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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday with Tomlin

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had some good news on the injury front today, saying that the only two guys who were having issues this week were Dri Archer and Steve McClendon.

But, Tomlin said that both Archer (ankle) and McClendon (shoulder) practiced on a limited basis Monday and could be available to play Sunday against Carolina.

In my eyes, McClendon has a better chance to play than Archer.

Lance Moore was not on Tomlin's injury report and the Steelers head coach said the team will keep a close eye on the receiver, who is coming off a month off with a groin injury.

In 11 career games against Carolina, Moore has 44 receptions for 641 yards and four touchdowns. His first career reception also came against the Panthers in 2006.

@ Tomlin said the biggest issues for the Steelers at this point  have been fundamental things such as tackling, taking care of the football and penalties.

It's surprising that tackling would be an issue for this team since it does more live tackling in practice during training camp than any other team in the league.

That leads me to believe that the issue is more of players not being where they are supposed to be.

If someone gets out of position, you wind up with guys reaching to make tackles. And NFL players are going to run through arm tackles.

@ Tomlin was asked about the early play of right tackle Marcus Gilbert.

Tomlin admitted Gilbert has struggled, but said last week was more of just being a Dumervil issue, in reference to Baltimore's Elvis Dumervil.

Tomlin did say that he expects Gilbert to bounce back "like Rocky."

It should be noted that Rocky got knocked down a lot in his fights.


Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter if the practice a lot of tackling. Look at the talent on the defense. Cold hard fact: it's one of the least talented defenses in the NFL.

Theosa said...

Lol at Gilbert-Rocky comparison but I don’t think right side is as tough to pass block as the left side where Beachum is doing just fine. Let’s just call spade a spade, Gilbert has been terrible and was the third among tackles allowing most sacks last year (11 in total). He has 4 already. His longevity and the fact that no good alternatives were available got him the contract in the hope that he would improve.
That players playing out of position and missing tackles makes sense, hope it will rectify soon.
I was kind of hoping McLendon rests a bit so we could see McCullers in action for some snaps :)

deljzc said...

For all the supposed "lack of talent" this team starts more 1st rounders than any in the NFL (9 total). Not to mention the 4 2nd rounders.

It's either scouting or coaching or both.

This team needs to start getting it done. Period. Or Tomlin and Colbert should be on the unemployment line after this season. They are wasting Roethlisberger's final seasons in the league with their rhetoric and lack of improvement.

Dale Lolley said...

Anybody who thinks tackling is an issue only for Steelers doesn't watch too many other teams. It's an issue for every team in the league.

The current CBA has really hurt the on-field product, in my opinion.

adamg said...

Having watched Gilbert for a couple of years now, it seems to me that he's kind of a slow starter but by the end of the season, he's doing fine.

I agree that part of the tackling problem is guys out of position. If there is one thing a Lebeau defense demands, it's each player staying in position for the specific defense. If one player (other than Troy) starts freelancing or tying to "do it all himself", the defense breaks.

pennstump said...

During most of the 2000s, any Steelers defender would say the key to the defense was Casey clogging up the middle and taking 2 or 3 blocks. Is the problem potentially simple enough that we simply don't have that any more in LeBeau's defense?

Dale Lolley said...

Considering stopping the stretch play is the biggest issue, I would say the nose tackle is not the issue. It's guys not getting off blocks and filling their lanes.

Steve-O said...

I'm still disgruntled over the Steelers failure to draft Cordarelle Patterson last year. His talent was a little raw but he was a star in the making. Instead we drafted Jarvis Jones, an outside linebacker who can't shed blocks and hasn't put much heat on the opposing QBs. On the other side I'd say the Steelers were smart not to give in to a long term big money deal that Worilds wanted. Thus far he hasn't earned it and if I'm them, I let him walk and draft another linebacker to replace him.

Okay... Knee jerk reaction out of the way.... I know it's too early to be that judgemental but my frustration with the unrealized expectations of those players is warranted to some degree and I wonder who is held accountable for it if they don't get better. GM, Head Coach, Scouts, position coach?

adamg said...

Dale, the stretch plays don't happen, at least as often, if you have a true NT tying up the C and G. At the very least, the OT trying to pull will get caught in a pile up.

IMO, part of the LBs not making as many plays is simply that the Gs are able to get out and on them due to them not worrying about blocking the NT.

Anonymous said...

