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Old 09-27-2007, 08:36 AM   #1
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Default Maybe coaching change isn't behind Steelers' 3-0 start

Maybe coaching change isn't behind Steelers' 3-0 start
By The Associated Press
Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 3-0 for the first time since 1992, the year Bill Cowher was hired. If they beat Arizona on Sunday, they'll be off to their first 4-0 start since their Super Bowl-winning season in 1979.

The Steelers have needed only three games to win as many times as they did in their first nine games last season. No team has come within three touchdowns of beating them, and the only two touchdowns permitted by their defense came in games already decided.

"We've really kind of had a history of starting out slow or not coming out of the gate like this, so it's definitely different," guard Alan Faneca said Wednesday.

Plenty of reasons for the Steelers' fast start are being tossed out. The players were growing weary of Bill Cowher. New coach Mike Tomlin's impressive debut. A relatively soft schedule that's thrown the Browns (1-2), Bills (0-3) and 49ers (2-1) their way.

Or how about this: None of the above.

Wide receiver Hines Ward believes too many around the NFL wrote off the Steelers after they went 8-8 a season ago, a disruption-filled year in which quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was never right and no one knew if Cowher was coming or going.

To Ward, the Steelers' main motivation for again being the team that went 15-1 in 2004 and won the Super Bowl a season later is coming from within, not from a new coach or coordinator or a different set of circumstances.

"We really haven't played our best ball yet," Ward said. "It's a great feeling to start off the season 3-0 instead of 0-3, especially after last year. A lot of guys are hungry, we go out there playing with something to prove. A lot of people counted us out. We were kind of under the radar."

Even Cowher, in his new role as a CBS studio analyst, picked them to finish only third in the AFC North - even though he probably made that prediction in part to motivate them.

Faneca said there's no reaso n to think the Steelers wouldn't have been 3-0 if Cowher had stayed on the job. Left tackle Marvel Smith also won't credit the coaching change for the turnaround, and won't speculate where the Steelers would be if someone else was their coach.

"Really, that's in the past," he said. "I could really care less about that whole situation. I ain't even going to go down that road. ... Coaches coach, players play. Coaches can only put you in positions and situations where you can be successful, but you've got to go out there and do it."

Tomlin got his players' attention early with his structured and demanding offseason workouts and training. Still, the perceived notion that camp was far tougher under Tomlin than it was in Cowher's last few seasons is incorrect, Faneca said.

"It was a little lighter than what we have done," he said. "It was just probably less hitting, at least up front."

The impact of Tomlin's arrival on the Steelers turnaround is being debat ed because former Steelers assistant head coach Russ Grimm, the other finalist for the job, is now with Arizona. Ken Whisenhunt, the perceived front-runner when Cowher resigned, is the Cardinals' head coach.

The Whisenhunt-Grimm-Tomlin story line has generated considerable talk in Pittsburgh, though not so much in the Steelers' locker room.

All players go through multiple coaching changes as their football lives progress from high school to college to pro ball. Except for the few players who have been with Pittsburgh a long time, this was merely another such change.

"We're 3-0 with coach Tomlin," Ward said. "There's no looking back (wondering) if Russ or Whis was here."

Defensive end Brett Keisel would be disappointed if the Steelers weren't 3-0, regardless of who is coaching them.

"I feel like if we were less than that right now, I don't think we'd be where we should be," Keisel said. "I think 3-0 means we still have a lot of room for improveme nt. I'd rather be 16-0."

Notes: Roethlisberger spoke as though Ward (sprained knee) won't play. Ward, listed as doubtful, hasn't ruled out playing. ... Arizona RB Edgerrin James was the last running back to get 100 yards against Pittsburgh, in a November 2005 game for Indianapolis. ... Faneca on how Roethlisberger has more responsibility in offensive coordinator Bruce Arians' system than he did in Whisenhunt's: "I can definitely see where he would like it because he has a little more control. His hands are a little bit more dirty, and it definitely shows that he likes it."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_529546.html
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Old 09-27-2007, 08:49 AM   #2
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Default Re: Maybe coaching change isn't behind Steelers' 3-0 start

Quote:
"Really, that's in the past," he said. "I could really care less about that whole situation. I ain't even going to go down that road. ... Coaches coach, players play. Coaches can only put you in positions and situations where you can be successful, but you've got to go out there and do it."
well thats not a very juicy soundbite from marvel smith. i bet thats the first and last time the media will stop by his locker for a quote this season.

wheres keisel? hes a much better quote machine (and pretty funny too).

Quote:
Defensive end Brett Keisel would be disappointed if the Steelers weren't 3-0, regardless of who is coaching them.

