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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tuesday with Tomlin, other thoughts

Mike Tomlin couldn't talk enough about the St. Louis defensive line, and most notably, Aaron Donald, today at this weekly press conference.

The Rams have five former first-round draft picks on their defensive line and Jeff Fisher has does what he typically does, build his defense from the front to back.

Fisher's defenses have always given the Steelers fits, both because they've typically done a nice job of stuffing the run and getting to the quarterback.

But this group did allow a bunch of rushing yards on Sunday against Washington, which might have the worst roster in the league, losing 24-10.

The Rams stop the run on the way to the quarterback. And if the Steelers can get Le'Veon Bell out on the edge, he could have a lot of success.

The Steelers offensive line also has done an outstanding job both in run blocking and pass blocking in the first two weeks.

That should be a premiere matchup.

* Tomlin spoke a lot about going into a hostile environment this week but I don't know that will be the case.

The Rams announced a crowd of 50,000 or so for their opener against Seattle two weeks ago but that seemed like a stretch.

People in St. Louis aren't supporting this team because it has one foot out the door to Los Angeles.

I have a feeling the stadium could be filled a little closer to capacity this week, but it will be filled with Steelers fans, not those wanting to see the Rams.

* Tomlin said only Daniel McCullers (knee swelling) is on the injury report at this time. He was also asked about Cortez Allen, who also has had issues with knee swelling and missed last week's game.

Tomlin said he's not sure that the current knee issue is the same one Allen was dealing with in the preseason, though it is. I asked if there was a possibility of surgery being needed, but Tomlin said that wasn't the case.

* Tomlin said he's not concerned with placekicker Josh Scobee at this point. Scobee has missed two of four field goal attempts and missed a PAT against the 49ers.

Part of the problem could be new punter Jordan Berry, who is the holder, but that's just a theory on my part. I, and the Steelers, expect Scobee to be better as the season moves on.

* The Ravens, Seahawks and Colts are all 0-2 and history says that 0-2 teams make the playoffs just under 12 percent of the time.

The Colts have the best chance of bucking that trend. They started 0-2 last season and made the playoffs thanks to playing in the AFC South, where they get what should be six easy wins.

Seattle also has a chance to rebound in a pretty wide-open NFC playoff race.

The Ravens, however, are in deep trouble. They host Cincinnati this week and play the Steelers on the road on a short week next Thursday.

An 0-4 start would leave them finished. A 1-3 start is barely passable.

* The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Martavis Bryant is in Houston working with former NBA player and coach John Lucas during his 4-game suspension for marijuana use.

Lucas is well-known for his work with athletes who have issues with drug abuse. This is a good step for Bryant, who is one failed test away from a 10-game suspension.


Anonymous said...

I have not been a Tomlin fan, but I have to say this. The Steelers’ offense is leading the league in yards per game at 458. I understand the red zone issues. However, the offense is moving the ball while missing one of the best backs and centers in the league and their number 2 receiver. You have to give Tomlin credit for getting backups that can play. He’s also surrounded himself with a couple of former head coaches on offense who have made a difference. Granted, Ben is also a difference maker, but I’ll give Tomlin credit where it’s due.

Another observation about coaches and fans: I have a friend who is a Green Bay fan and I’ve told him I thought McCarthy was a good coach. He comments that he’s always screwing up. My guess is that if you follow a team closely and long enough, you’ll be able to point out the coaching errors. Point is, no coach is perfect, hindsight is 20/20 and we have a pretty good coach.

Finally, I think we're going to have trouble with St. Louis only because Fisher has always given the Steelers problems when with Tennessee. Munchak did coach the OL under Fisher when he was with Tennessee, so he might be able provide some insight into his tendencies.

datruth4life said...

Dale, early thoughts on who gets the heave-ho tomorrow? I believe it will be Caushad Lyons. I don't think Colbert wants the type of egg on his face to cut a 3rd round pick in his 2nd year. Even if Dri is kept, he won't be getting a helmet anytime soon unless there are injuries. Jordan Toddman will get that helmet.

