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Tag:Mike Tomlin
Posted on: December 20, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 12:25 pm
 

Big Ben: 'I was probably the best 49er tonight'

Roethlisberger was limited by a bum ankle but it may not have mattered against San Fran's stifling defense. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Growing up, Ben Roethlisberger was a huge Joe Montana fan. Late Monday night, after Pittsburgh was throttled by San Francisco thanks in part to Big Ben's four turnovers, he called himself "probably the best 49ers player tonight."

Realistically, that honor falls to either Aldon or Justin Smith, but we take your point, Ben.

As CBSSports.com's Clark Judge wrote early Tuesday morning, Roethlisberger was playing on a bad wheel. He suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Browns in Week 14 and he spent much of the week hobbling around in a walking boot. Still, Roethlisberger, who ended the evening 25 of 44 for 330 yards with three interceptions and a lost fumble, took responsibility for his performance.

“I’m not going to make excuses," he said, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Michael Erler. I played a bad football game, turned it over, and that’s on me. Everyone goes out and plays with injuries and I’m no different from anyone else. I was going to play even if I was five percent; I don’t care. …

"It’s very frustrating. You feel like you let down your team, your fans and your coaches. It’s tough. They’re a good football team, they flat out beat us and I need to be a lot better.”


The 49ers rode their top-ranked run defense once again to beat ailing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-3 on Monday night.

Big Ben also said that he didn't take a pain-killing injection before the game even though high-ankle sprains can take several weeks to heal.

“We heard that [ESPN analyst] Steve Young and those guys said pregame, ‘Oh, he’ll go shoot it up,’ ” Roethlisberger said via FoxSports.com's Alex Marvez. “No, we don’t do that. [Steelers trainers] would never put me out there and endanger me or anybody on this team to do that. I just think it’s silly that they assume that’s what you’ve got to do. Obviously, we could have done that and it would have helped a lot. But that’s kind of crazy to do and take that chance because you can further injure yourself.”

Roethlisberger risked further injury when refused to come out of the game late in the fourth quarter with the outcome decided. Judge rightly wondered why the Steelers would potentially jeopardize the rest of their season.

"When coach tried to get me out, I said, 'No, I'm not putting you in that situation," Roethlisberger said. "And I'm not quitting on our guys. I started this thing. I'm going to finish it.' "

“My hat goes off to Roethlisberger,” 49ers defensive end Justin Smith said on ESPN after the game. “Him playing, hobbled up back there, he wouldn’t come out.”

So we again have confirmation: Roethlisberger is tough. Now he needs to get healthy because it looks like the Steelers are headed for the wild card and a first-round meeting with the Denver Broncos.

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Posted on: December 15, 2011 2:45 pm
 

Tomlin wants players mum on Harrison suspension

Not every Pittsburgh player offered 'no comment.' Some remain confused by the league's punishment policies. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

The league suspended Steelers linebacker James Harrison one game on Tuesday. Harrison promptly appealed and the expedited hearing was held Wednesday. A ruling could come as soon as Thursday afternoon.

In the meantime, the Steelers are preparing for Monday night's matchup with the 49ers as if they will be without Harrison. During head coach Mike Tomlin's Tuesday press conference, he said "We have to prepare as if he is not going to play, of course. We will move forward, James will move forward. …

"We're disappointed," Tomlin continued. "We're disappointed for James because we know how hard he's worked to play within the rules, [but] he has to be accountable for that so we accept the judgment rendered by the league office."

And according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette, Tomlin has also instructed his players not to talk about Harrison's suspension publicly. Dutifully, safety Troy Polamalu offered up a "no comment."

But Bouchette points out that many Steelers players disagreed with Harrison's punishment because of the arbitrary nature with with the league hands down sanctions.  For example:
Other [players] thought it unfair that Harrison was suspended for trying to make a tackle while Oakland defensive lineman Richard Seymour was only fined $30,000 for punching Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito earlier this month, even though it was the second time he had punched another player in two seasons. Seymour punched Ben Roethlisberger last year and was fined $25,000. He was ejected on both occasions.

So repeating a mistake trying to make a tackle cost a suspension while a repeat in throwing a premeditated punch after a play -- which would get a player arrested if he had done it on the street -- drew a fine of only $5,000 more than the first time?
Cornerback Ike Taylor said slightly more than "no comment" on the matter.

James Harrison suspended
"Man, they're tripping," he said of the NFL. "I don't know what it is. [Harrison's] getting it handed to him in the NFL way ... He didn't stomp on nobody, he didn't punch nobody's private area."

"We have to continue to try to play within the rules, try to do the right things because it's a battle we really can't win," said safety Ryan Clark, who has already been fined twice this season and could be in line for a suspension if it happens again. "The NFL is going make the decision on who plays and who doesn't and, for us, we have to try to find a way to play within the rules and still be able to maintain a physical presence out there."

Whatever the NFL's enforcement strategy, Polamalu thinks that it's too late for many players to change.

"I don't think any football player is going to go out there and change the way they're playing. I think it's too late in our lives to really do that. Of course, we're professional athletes and we try our best to adjust, but it's tough."

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:46 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 2:16 pm
 

Harrison could appeal, Tomlin 'disappointed'

If history is any guide, the league is unlikely to overturn Harrison's appeal. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

On Tuesday, the NFL suspended Steelers linebacker James Harrison for one game after his hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. It was Harrison's first personal-foul penalty of the season, but he was fined $100,000 a year ago for three illegal hits.

James Harrison suspended
Pittsburgh faces San Francisco on Monday night in a game that could determine whether they enter the playoffs with a first-round bye or as a wild-card team. (If the Ravens lose to the Chargers on Sunday, and the Steelers wins its three remaining games -- against San Francisco, St. Louis and Cleveland -- then they would win the AFC North.) 

