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Old 01-05-2008, 06:35 AM   #1
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Default Tomlin ready to coach first playoff game

Tomlin ready to coach first playoff game
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, January 5, 2008


He took over a team that finished .500 a year after winning the Super Bowl and featuring star players set in their ways with a built-in comfort level from the only coach most of them had played for.
Mike Tomlin's first season with the Steelers has been better than predicted when the team convened for training camp at St. Vincent College in July -- a 10-6 record with an AFC wild-card game tonight against Jacksonville at Heinz Field.

"It's different from Coach (Bill) Cowher. This is Coach Tomlin's team," said receiver Hines Ward, a Cowher favorite and the Steelers' career leader in receiving yards, receptions and touchdown receptions.

"He's done it his way. We're really not looking back," Ward said. "Coach Cowher, he has his own style. Coach Tomlin, he has his own style. He understands his team. You have to believe in him and continue to do what he's been preaching. We, as a team, believe. It's gotten us into the playoffs."

A first-year NFL head coach, Tomlin, 35, has carried himself with the authority of someone much older.
Instead of coming in right away and making sweeping changes, Tomlin attempted to maximize the available talent.

"We knew there were going to be changes because there was a new coach. He's gotta lay down his law," cornerback Ike Taylor said. "Coach Tomlin understands players. Old guys. Young guys. He's a stand-up guy. We adjusted to him, and everything's working out."

Under Tomlin, the Steelers led the league in total defense. Taylor had a bounce-back season, finishing second on the team in tackles and grabbing a team-high three interceptions. Outside linebacker James Harrison made the Pro Bowl in his first season as a starter.

Offensively, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger may have benefitted the most from the coaching change. Roethlisberger earned his first Pro-Bowl selection and had a franchise-record 32 touchdown passes.

"Coach Tomlin did a good job coming in understanding the foundation is here and at the same time being himself and not somebody he's not," said tight end Heath Miller, who established career highs this season in receptions, reception yards and touchdown receptions. "Guys in this locker room respect that about him."

Backup nose tackle Chris Hoke's role has increased this season, fitting in with Tomlin's philosophy that everyone on the roster is a potential playmaker.

"One of the things with a new coach is you don't want to look like you have secrets or a different agenda. He came in and told us exactly what he's thinking, exactly where he sees us going," Hoke said. "That's a big thing for us to know about the new coach. He's done everything that he said he was going to do."

Safety Tyrone Carter's role has also increased under Tomlin. Carter said Tomlin's early success has fostered his players' trust in him.

"He goes from a defensive back coach one year to a defensive coordinator the next year, then all of a sudden to a head coach the next year. So he's gotta be a special guy. Being around him, you see how special he is," Carter said.

"I don't want to say he's lucky. God has been watching over him. He's been around the game. He's very advanced for what you might think of a 35-year-old. Just his understanding of the game itself, it seems like he's been around a long time."
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: Tomlin ready to coach first playoff game

unlike wade philups of the cowboys tomlin didnt get all of the perfect peices of the puzzle, he got a line that hasnt been the same for the last 4-5yrs, he got a qb coming off a dissapointing season, a wide reciever with knee problems, an exploded spleen(ryan clark), a safety with knee issues. he had to go through the season the hard way and it is a big deal that he made it after what we went through from last year to this year. not to say that we were nothing, but we dont have the "BIG TIME" reciever...that drops about 15 passes a year, or the AMAZING cough cough goofy lookin qb. my hat is off to you mike tomlin(i dont wear hats).
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Old 01-05-2008, 11:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: Tomlin ready to coach first playoff game

Great read LLT - thanks!

Mike Tomlin is a very special coach and I think most of us knew that from his first press conference. It's great to see our guys respecting him and his philosophies so much.

Quote:
We, as a team, believe.
Quote of the day. Now take that belief onto that field today and show those Jags who's boss.
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