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Spinning Tires: Steelers 2021 Offseason and Beyond...


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Doing so for a full season is a lot tougher to do than the occasional spot duty, and even last year he benefited from Hodges who came in right when Rudolph started to struggle. Once there was tape on the two of them, the collapse started.

And Tomlin didn't lose all of their defensive stars to injuries, either, like the 49ers did.

 

See I just find comments like these comical. You said a few posts ago that Tomlin supporters make excuses for him when he loses in the playoffs. Yet here you are making excuses for why what he did when Ben was out the whole year wasn't impressive or "tough enough". 

He was "saved" by Duck Hodges, a rookie UDFA from Samford who really had no business being anything more than a practice squad/TC body? He didn't lose enough defensive stars that season for it to be considered an accomplishment? C'mon...

Also, Hodges didn't come in when Rudolph started to struggle, he came in when Rudolph got decapitated mid-game by Earl Thomas and was never the same the rest of the season. Which to a logical person, losing both your HOF starter and top backup for chunks of games at a time would make that season more impressive but I guess not to a blind Tomlin hater. 

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I’m going to say this only because I’ve never gotten the chance. Let’s keep it civil on the Tomlin talk. I know it will be. This crew doesn’t get as unruly as we once did. I know Tomlin is divisive on here, but let’s keep the debate to only minimal insults and sarcasm. I think this is probably pointed mostly at me, to be fair. I just everyone to know that I love all you yinzers and I don’t want people to get banned and all that jazz. Plus, I’m the mod and I’m mostly trying to avoid use of mod power because secretly I barely understand what I’m doing, and honestly am pretty lazy. 

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4 hours ago, bigben07MVP said:

Yet here you are making excuses for why what he did when Ben was out the whole year wasn't impressive or "tough enough". 

I gave Tomlin all the credit he deserved for his .500 season in 2019. I laid off the criticism mostly the entire year and I've said repeatedly that his big strength is that the guys do play for him. He's never lost his locker room like some other long tenured but successful coaches.

But Mike Tomlin has been stunted as a head coach for years. His flaws remain the same year in and year out, and some of them have only gotten worse as the league has changed around him. So congrats on overachieving for one season of his career. The norm is Tomlin has the talent on his team and underachieves with it.  That's been the pattern since 2011 when the core of Cowher's players started to seriously decline. So, yea, I'm going to judge him based on that.

But what I said isn't some excuse. It's the reality. Tomlin actually benefited from having Hodges, and Hodges was a lot better option as the #3 guy than Dobbs would have been. If you remember, the team benched Rudolph because he wasn't producing and he started to turn the ball over. Even if for a few games, Hodges provided the spark the team needed on offense before he, too, hit the wall.

And if Hodges had a bit more arm talent, he'd be twice the player the drafted Rudolph is.

4 hours ago, bigben07MVP said:

Also, Hodges didn't come in when Rudolph started to struggle, he came in when Rudolph got decapitated mid-game by Earl Thomas and was never the same the rest of the season.

This has always been the lamest excuse. If Rudolph is so mentally weak that one hit took away all of his confidence, he's not even someone you want as a back-up. There is a pretty well known pattern with back-up QB's where they can come in for a game or two or even a stretch and look good before teams figure them out completely.

In the Steelers' case, they had two subpar back-ups who teams had no film on who were able to rattle off a few wins with a strong, ballhawking defense. When the turnovers didn't go the teams way, the wins stopped.

Then YOU were the one who brought the 49ers into this when their situation was entirely different. They collapsed last season with a hell of a lot more injuries than to just their QB whether you want to acknowledge that reality or not.

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@CKSteeler I agree with most of your points man, I am not arguing that Tomlin has underachieved plenty of times. Having him as your coach is a blessing and a curse. Yes, we will always at worst be a top-half team in the league, players love and respect him, and he creates a great culture. But then you have to live with the playoff disappointments, losses to teams we have no business losing to, bonehead play calls, and bad challenge decisions. He just doesn’t seem to be able to get the team mentally right before big games. 

Again, the point I’m trying to make is in my opinion it will be nice to have him through the transition from Ben to whoever our next QB is because we likely never see the bottom fall out. The 7-10 record you originally mentioned is probably our floor even with Rudolph at QB as long as the defense stays mostly in tact. 