Lastly, do you think Bryant is in a rehab facility? Kind of hard to believe that the Steelers would rather him train on his own away from the team instead of in the team's facility everyday where they could still have eyes on him, have him work with their team trainers and have him attend meetings. I personally think he is somewhere getting help to deal with his addiction.

marc said...

this isn't the same old offense the steelers used to run against the titans. i think the steelers have shown they are capable of neutralizing a pass rush with short drops and quick passes to receivers who can create - much like the patriots have done. swing bell out against a LB and forget it. the rams will need to play close to the line of scrimmage and force the steelers to try and go over the top. we'll see how that works. as long as the oline doesn't blow assignments, the steelers just have too many options to choose from when they line up.

if the defense comes with the same attitude, the better team should win.

Anonymous said...

This may be your answer, Datruth...

This guy says he's with John Lucas in Houston. That would be a good place for him.

Dale Lolley said...

Lyons would be the most likely player to go, in my opinion. They don't need seven defensive linemen and Lyons and L.T. Walton have both been inactive the first two weeks.

Anonymous Brian said...

Is Dri Archer really good in practice?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand. Tomlin doesn't know if Cortez's knee issue is the same as before, but you do? Did Cortez or his doctor tell you?

Anonymous said...

Most logical thing would be for the Steelers to cut Lyons. Archer is only in his second year and was a third round pick. I am also thinking it's more and more likely we cut one of the Fullbacks. Archer could just not dress for the rest of the year and play in case of an emergency injury later on in the year.

Anonymous Brian said...

There's no reason to keep both Archer and Todman.

Todman has done the things Archer was drafted to do, but can't, in NFL games. His one run the other day was more than Archer has shown since he was drafted.

Todman is an NFL player. A scrap heap one, but an NFL player nonetheless.

I get the logic of the 7th lineman and all, but I think they should just admit it and move on.

Dale Lolley said...

"I don't understand. Tomlin doesn't know if Cortez's knee issue is the same as before, but you do? Did Cortez or his doctor tell you?"

Yeah, because Tomlin is always truthful for sure, bozo.

They're not likely to cut Archer - if they do at all - until Bryant returns. And even then, the natural move would be to put Murphy on the PS.

I believe that on another team, Archer would have some uses. On this one, he's a luxury item. Really, who are you getting the ball to, Archer or Bell, Brown, Bryant, Miller, etc.

I feel the same way about Wheaton. He's under-utilized because of the other weapons.

Look at Emmanuel Sanders as an example. Here, he was something of an afterthought. In Denver, he's suddenly a Pro Bowl player.

Situation and usage has a lot to do with it.

datruth4life said...

I don't think Toddman is a scrap heap player. Sometimes it just takes finding the right team, particularly coming in as a 6th round draft pick. This kid is a football player and the kind that helps you win games. He also helps a team save a roster spot, as he's a good returner, RB, can play on all your punt and kickoff teams and can even pick up the blitz on 3rd down.

I'd probably still cut Lyons and put him on the practice squad and hope that the competition between Toddman and Dri each week for a helmet will motivate Dri to take his play up to another level. Toddman being able to run down under punts and on kickoffs as well as return kicks will give him the helmet every week.

Dale, what's up with Timmons? Is the toe still bothering him? He just doesn't look like the same player he was last year. If you are the Steelers, you have to hope it is just the toe because if he is slowing down at the tender old age of 29, then you have a player that you need to give a contract extension to next year because he is scheduled to make $15M next year.

Lastly, what if Bryant comes back to the Steelers and promises to stay clean and outwork Antonio Brown? That would be music to everyone's ears.

Anonymous said...


I agree that the Steelers offense is much better than when Fisher was head coach at Tenn. But I have an immense amount of respect for him and his defenses. I sense that they will give the Steelers trouble.


