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Old 01-19-2010, 06:16 AM   #1
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Default Harris column. Rooney ruling the roost.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_662851.html

Who has the juice, the real power, on the Steelers?

If you thought it was coach Mike Tomlin, think again.

A year after winning Super Bowl XLIII, Tomlin is back where he started when he was hired three years ago: proving himself to team president Art Rooney II.

I naively believed Tomlin's Super Bowl ring in his second season would buy him time if he experienced a campaign such as this one, when the Steelers missed the playoffs -- courtesy of a five-game losing streak during which Tomlin threatened to bench starters and questioned the mental toughness of his players.

Rooney disproved that theory in a revealing interview with the Tribune-Review's Scott Brown. While pleased the Steelers rallied to win their final three games, Rooney II all but ordered Tomlin to change his offensive philosophy and get back to the ground game next season.

"We need to run the ball to be successful," Rooney II said. "Some of our troubles in the red zone can be traced to that, and some of our troubles holding leads can be traced to that."

Is a public reprimand any way to treat the coach who won the franchise's sixth Super Bowl?

It is as if Rooney II believes Tomlin's coaching performance was as ineffective in 2009 as it was outstanding in 2008.

Still, it seems that Tomlin should have built up some coaching equity based on winning the Super Bowl. It isn't like the Steelers decision to switch to a passing game was a failure. After all, the NFL has become a passing league.

However, being able to dial up a dependable running game on demand -- which the Steelers failed to do on a consistent basis -- is a key trait in three of the four remaining playoff teams.

A big reason for the San Diego Chargers' meltdown against the New York Jets in Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game was San Diego's inability to run out the clock while holding a lead. By the same token, the Jets beat San Diego with a strong ground attack despite rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez passing for only 100 yards.

Rooney II said he never asked Tomlin to fire offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, whose pass-first mentality led to Ben Roethlisberger becoming the first 4,000-yard quarterback in franchise history.

Encouraged him, maybe. Suggested it, perhaps.

The Steelers' boss put the spotlight on Tomlin and his franchise quarterback for his team's struggles.

Rooney II was so impressed with Roethlisberger's big season that he promptly called for more running plays in 2010. In fact, Rooney II had some candid comments about Roethlisberger, his $102-million man.

"He's someone I know wants to continue to improve and wants to get better and be considered one of the top quarterbacks in the league," Rooney II said.

I'm sure that quote went over real big in the Roethlisberger household.

If Rooney II is desirous of the offense becoming more run-oriented next season -- he also told the Tribune-Review he wants Roethlisberger to help reduce the Steelers' sack total by getting rid of the ball faster -- why stick with an assistant coach whose teams averaged more passing attempts than carries in five of his six seasons as an NFL coordinator?

Instead of bringing in a new offensive coordinator, Tomlin settled for a new offensive line coach.

Who specializes in running the football.

Agreeing to run the ball more in 2010 adds to Tomlin's legacy as a coach who's reluctant to take charge.

A familiar pattern has emerged with Tomlin, who still hasn't established his own coaching identity with the Steelers.

He arrived as a coach immersed in the 4-3, but the Steelers remain a 3-4 team under defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

Tomlin spoke this season about beefing up the passing game, only to have his boss instruct him to run the ball more.

I'm still waiting for the Steelers to announce they've signed Tomlin to a contract extension.

The Steelers traditionally re-sign their coach with two years remaining on his contract. Tomlin has a year left on his original four-year deal and the Steelers hold an option for an additional year.

Surprised the Steelers didn't re-sign Tomlin last offseason following the Super Bowl win?

Me too.

Rooney said the Steelers have every intention of re-signing Tomlin. Let's see if they sign him before the 2010 opener.

Based on how this season ended, I wouldn't be surprised if the Steelers took a wait-and-see approach with Tomlin.

They didn't lock him up this time a year ago when he was the hottest thing going, so why rush now?


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Old 01-19-2010, 06:56 AM   #2
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Default Re: Harris column. Rooney ruling the roost.

Of course they will resign him, it's just when they want to.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:59 AM   #3
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Default Re: Harris column. Rooney ruling the roost.

"Agreeing to run the ball more in 2010 adds to Tomlin's legacy as a coach who's reluctant to take charge.

A familiar pattern has emerged with Tomlin, who still hasn't established his own coaching identity with the Steelers."

Some have said it was wrong of Art to speak out. After all, his dad and grandfather never did. What we're seeing is an owner that is in a position where he needs to put his coach on notice. He had to do it and it was the right thing to do.

I'm glad Art is putting the screws to him. What I see in MT is a deer in the headlights.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:14 AM   #4
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Default Re: Harris column. Rooney ruling the roost.

Balance, that's all I ask for. We can both run and throw the ball effectively.

With all due respect, Art II need to keep his mouth shut and let the coaches do their damn jobs. Has this team severely under achieved? Absolutely, but (even with Arians) the offense has looked flat out great at times.

Get the D back on track and improve the offensive play calling and this team is right back to where they were last year. Why switch everything up because of ONE (by Pittsburgh standards) mediocre season? It doesn't make sense to me at all.

If I'm Tomlin, I'm not switching a damn thing, and I'm gonna prove I can win in the process. You have a $100 million dollar QB, and all you want to do is see him hand the ball off?? You got a receiving unit that can be nothing but great WITH that $100 million dollar QB, and all you want to do is see them block??