And on Mason, I know it sounds like I’m making excuses for him but man he had some really crappy luck in 2019. That Earl Thomas hit wasn’t your average bad hit, it was extremely violent. He was knocked out cold for an extended period of time and they had to drill his face mask off while he was motionless on the field. Then when he finally comes back the whole Myles Garrett fiasco happens and regardless of what level of responsibility you feel he deserves for that, that couldn’t have been good for his confidence with it happening in national TV, all the commentary on it, and then getting accused of making racist remarks. Then to make things worse he comes in against the Jets for Duck and was actually looking pretty good until he got hurt once again. The guy was absolutely not supposed to see the field much that year and I can’t imagine a worse string of luck for a guys first season getting thrown into the fire like that. I wouldn’t say I have a huge amount of confidence he will rebound but I do think the jury is still out. He’s got a beautiful deep ball, if he can work on the intermediate stuff and decision making I think he has the potential to be an above average starter. I also think we could have beat the Browns in the playoffs with Mason at QB instead of Ben. Just my opinion, I totally understand why other fans would have given up on him. 

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According to Tony Pauline, the Steelers have three guys their targeting at 1.24. Najee Harris, Teven Jenkins, or Landon Dickerson. I would be pretty annoyed if they reached for a center with bad medicals at 1.24, though they know more about how the draft will unfold than I do. There are a lot of teams with holes at center which could push the position up the board.

I'm also more of an Etienne fan from what I've seen.

If I'm going OL in R1, I'd go for the tackle and then look to R2 for the center.

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I always assumed that Rudolph was recovering from the concussion more than he was unable to mentally shake off the big hit. Just my two cents. I agree about Etienne. I’d probably take Dickerson in the second. I wouldn’t necessarily feel great about it with his injury history. If we were going to take a C in the first, I’d rather it be Creed Humphrey. And I wouldn’t be overly happy with him. 

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6 hours ago, MOSteelers56 said:

I always assumed that Rudolph was recovering from the concussion more than he was unable to mentally shake off the big hit. Just my two cents.

Plus if Duck were even slightly better Mason likely wouldn't have come back.  Especially in that LAC game.  He was so decidingly replaceable.  If he played at a slightly higher level I think they are more comfortable with Duck playing the following week against Miami and Mason gets more time to recover.

And this is just my personal experience from taking a hit like Mason did: 2 weeks isn't a recovery time.  He should have been out longer.

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Additionally:

Tomlin got extended for 3 reasons - 

1 - His work with backup QBs has shown the ownership and FO he can keep them competitive without Ben. They rather be organically bad (what led to getting Ben) than intentionally bad (like Miami)

2 - IIRC the current contract was supposed to expire in 2022, so this “3-year extension” is most likely just a 1 year with a slight pay bump. Keep in mind they’ve never printed how much Tomlin is actually paid. 
 

3 - Extending Tomlin to me is much more a reflection of the Ownership/FO than it is Tomlin. If we fired Tomlin, he would get hired within a week (at least have offers in hand) and have that team better year 1. Either the ownership/FO is comfortable with just playoffs or they think we’re closer than we really are and don’t think a coaching change is what will push it over the top. 

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Posted (edited)

I dont necessarily have an issue with Tomlin's extension.....but I wouldnt have had any issue letting him walk, either.

I am pretty neutral on Tomlin, but every year he slips out of favor.  I think he is an okay/good-ish coach.    He has many flaws which have gotten extremely old, and I dont have much faith in those flaws improving.     He is what he is at this point. 

That being said, most coaches have notable flaws...even the ones considered good.      Guys like Pete Carroll, Andy Reid, and Sean Peyton are deeply flawed coaches.    Are they better than Tomlin?     Perhaps, but they have all underwhelmed at points, despite having franchise QBs.      Reid is on top of the coaching world right now, but he also has an all time great talent at QB.

Bottom line.....Tomlin damn well needs to start being held accountable, but given that we have been relatively successful under him, they are likely going to give him at least a few years POST BEN to show what he can do with the team.    In fairness to Tomlin, outside of a handful of specific games/specific throws, Ben is a very mediocre postseason QB.     Not to dismiss blame from Tomlin, but certain people like to point out that Tomlin "inherited" Ben, but refuse to acknowledge that Ben himself has lost us several playoff games with poor decision making and inconsistency.

Edited by 43M
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1 hour ago, 43M said:

I don't necessarily have an issue with Tomlin's extension.....but I wouldn't have had any issue letting him walk, either.

I am pretty neutral on Tomlin, but every year he slips out of favor.  I think he is an okay/good-ish coach.    He has many flaws which have gotten extremely old, and I don't have much faith in those flaws improving.     He is what he is at this point. 

Bottom line.....Tomlin damn well needs to start being held accountable

Very much agree with your post, 43. Specifically the part I ripped out above. 

I ultimately have no problem with Tomlins extension, but there is also no opportunity like the one we could have had to force change. We could have held the feet to the fire in a sense, but opted to commit without it. 

If my boss came to me and said I needed to change then followed it up the next week with a pay raise...my message is that what I am doing is acceptable. 