You brought up an interesting point regarding Sanders. I think the organization has done a tremendous job drafting wide receivers. I also sense though that Ben also has helped make these receivers what they are with his abilities. Wallace looked better with Ben than at any time in his career. Lose Wallace and Sanders, replace them with Wheaton and Bryant and don’t miss a beat. I mean Hayward Bey looked good last week, so a lot of times the quarterback does make the receiver look good. Now you do have to be able to catch the ball Limas.

Regarding Bryant, he has all world ability if he can keep his nose clean.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, Dale Sanders doesn't seem to drop as many passes in Denver as he did here.

datruth4life said...

Dale, I agree with your thoughts on Archer as well as those on Sanders. Sanders didn't do a whole lot with the Steelers but has improved his game with the Broncos. Just think, at one time, Sanders and AB were competing for a helmet on gameday and now both are pro bowl receivers and AB arguably is the best WR in the league. The same can be said for Bryant and Wheaton. Bryant looked like a beast in the preseason. Because of AB and Bell, he will always have single coverage during his time in Pittsburgh and that is just a mismatch in Pittsburgh's favor.

Too bad Cortez just hasn't seemed to get it together. Everything started off so positive for him. Maybe he and Shamarko will be big contributors before the season is over but things don't seem to be heading in that direction. It's definitely do or die for Cortez this year and so far he is dying.

Greg W. said...

Do we know for sure that Bryant's issue is with marijuana and not something that induces greater dependency? The number of violations in such a short time along with the apparent need to do rehab makes me worry that he's gotten involved with something that's harder to kick. I really hope that's not the case, first for him as a person and second as a player and (current) member of the Steelers.

On Ben/Peyton making Sanders and other receivers better: Ben was nearly perfect with every pass he threw on Sunday. He really made the deep balls look effortless, like he was just flicking his wrist and the ball would go 20, 30, 40+ yards (reminding me of Bradshaw at his peek). It looks like Ben is really on a different level this season it terms of his strength and control, but also in terms of his ability to read defenses (or at least the 49ers D). Contrast that with Fitzpatrick and Luck on Monday night (God help me for watching as much of that game as I did). Those guys missed so many throws, not giving their receivers the slightest chance of making a play. They looked like college QBs compared to Ben.

Go Steelers!

Anonymous said...

Ben is throwing an absolutely beautiful football at the moment. The deep balls last game...goodness gracious, you can't throw them any better. Perfect spirals. Put them in a vacuum and compare Ben's ball to the ball Peyton Manning is throwing right now and it's night and day. Don't take this for granted folks, Ben is currently in his prime. Let's enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Easley said...

I agree that Ben has been top notch in the early weeks, but don't forget to give some credit to the O line which has been giving him such great protection. Was he even touched last Sunday?

Zeke R said...

Murphy to the PS?

Anonymous said...

A couple of WR needy teams (Jets, Panthers, Ravens) out there. Hope Murphy makes it to the PS.

datruth4life said...

Murphy will make it to the practice squad. Teams aren't going to release a player from their 53-man roster to add a player who wasn't drafted as a QB in April and spent most of training camp, the preseason and the first 2 games of the season as a WR. A year on the practice squad will do this kid good. The same for Shakim Phillips.

Expect Coates to get a helmet the next 2 weeks while Toddman to get a helmet in place of Dri Archer. Archer will be on the inactive list going forward.

Anonymous said...

Me: "I don't understand. Tomlin doesn't know if Cortez's knee issue is the same as before, but you do? Did Cortez or his doctor tell you?"

Dale: "Yeah, because Tomlin is always truthful for sure, bozo."


The question is whether or not Cortez's knee injury is an aggravation of same injury he had before.

Mike Tomlin, who likely knows the correct answer, gave an answer.

He may or may not be lying. Coaches are sometimes honest about that stuff, and other times they're not. But at least he knows the answer, so there's some reason to think what he's saying is true. You, on the other hand, are just speculating. That makes me a bozo? I didn't attack you. I asked if you had anything to back up your speculation. Doesn't sound like it.

You also - like Tomlin - are wrong about stuff all the time, whether intentional or not. You are delusional.

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