"I feel like if we were less than that right now, I don't think we'd be where we should be," Keisel said. "I think 3-0 means we still have a lot of room for improveme nt. I'd rather be 16-0."
ahhh.... thats better.
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Old 09-27-2007, 08:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: Maybe coaching change isn't behind Steelers' 3-0 start

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Defensive end Brett Keisel would be disappointed if the Steelers weren't 3-0, regardless of who is coaching them.

"I feel like if we were less than that right now, I don't think we'd be where we should be," Keisel said. "I think 3-0 means we still have a lot of room for improveme nt. I'd rather be 16-0."
Now THAT is the type of mentality you want from a player. Cheers to Keisel.
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Old 09-27-2007, 09:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: Maybe coaching change isn't behind Steelers' 3-0 start

As for the coach not really making a difference, have to disagree. I remember the home loss to Baltimore last year, Cowher just stood at the end of the sideline singing to himself " I've gone to Carolina in my mind" and not doing anything. He did nothing to motivate the players or anything. Players do need pep talks, players need encouragement after a bad play, and players need help staying focused, that's where the coach comes in! Just my opinion
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Old 09-27-2007, 09:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Maybe coaching change isn't behind Steelers' 3-0 start

I'm not sure if the change in play is due to who the headcoach is or more to the style of the headcoach because the difference between Cowher on the sideline to Tomlin on the sideline is night and day. Cowher ran on emotion and Tomlin runs on preparation (not meaning Cowher was never prepared). Cowher yelled and got in their face Tomlin coaches and explains. Now I"m not saying one style is better than the other just different.
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Old 09-27-2007, 10:41 AM   #6
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Default Re: Maybe coaching change isn't behind Steelers' 3-0 start

Is it just me or does this article seem a little contrived. None of the players quotes seem to point in the direction of Tomlin not playing a role in their success. Those of us fans that have paid close attention since the hiring, I believe, would all say that Tomlin has played a major role in the turnaround. I believe the coordinators have a huge role in the success also but Tomlin has let them coach, something it appears Cowher didn't always let Lebeau and the ST coaches do.

The players are the main reason, but as Marvel said, the coaches put you in position to win.
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Old 09-27-2007, 10:44 AM   #7
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Default Re: Maybe coaching change isn't behind Steelers' 3-0 start

Best thing about Tomlin, after a win, he focusses on the mistakes and where the team needs to improve. Yep, won a game, but we did this wrong, this wrong and this wrong...those will be fixed.

There can be no questioning that Cowher was just tired last year. He came back hoping to run on the "champ" mentality and see if the team could repeat. With what happened in the offseason to ben, and some other issues with the team, it was clear half way into the season Cowher probably wished he'd retired on top. That trickles down to the players. Just has having a new coach who is hungry and wants to win now, not in 5 years but right now, is trickling down to the players. Plus having the best D coordinator in history on your sideline, helps a ton.
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Old 09-27-2007, 10:50 AM   #8
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Default Re: Maybe coaching change isn't behind Steelers' 3-0 start

Quote:
Originally Posted by DACEB View Post
Is it just me or does this article seem a little contrived. None of the players quotes seem to point in the direction of Tomlin not playing a role in their success. Those of us fans that have paid close attention since the hiring, I believe, would all say that Tomlin has played a major role in the turnaround. I believe the coordinators have a huge role in the success also but Tomlin has let them coach, something it appears Cowher didn't always let Lebeau and the ST coaches do.

The players are the main reason, but as Marvel said, the coaches put you in position to win.
it is a bit contrived. theres really no way to minimize what impact a staff overhaul can have (good or bad/tomlin or norv turner).

Quote:
To Ward, the Steelers' main motivation for again being the team that went 15-1 in 2004 and won the Super Bowl a season later is coming from within, not from a new coach or coordinator or a different set of circumstances.
if seeing the rooneys show cowher where the door is and then take a pass on who were thought to be 2 of the hottest coaching candidates out there dont motivate the players from being shown the same door, i dont know what will.

their paychecks also motivates them and im sure they all took notice that they arent gonna get paid the big bucks with the steelers to put up 8-8 seasons.

with tomlin in charge i think everybody is motivated with keeping their job along with saving a little face and restoring some pride from 2 seasons ago.
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Old 09-27-2007, 11:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: Maybe coaching change isn't behind Steelers' 3-0 start

I don't think that if you asked Tomlin, he would say anything different. I am 100% certain that he would say that the only thing he has done is put them in a position to be successful, but it is still up to them to perform.

A lot of foofala about nothing, IMO.


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Old 09-27-2007, 11:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: Maybe coaching change isn't behind Steelers' 3-0 start

i'm so sick of fanecas attitude. He wanted whisenhunt or Grimm. How are things going down there is Arizona? I'm sorry but benching a young quarterback like matt leinart is pure stupidity.
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