So the Steelers Defense is in a 29 way tie for 29th place?

Anonymous said...

This is like talking to a wall. The problems stopping the run aren't McClendon!! It's because we've lost great run stoppers like Smith, Farrior, Foote and Harrison!

The young guys are still learning and some of the older guys (Timmons) aren't stopping the run as well as they should be.

Anonymous said...

It should also be noted that rocky never guarded himself from a punch, instead just absorbed a lot of hits. Hard to say who is going to end up more punch drunk in this scenario. Ben or Marcus.

marc said...

anon 9:03,
mclendon is not THE problem, but he is PART of the problem.

why were foote and farrior able to pursue and attack the run lanes so well? because they weren't busy fighting off o-linemen that had to deal with casey Hampton instead. james Harrison surely benefited from aaron smith collapsing the tackle and guard as he crashed down the line so often.

point being, there are zero d-linemen requiring a double team right now. this defensive scheme requires more dominant play from the d-line for the LB's to be effective, especially on the early downs. then, forcing teams into 3rd and longs, the various blitz packages get pulled out of the hat forcing QB's to make ill-advised throws into zone coverage. without the dominant d-linemen (they don't even have 1), the scheme breaks down.

mcullers is not the immediate answer, he is not ready. but if the trend continues, why not put him in their to learn more about what you've got with him? if nothing else, maybe you do it just to show him, "hey kid, this is why we keep telling you to get lower." however you want to look at it, if the defense continues to struggle mightily, only good things can come from giving the kid needed experience.

Anonymous said...

Can't blame it on one man only. IMO it's about the group. This is among the worst Steeler front 7 of recent memory. No difference makers. Look at some of these LB groups and compare them to the current one:


Let's not fool ourselves. The talent isn't there this year.

Dale Lolley said...

Even when the Steelers had Casey Hampton, they had issues at times with the stretch. If one guy gets out of his lane, it gives the back the cutback lane he needs.

joe said...

i think much of the tackling problem is from years of not tackling, but going for the big highlight hit to knock a guy down. this trickled into college also. many of these defenders (all teams) seem to have no clue how to properly wrap a guy up.

Ron said...


I am curious if you had to single out folks on the defense who are having trouble with the outside zone, who would they be? Also, who do you think on the defense is not staying in their lanes?Thanks.

Greg Mercer said...

Over his career, Ben has excelled at play action. however, with Haley's quick passing, that's sort of been taken away from this offense.

do you know if they have plans to work this back into the gameplan? or have they been doing it, and I just wasn't paying close enough attention.

deljzc said...

Snap Counts to Date on the D-Line:

Heyward - 116 (85.9%)
Thomas - 91 (67.4%)
Keisel - 89 (65.9%)
McLendon - 62 (45.9%)
Tuitt - 24 (17.8%)

Based on this, Cam Thomas has only played 41 snaps and DE maximum (because we know Heyward, Keisel and Tuitt have only played DE and you can't have more than 2 DE's per play).

Cam Thomas is playing NOSE TACKLE for us. Almost as much as McLendon, which is just a stupid decision by the coaches to date.

There is no reason McCullers can't be activated and Thomas sat for ONE GAME as punishment for Thomas' performance to date. Let McLendon be the actual nose tackle (75% of snaps). Let Heyward, Keisel and Tuitt split the snaps at DE. Let McCullers be the guy to get 10-15 snaps a game in a relief roll to give a breather when necessary.

Thomas is a liability. The FILM says so. Any inaction by the Steelers coaching staff on this puts the blame firmly on them for future failures in the D-line's performance. This regime has consistently been too slow to act on benching inadequate starters (Ziggy Hood anyone?).

Again... just the same old, same old with Tomlin. He hasn't grown or changed one iota since 2007. It's the most disturbing trend of his tenure.

Anonymous said...

Action doesn't have to be to bench him. It could just mean extra time in the film room or practice. I don't know that he's up for it or not though.

I've sen enough people I respect say that Mcculers isn't the answer though so I'm not going to spend any time thinking about that.

Steelers defense is a joke now though and that's weird to say. I started watching them in the days of Greg and Kevin because the defense and attitude was so fun to watch. I don't even bother with the Sunday Ticket anymore.

I don't think it has anything to do with Tomlin though. Just a rough draft patch, which imo, they were due for and the inevitable rise and fall of teams. Heck back to back 8-8 seasons for a rebuilding team is pretty good IMO.