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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday with Tomlin

Mike Tomlin addressed a myriad of things at his press conference today, going through many of the key moments in Sunday's 27-24 loss step-by-step.

Tomlin said the Steelers' final offensive play was called by him. It was a run-pass option play for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who chose to run the ball based on what he saw from Tampa Bay's defense.

Tomlin said the look was five defenders against five run blockers up front, but the Steelers had a breakdown up front.

On the 41-yard pass to Louis Murphy to set up the game-winning touchdown, Tomlin said it was a failure on all three levels. The defensive front was a step slow to get pressure. The zone defense behind them lost its depth - Mike Mitchell bit up on an underneath route - and then the Steelers did a poor job of getting Murphy on the ground - Mitchell and Troy Polamalu both took bad angles on the tackle, allowing Murphy to get to the 5.

As for some of the pre- and post-snap penalties, Tomlin singled out some guys without mentioning them specifically - ie. Arthur Moats, Antonio Brown, etc.

But one player he did give a pass to was Cam Heyward, who drew an unsportsmanlike penalty for yelling at officials after it appeared that Sean Spence was held on a touchdown run by Doug Martin in the third quarter.

Tomlin said he felt everyone in the stadium thought there was a hold against Spence and that had the play been closer to him or he had been on that sideline, he might have drawn an unsportsmanlike penalty as well.

@ Speaking of penalties, Tomlin said he will have officials at practice this week as the Steelers prepare to face Jacksonville.

@ Tomlin said the team will start working with rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier towards his return, but to not expect that return to be this week.

@ The Steelers terminated the contract of punter Adam Podlesh Tuesday. Podlesh, signed in the offseason, was placed on the did not report list when he didn't show up at training camp while his wife dealt with a difficult pregnancy.


Scott Szakovits said...

Shazier was still limping pretty bad Sunday. He was about twenty yards from me and he wasn't walking well at all. I hope he can get back. We could use that speed.

Theosa said...

I guess everyone will be quite now realizing that it was Ben who opted for a run play on third and five, and Haley bashing would stop for a week. I’m sure Bucs had some break downs, bad angles, and some bad penalties too but they scored more points than the mighty Steelers offense and won the game.
Steelers lose to a backup QB and a wide receiver picked off the street, AB smiles and turns his back on coach when confronted for excessive celebration penalty, Coach T links racism to him being called “Player’s Coach”, strange week indeed!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I would be shocked if Tomlin wasn't involved in the 3rd and 5 call. Too critical for him not to be.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Theosa on a couple comments, the whole race card being pulled during the interview made me feel uncomfortable.
AB smiling after the drop pass and after the 15 yard penalty had me scratching my head, thinking that I hope he doesn't think he is bigger than the game.

The last series sucked, there is no doubt. But that's not the only reason we lost the game, it looked to me that they felt at any moment that they could take this game and run with it, but consistency held them back. 4 starters out of the game going against not a bad teams with their backs against the wall, everything to win with nothing to lose. I'm picking Tampa and the Steelers to win this week..


marc said...

shazier's not coming back until Houston at the earliest, imo.

I like the way they handled the 3rd and 5. have your franchise QB scan the situation and make a decision. not #7's fault the blocking sucked. however, I bet you next time he will be more apt to go with the pass.

what is foster's status?

also, any thoughts on spence's play last week?


Theosa said...

It’s true, that 3rd and 5 play did not decide the game. Contrary to others I’m blaming the offense more for this loss, the younger and the more talented bunch. They gave up an easy TD to Tampa early on and then scored just 7 points in the second half; they did not even capitalize on Cortez interception. Wasn’t the offense supposed to carry this team? The lack of pressure by defense and the horrid play of the secondary played its part no question, but defense was missing 3 starters and still fields over the hump Keisel, Polamalu, and Harrison.
So you are picking Steelers? I’d say Jaguars will be as formidable or even more than Bucs, they are looking for their first win as well, playing at home against a team that has a track record of playing to the level of opponent. I pick Jaguars to upset the Steelers in another close game, turnovers turnovers turnovers…

Dale Lolley said...

I thought Spence was OK. Nothing spectacular, but serviceable.

I put a lot of the blame on this game on the offense, as well. Not only did it hand the Bucs 7 points on the opening possession, a three-and-out followed that up.
It was good for much of the game after that, then failed with a couple of chances to put the game away. Dropped pass by Brown, overthrow of Brown by Roethlisberger. Missed blocking assignments in the fourth quarter.

I am wary of Jacksonville as well. But they have the league's worst defense and Cecil Shorts and Marcedes Lewis are both out. That leaves a lot of rookies on that offense in key positions.

Theosa said...

Steelers are much better team than Bucs and Jaguars; it’s just their inconsistency that never makes you feel comfortable, especially against inferior teams. Most of the time they play close games no matter who the opponent is (that Panthers win was sweet and an exception) and if you let a hungry team hang in there long enough you’re asking for trouble. Bucs were missing key players too but Steelers lost to them and Jacksonville will be no kinder. Let’s just say my early season optimism about this Steelers team has taken a big dip :)

deljzc said...