I would like to see a more analytical approach to gut calls, an expansion of the coaching staff (continually written that we are one of the smallest in the league), a commitment to a younger staff (goes along with the expansion - and I think we missed an opportunity with the QB hire), being more cut throat with coaching in general, a change in operational theories (ie: no more LBers on WR as a core acceptable concept), and a commitment to getting to the bottom and being willing to change preparedness and having a more focused game-plan each week.

Are you going to get all of that? Probably not, but if letting his contract ride makes him consider hiring another analytical piece to the staff or reaching deeper into college ranks or a positional coach/offensive analyst then waiting for an extension is doing its job. Committing to an extension says we are perfectly content with what you do...which, ultimately we should be..... kinda? Good team each year. But if you wanted to see if you could push for structured change, we missed the opportunity to turn up the heat. 

We talked in all the pressers about how much we needed to change. Then went internal hire on the OC (a group that sucked) and the OL Coach (another group that sucked). We rewarded these things with an extension. 

I like Tomlin, I'm cool with him being our coach. But coaching is not like player FA....they don't run to open pool each off-season and you had time. Why not let this one play out more?

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2 minutes ago, Dcash4 said:

I would like to see a more analytical approach to gut calls

Just want to pull this out, and I’ll try to find an article, but I’m pretty sure we brought someone in for this already. 
 

Well to some degree:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.thebiglead.com/amp/posts/steelers-will-have-replay-assistant-to-help-mike-tomlin-with-challenges-01dxkyp9qg98
 

The thing that’s good and bad about Tomlin is he “jumps on the grenade” so to speak. Hell always tell us it was a gut decision when something fails so he takes the heat. Maybe an analytics guy told him to go/not go for it but we’ll never know. As an assistant, Tomlin is a guy I would want to work with because of that. 

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3 minutes ago, warfelg said:

The thing that’s good and bad about Tomlin is he “jumps on the grenade” so to speak. Hell always tell us it was a gut decision when something fails so he takes the heat. Maybe an analytics guy told him to go/not go for it but we’ll never know. As an assistant, Tomlin is a guy I would want to work with because of that. 

Could be, but games like the playoffs against the Browns and then the Jags a couple years ago tell you its more him doing what he thinks is right. Similar scenarios but opposite play calling results. He trusted the O and then he didn't trust the O when the analytics may have said otherwise. And its pretty unfortunate but we ultimately are 0-4 in those calls. 

That article speaks to challenges. I do know that they have an analytical person on staff though I cant find him, but I think this needs to be expanded. A lot of my "wants" can be combined into one: expanding the staff, hiring younger, and hiring analytical. 

Like I am pretty darn happy that Canada immediately brought along Matt Tomsho. Google him and look up what he has done (largely with Canada) and those are the types of staff members we need, but don't have and havent had. 

The Chiefs have 11 offensive coaches. They have Kafka as the QB Coach/passing game coordinator and have another guy as a passing game analyst/assistant QB coach. That's on top of Reid and Beienemy with their playcalling and QB coaching backgrounds. They have a statistical analysis coordinator and TWO(!) offensive quality control guys. They also have someone just listed as an assistant to Reid. They even have 4 coaches dedicated to Strength and conditioning, sports science, and medicine and performance. That's a lot of minds working together. There's no cap on coaching salary....I don't understand why you WOULDNT have it built out like that. 

The Packers have 11, 3 of which carry "coordinator" titles on offense and that's without counting LaFleur himself. They also have 4 on the S&C team and THREE(!!!) Special teams coaches. We have....one Danny Smith with nearly 10 years of average to below average results. 

The 49ers have 12 on offense and that's not counting 2 Assistances to the coaching staff/head coach.

The Browns have 12, not including a Chief of Staff with a team of 7 for "performance". 

The Saints have 11, the Rams 10. I understand seeing we have 9 (including Tomsho, though he only carriers a Quality control title) which doesn't seem like a big change, but the amount of dedication to the QB position and OC duties/analytics is pretty clear across the league. Having people in and around the area that crafts and controls the game to other teams is important...we rely on the guy hired as the OC to do it. I think we can all agree that the offense was at its best when it included in it some of Canada's concepts last year. You need a guy that calls the shots, but you need more than one mind creating it and seeing it. 

Tomlins handling of the coaching staff has long been a throne in my side. Looking at other successful teams, specifically on offense which is taking over the league, makes me want to know why we believe so much in singular ideas. This to me is the easiest fix...bring in more people with more ideas. 

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42 minutes ago, warfelg said:

 

The thing that’s good and bad about Tomlin is he “jumps on the grenade” so to speak.

Except all those times he blames lack of execution for losses. Or when he refuses to acknowledge he was the one calling the defense against the Jaguars, and instead claims it was just their usual delegation of labor. You know, in fact, jumping on the grenade is one of the last things I associate with Mike Tomlin.

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