Again with all due respect, but Mr. Rooney can go screw himself IF he's telling Tomlin that's the case. We can't afford to waist the potential on this team...

Last edited by HometownGal; 01-19-2010 at 07:19 AM. Reason: NO F BOMBS PERMITTED!!! Please review the COC.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: Harris column. Rooney ruling the roost.

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Originally Posted by LamarrWoodleysFade View Post
Balance, that's all I ask for. We can both run and throw the ball effectively.

With all due respect, Art II need to keep his mouth shut and let the coaches do their damn jobs. Has this team severely under achieved? Absolutely, but (even with Arians) the offense has looked flat out great at times.

Get the D back on track and improve the offensive play calling and this team is right back to where they were last year. Why switch everything up because of ONE (by Pittsburgh standards) mediocre season? It doesn't make sense to me at all.

If I'm Tomlin, I'm not switching a damn thing, and I'm gonna prove I can win in the process. You have a $100 million dollar QB, and all you want to do is see him hand the ball off?? You got a receiving unit that can be nothing but great WITH that $100 million dollar QB, and all you want to do is see them block??

Again with all due respect, but Mr. Rooney can go screw himself IF he's telling Tomlin that's the case. We can't afford to waist the potential on this team...
Well, the majority of Steelers fans are demanding a return to "smashmouth football," so Mr. Rooney is just giving the people what they want.

Hey, I agree with you, man. It's not like the team is devoid of talent and needs an overhaul - there isn't a whole lot that needs to be done to get the team back in the playoffs next season. And of course, I and others here have said exactly what you've said about our $100 million QB and excellent receiving corps and we were excoriated for it.
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: Harris column. Rooney ruling the roost.

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Well, the majority of Steelers fans are demanding a return to "smashmouth football," so Mr. Rooney is just giving the people what they want.

Hey, I agree with you, man. It's not like the team is devoid of talent and needs an overhaul - there isn't a whole lot that needs to be done to get the team back in the playoffs next season. And of course, I and others here have said exactly what you've said about our $100 million QB and excellent receiving corps and we were excoriated for it.
I mean, I can understand giving the people what they want, but that doesn't mean it's always the right thing. I'm not attacking you, I'm just saying.

The same people who want Smashmouth football back are the same people complaining about how Ben gets no respect for being a great quarterback. Well, he can't be great if he's not allowed to throw the football. So people are gonna have to get over the fact that this isn't the 1970's anymore. Teams have to evolve at some point with the players the acquire over the years.

As much as I rag on Arians, the guy has done a half-way decent job overall. He gets greedy and can be a flat out idiot at times, but all that can be fixed once Tomlin gets in his ear a lil' bit.

I love this city and I love this team, but the amount of panic and dismay that takes place when this team has a down season (after 3 or 4 good/great ones) is ridiculous. I know we're the All Mighty Pittsburgh Steelers, but even we aren't immune to a down season every once in a while. It's actually good that we have this season to remind us that we aren't perfect and we DO have flaws. Let's correct them, move on and hope for a successful 2010 season...
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:42 AM   #7
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Default Re: Harris column. Rooney ruling the roost.

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Originally Posted by X-Terminator View Post
Well, the majority of Steelers fans are demanding a return to "smashmouth football," so Mr. Rooney is just giving the people what they want.

Hey, I agree with you, man. It's not like the team is devoid of talent and needs an overhaul - there isn't a whole lot that needs to be done to get the team back in the playoffs next season. And of course, I and others here have said exactly what you've said about our $100 million QB and excellent receiving corps and we were excoriated for it.
I totally agree Maybe Art RII is telling us "don't worry fans, next season will be an offensive improvement, we will try to run the ball when we need to and get better at playcalling, no more empty backfield on 3rd. & short"
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Harris column. Rooney ruling the roost.

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I totally agree Maybe Art RII is telling us "don't worry fans, next season will be an offensive improvement, we will try to run the ball when we need to and get better at playcalling, no more empty backfield on 3rd. & short"
As I stated in an earlier thread.... We're making a huge mistake if we think just running the ball more will fix all our woes....
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: Harris column. Rooney ruling the roost.

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Well, the majority of Steelers fans are demanding a return to "smashmouth football," so Mr. Rooney is just giving the people what they want.
The majority of Steelers fans also don't seem tor recall that smashmouth football has won us 0 (zero) Super Bowls. It's absolutely no coincidence that the majority of conference and Super Bowl winners over the past 10-15 years have been pass-oriented offences. An occasional exception may sneak in, such as the Ravens, but make no doubt about it - teams with dominant passing attacks are more successful in the playoffs rather than teams with dominant run games. Smashmouth football is consistent, but it can't keep up in scoring in today's NFL.

We had perhaps the best smashmouth RB in NFL history in Jerome Bettis, and we never even made it to a single Super Bowl with him as the starter.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: Harris column. Rooney ruling the roost.

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As I stated in an earlier thread.... We're making a huge mistake if we think just running the ball more will fix all our woes....
Hey Prok, easy with the wall or you'll have a headache later

Quote:
we will try to run the ball when we need to
I never said just running more will fix everything
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