How many times did Tomlin say "obviously"?

Anonymous said...

Can we stop with the Steelers are a much better team than ______ talk? Until they start winning the games they should, they are no better than any other team. Period.

Anonymous said...

Steelers 10-12 all time against Jacksonville

ibygeorge said...

Not only is this team NOT the much better team, they are the much worse team.

Anonymous said...

who cares what Tomlin says, he's an idiot and a horrible coach

when are they gonna unleash hell?


Tom said...

I do not feel comfortable about this game at all, Jax is certainly young in important skill positions as Dale has said but that doesn't mean the Steelers match up well. Pitt has to have the smallest secondary in the AFC, maybe even NFL. I'm not a pessimist, but rather a realist. If I'm the Jags I let my rookie stud loose to see what he can do against our lowly secondary. Cortez Allen's problem isn't physical, it's mental. He has the talent to be a solid #2 corner in the NFL, but right now he has very little confidence (swagger, if you will) and he seems to get down during the games. Poor body language IMO.

Anonymous said...

Here is a point that I think needs mentioning...Every team in the NFL has looked bad at times. Some teams for longer stretches than others, but even Seattle and Denver have had their bad moments.

I think this goes back to the way they practice in the offseason and training camp. The first quarter of the season is just getting the teams into shape. I hope the next 12 games are better for the Steelers, but really, there is no reason at this point to get too worried.

There is a case to be made that the Bengals are the best team through the first four weeks. I guess we will find out where the Steelers stand when we play them.

Anonymous said...

Tomlin's reaction to being called a players coach says more about the pressure he is under than anything else.

His team has struggled for two straight years and just lost to the worst team in the NFL. His seat feels a little hot.

Personally, I think Colbert is the problem.

Dale Lolley said...

Tampa Bay is not the worst team in the NFL. They will be playing that team this week.

Dale Lolley said...

Although the mess in Oakland can certainly make an argument for being the worst

Anonymous Brian said...

Tomlin's take doesn't change anything.

The details about who called what on the third-and-5, DeCastro getting blown up, etc. obscure the glaringly obvious fact that the defense cannot be trusted. And an average punt would not make me feel any more confident in the defense being able to hold there.

In other words, just the fact that the run v. pass is even an option, IMO, makes it a too-risky call even if it's not bad, awful, fire everybody, etc. It's actually more conservative, gives you a better chance to win, to just have Ben sling it there. That's why he has that contract.

It's the 3rd-and-6 QB sweep vs. Jax in 2007 vs. the 3rd-and-6 completion to Brown to secure the 2010 AFFCG. (Heck, I'm almost perfectly fine with Ben getting strip-sacked there to lose the game compared to what happened, at least it would be a change! :) )

This goes for the cute 4th-and-3 Ben punt as well.

The ability of the defense the last 5-6 years to give up leads and game-losing drives is astounding.

Tomlin's "crazy" onside kick vs. Green Bay in 2009 is very much not crazy.

(Great article on another site from yesterday about this. The analytics stuff sometimes gets overplayed. In this case it's not "advanced" stats at all but just obviously shows how risky "conservative" play on offense is with the Steelers' defense the last 6 years or so.)

Any chance Shamarko Thomas sees the field in some fashion? Nickel? Give Troy a breather? They did trade up for him and he laid some hits in 2nd-string preseason. Why not? Doghouse or just numbers game or is he just not that good?

I still think they'll be 6-5, maybe even 7-4 going into their bye.

Greg Mercer said...


In your opinion, did Tomlin play the race card yesterday? If so, I may be done with him.

Keep up the great work!


marc said...

anon brian,
good points. I do think the "4th and 3 Ben Punting" is another one of those play options he has. if the matchup seems right, go for it, if not, then punt it. I'm just guessing though.

I too was wondering where shamarko was? has he fallen off the cliff?

also, I'm starting to get the impression lance moore dug himself some kind of hole. no reason he shouldn't be out there ahead of brown.

finally, the steelers are so bad at OLB that they sign a guy out of retirement and he plays 27 snaps in the first game? wow.

Anonymous said...

How many low balls did Ben have to pick up off the turf from bad snaps?

Patrick said...

2 things that annoyed me about Tomlin's presser - saying Suisham can make at 50 is lying. Suisham makes 50+ about 10% of his career. I'm not firing up the Suisham debate - he is a a very consistent mid range kicker and thats all - but why can't Tomlin get this? Its been over 4 seasons since his horrible decision to kick a long FG against GB in the SB and a similar attempt against loser Ten not long ago. Why can't he get it? Suisham can't hit those, don't take the chance if you don't absolutely need to (i.e., down by three or less with little time) - punt or go for it

Also, his criticism of Brown's penalty while excusing Heyward's is flat out stupid. As to Brown, Tomlin says Brown needs to act like he's been there before. As to Heyward, Tomlin would have personally drawn THE SAME PENALTY. Is he insane? Does he not see the inconsistency here? Maybe Heyward needs to act like he's been there before too and accept that the refs blow some calls.

