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Old 03-25-2009, 07:52 AM   #1
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Default Steelers coach aspires to keep improving


Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Steelers coach aspires to keep improving

By Scott Brown
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

DANA POINT, Calif. He did not draw near the crowd of first-year Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, who was besieged with questions about a relationship with star quarterback Jay Cutler that soured before it even started.

But Mike Tomlin got his share of visitors at his table during a media breakfast Tuesday at the NFL owners' meetings. And he seemed just as comfortable holding court as he does presiding over practice at the Steelers' South Side facility.

That he can be as engaging as a politician belies an admission that Tomlin made earlier this week.

"I'm a private person," Tomlin said.

Privacy is a relative term with Tomlin, particularly since he became the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl. But the trait that is obscured by his outgoing persona is not the reason why he has maintained a low profile during the offseason. Tomlin said he has been busy playing "catch-up" since the Steelers' extended 2008 season condensed the period that he has to prepare for this season and a run at another Super Bowl title.

Tomlin is nothing if not forward-thinking. That is why he allowed himself little time to celebrate a monumental achievement before turning his attention to the NFL Draft and subjects such as how to frame the Steelers' approach to the 2009 season to his players.

"Hungry is a word that I've been analyzing here of late,"
Tomlin said when asked if winning a Super Bowl whetted his appetite for more championships. "It's not hunger that drives me; it's not hunger that needs to drive our football team. Hunger and thirst are things that can be quenched. We have to be a driven group. We have to seek greatness."

Translation: legacies are not constructed on one championship.

That Tomlin embraces the challenge of winning multiple Super Bowls, of measuring up to a bar he may have set impossibly high for himself, offers insight into the unwavering confidence that is one of his trademarks.

"That's what impressed me from the get-go," former Raiders coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer John Madden said of Tomlin. "You can't feel real confident going around the curve when you don't know what is on the other side, but he did (as a rookie head coach). He was confident with everything he did. He hasn't changed."

Yet, Tomlin acknowledges there is a line between confidence and arrogance, which is why he said there is still room for him to grow as a coach.

"I'm not going to be resistant to change just because we won the ultimate prize," said Tomlin, who turned 37 less than two weeks ago. "I think that mistakes were made along the way like there always will be, particularly by me. Hopefully, I'm better in '09."

One thing Tomlin doesn't appear to be in 2009 is different at least in his approach to a job that he hesitates to call work because he is so passionate about it.

"I haven't sensed any change at all," Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert said of Tomlin. "We were all were excited about winning the Super Bowl, but we all understand we have to continue to prepare for next season. I think there will be a time in June and July after the draft and the OTAs are completed when you have time to sit back and reflect."

Whether Tomlin does that remains to be seen.

"I don't view it as something like I won the lottery," he said of guiding the Steelers to their sixth Super Bowl title. "I'm proud of the sacrifices and the accomplishments of the men involved, but it was something I thought we were capable of. So the end result doesn't register the response that winning the lottery or something of that nature, where you have to pinch yourself."

Talk of Tomlin

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on ...

Whether he plans to address the dreaded Super Bowl hangover with his players:

"I think if I attempt to avoid it, I may acknowledge the possibility of it happening exists. I'm not willing to do that. We simply are just going to prepare and attack the challenges that lie ahead for us. We know that things that happened in the past are things that happened in the past and it may affect how we're judged from a perception standpoint, but it's not going to dictate how we work or how we approach our business."

The Steelers having a target on them this season because they are the reigning Super Bowl champions:

"Bring it on; it comes with the territory. I'd rather have that problem than the opposite."

Whether he has caught up as far as the NFL Draft and other preparations for the 2009 season are concerned:

"I don't know if I'm going to have that feeling, and really I'm comfortable with a heightened sense of urgency like we're under the gun, because we are. I'm comfortable in the mentality that we need to play catch up at this point."

Whether the Steelers' offensive line has the potential to make significant improvement:

"I believe that, and I think our actions this offseason support that: our re-signing of Chris (Kemoeatu); our placing a claim on a guy like Max (Starks). We believe in the upside of the group and we also believe in the upside of the individuals. You are talking about a bunch of young guys, relatively speaking, as far as the jobs that they do, and we believe that's a group that's on the rise."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432
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Old 03-25-2009, 02:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers coach aspires to keep improving

I hope he aspires to improve that O Line....maybe the line should suck and then he can have a reason to fire Zierlein...
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Old 03-25-2009, 05:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers coach aspires to keep improving

he is just so THOUGHT out.

It seems like everything he says, he has thought long and hard about, so he is now giving you the shorthand version.

No wonder it took only one year to win over the team, and two years to win a SB.

I think going into the third year, there is NO DOUBT AT ALL that this is Tomlin's team. Not Ben's, not Ward's, not the defenses' team, but Tomlin's team.
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