?

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I don't read this the same way all of you do.

I am reading more as, don't get lazy during the year, or you will be replaced.

Sure, there are drills that will be ran. I will bet that the first time we see our defense arm-tackling... You will see some MAJOR tackling drills that next week. That is not all bad. Matter of fact, that is what a practice team is for!

In the end, this will be push mental alertness. No more massive mental mistakes in games.
i agree preach .
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Old 09-06-2007, 02:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: Tomlin wants in season practice to be as intense as training camp?

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Originally Posted by Preacher View Post
I don't read this the same way all of you do.

I am reading more as, don't get lazy during the year, or you will be replaced.

Sure, there are drills that will be ran. I will bet that the first time we see our defense arm-tackling... You will see some MAJOR tackling drills that next week. That is not all bad. Matter of fact, that is what a practice team is for!

In the end, this will be push mental alertness. No more massive mental mistakes in games.


However, I can see how this could be taken either way, which is what the vast media conspiracy wants us to do!
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Old 09-06-2007, 02:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Tomlin wants in season practice to be as intense as training camp?

I really believe it all boils down to how well the team plays as to whether Tomlin is going to go with this idea. I fully support bust-a$$ practices to keep the guys on their toes, but not to the extent where there is a possibility of player burn out (or more risk of injury), especially in Weeks 6 on forward.
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Old 09-07-2007, 05:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: Tomlin wants in season practice to be as intense as training camp?

This may just be Tomlin sending a smoke signal to his players now. Just the possibility of training camp type practicing should light a fire under a couple butts. You know, back in the day, football was full contact all the time. It probably wouldn't kill them to have a few more contact drills from time to time during the regular season, as long as Tomlin doesn't go overboard. The remedy to any controversy this might produce, is, of course, winning. If the Steelers are playing great football and winning games, he could have the guys out there playing soccer during practice and nobody would mind much.
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