I can't accept the things that come out of this guy's mouth. I just don't think he is a very intelligent coach, from game to media.

Patrick said...

For the record, Suisham is 4/14 from 50+, 28.5% of the time. Still not a good percentage - and not considering Heinz field attempts.

Bobby Gust 'drazl' said...

"Also, his criticism of Brown's penalty while excusing Heyward's is flat out stupid. As to Brown, Tomlin says Brown needs to act like he's been there before. As to Heyward, Tomlin would have personally drawn THE SAME PENALTY. Is he insane? Does he not see the inconsistency here? Maybe Heyward needs to act like he's been there before too and accept that the refs blow some calls. "

IMHO there is a world of difference between showboating after a great play and becoming frustrated with poor officiating. I find it very easy to excuse the latter not so much the former. It brings to mind a few years ago when Anthony Smith pulled his little "look at me" routine and Coach L grabbed him by the face mask and made it very clear that was a no no. I was quite pleased thinking "you tell 'em coach"

Thanks for the Blog Dale. I check it everyday and I appreciate everyone's insight. I hope we haven't returned to the '80's ... I don't think I can handle a decade of mediocrity.

Snarky said...

Get used to mediocrity because the standard is the standard. Coach Tomlin's words not mine.

Theosa said...

Big Ben on the 3rd and 5 call as quoted by ESPN’s Scott Brown;
"The line was run-blocking all the way, so it’s not like you can drop back and throw a pass, if you want to call that a run-pass option, I guess it is. But it’s pretty much a run, and we have to believe that we can get that when it’s called."
Looks like Big Ben got even with Mike Tomlin who pretty much held Ben responsible for calling the run play on 3rd and 5. Very interesting week in Burgh indeed! First Antonio Brown not showing Tomlin respect by turning his back on him after the celebration penalty and now Big Ben keeping the record straight. Maybe Tomlin was on defense when he tried to link him being called “Coach’s Player” to racism, and maybe his seat is warmed up a little bit. In any case this has been a bad week for Mike Tomlin.

Anonymous said...

there should be a ban on fans trying to cleverly use 'unleash hell' and 'the standard is the standard' in criticism of tomlin. just from an entertainment standpoint i want to see something more original

Anonymous said...


rvaccare said...

That missed holding call against Spence on the TD was about as egregious as it gets and it happened right in front of the ref and along Martin's route to the end zone. I was in the last row of seats in the stadium on the opposite 20 yard line and could see that Spence was turned significantly by the blocker. Otherwise, he would have made the tackle. I was yelling holding before Martin entered the end zone. Not to excuse Cam Heyward's response, but that was a HUGE missed call at a critical point in the game. Tomlin is not afraid to run out on the field during play, so I wonder why he held back on that play.

Anonymous said...

Many of the penalties are a side effect of having so many young players on the field. Veterans generally commit fewer penalties.

That said, there is no excuse for THIS MANY penalties, even with a young team. Tomlin really needs to do something. Even if it means benching guys.

Anonymous said...

Quote Theosa: Looks like Big Ben got even with Mike Tomlin who pretty much held Ben responsible for calling the run play on 3rd and 5.

Me: You mean when Tomlin said Ben called the correct play for the defense he was seeing?


Theosa said...

No, I meant when Tomlin said it was a “run/pass” option play and Ben chose the run option. Looks like Ben is saying there wasn’t much pass option on that play.

kyle said...

It's just like those hot route smoke screens. Ben doesn't seem to have much trouble checking in to those. Tomlin even mentioned how the blocking broke down, which to a degree lets Ben off the hook. It seems like Tomlin stated things factually and Ben got prickly which he always does when he's questioned about anything that's gone wrong.

Anonymous Brian said...

My take is that Tomlin told Haley / Ben to run the ball. (Maybe they, or at least Haley anyway, agreed with this.)

Then at the press conference, Tomlin gave a long-winded account of the play, specifying blocking numbers (technically correct, but if you look at the play again...) and that Ben made the "correct" decision.

When really, it was just:

Tomlin told Haley / Ben to run the ball.

On Tuesday, Tomlin was trying to give the impression that things were more complicated than that. So in a very technical sense, Tomlin was giving an honest explanation, but in reality, sort of not.

(Either that or Ben is the one full of it. I say Tomlin in this case. He's not Owning his Obvious decision to pay turtle / clock / trust the rookie punter and defense more than Ben / Brown / Miller.)

Anonymous said...

Good, it's settled.

You can't pass out of a run formation. I wonder if you can run out of a pass formation?

Ben said if Heath was uncovered he could pass, if he was covered then it's a run play.


Anonymous Brian said...