Harrison can appeal the NFL's ruling, but based on head coach Mike Tomlin's comments Tuesday afternoon, the team is planning to be without him in San Francisco.

"We have to prepare as if he is not going to play, of course," Tomlin said, according to the Steelers.com Twitter feed. "We will move forward, James will move forward."

More Tomlin, via the CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Chuck Finder: "We're disappointed. We're disappointed for James because we know how hard he's worked to play within the rules, [but] he has to be accountable for that so we accept the judgment rendered by the league office."

Harrison missed four games earlier this season with an eye injury. Pittsburgh went 4-0 over that stretch with some combination of LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, Jason Worilds and Chris Carter taking snaps at the two outside linebacker positions.

Woodley, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Patriots on October 30 and has been on the field for just a few series since, is set to return against the 49ers.

While the Steelers are planning to be without their Pro Bowl linebacker, Harrison's agent says he will appeal.

"James and I will have a discussion and figure out our next step," agent Bill Parise told the Post-Gazette. "The procedure would be to appeal. James and I will work through that and ask for an expedited hearing because we're dealing with a suspension.

"My job right now is to continue to read this and talk to my client and he and I together will make an intelligent decision and we'll move expediently."


CBS' NFL insider Charley Casserly beaks down James Harrison's hard hit on Colt McCoy.

Shortly after the NFL's ruling, Harrison tweeted: "Thank you to all my fans and supporters, I'm just going to move on from here and get ready for my next game."

In all likelhood, that next game will be on December 24 when the Steelers host the Rams.

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 10:49 am
Edited on: December 13, 2011 5:27 pm
 

NFL suspends James Harrison one game

Harrison's physical style finally caught up to him. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The NFL announced Tuesday that Steelers linebacker James Harrison has been suspended one game for his hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy last Thursday night, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman confirms.

Harrison can appeal the NFL's ruling, but based on head coach Mike Tomlin's comments Tuesday afternoon, the team is planning to be without him in San Francisco. 

James Harrison suspended
"We have to prepare as if he is not going to play, of course," Tomlin said, according to the Steelers.com Twitter feed. "We will move forward, James will move forward." 

More Tomlin, via the CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Chuck Finder: "We're disappointed. We're disappointed for James because we know how hard he's worked to play within the rules, [but] he has to be accountable for that so we accept the judgment rendered by the league office." 

While the Steelers are planning to be without their Pro Bowl linebacker, Harrison's agent says he will appeal. 

"James and I will have a discussion and figure out our next step," agent Bill Parise told the Post-Gazette. "The procedure would be to appeal. James and I will work through that and ask for an expedited hearing because we're dealing with a suspension. 

"My job right now is to continue to read this and talk to my client and he and I together will make an intelligent decision and we'll move expediently." 

It was Harrison's first roughing-the-passer penalty of the season. A year ago, he was fined $100,000 for flagrant hits on then-Titans quarterback Vince Young ($5K), Browns' receiver Mohamed Massaquoi ($75K), and Saints quarterback Drew Brees ($20K).

At the time, Harrison said "I don't know. I guess try and be more aware about the placement of my face mask. I don't know how you tackle someone and not use any part of your head, especially if you're trying to see what you're hitting. I mean, your face mask is going to touch them."

On Monday, Harrison said he shouldn't be suspended.

"I don't think it's suspension-worthy," he said after practice, according to Finder. "I don't think it's worthy of anything, but that's just my own personal thoughts."


CBS' NFL insider Charley Casserly beaks down James Harrison's hard hit on Colt McCoy.

The NFL determined that the hit was illegal because even though McCoy had tucked the ball to run, and had taken five steps before deciding at the last second to throw the ball, he's still considered a quarterback and afforded the rules that protect them. At no time during the play was McCoy, in the league's eyes (and according to the rules), considered a runner.

"They didn't even call helmet-to-helmet; they called roughing the passer," Harrison said. "He took off running with it and, at the last second, he like chuck-and-ducked. He tucked the ball and made like he was about to run. So I was going to tackle him."

CBS Sports' Charley Casserly said Sunday that ignorance of the rules wasn't an excuse.

"The league office told [Harrison]: next infraction, escalating discipline, including a possible suspension," Casserly said on The NFL Today. "Head coach Mike Tomlin went to the league office this year to do what I call 'a review of the rules.' From the league's point of view, there's no excuse for any Steeler not knowing the rules."

Sports Illustrated's Peter King thought there might be a chance Harrison would avoid suspension:

“A league source tells me there will be one major mitigating factor in deciding whether to suspend or fine Harrison and that is this: Colt McCoy took five full strides with the ball as a runner, leading Harrison to believe that he could hit him as if he were a running back. I believe he should be only fined and not suspended.”

So would Harrison change anything on the play that left McCoy with a concussion?

"Knowing I got a penalty, yeah I would have did it differently," he said.

Harrison missed four games earlier this season with an eye injury. Pittsburgh went 4-0 over that stretch with some combination of LaMarr WoodleyLawrence TimmonsJason Worilds and Chris Carter taking snaps at the two outside linebacker positions.  Woodley, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Patriots on October 30 and has been on the field for just a few series since, is set to return against the 49ers

Shortly after the NFL's ruling, Harrison tweeted: "Thank you to all my fans and supporters, I'm just going to move on from here and get ready for my next game." 

In all likelhood, that next game will be on December 24 when the Steelers host the Rams

Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark was fined $40,000 earlier this season for a hit on Baltimore tight end Ed Dickson (head coach Mike Tomlin was said to be furious about the punishment). Troy Polamalu was also fined, once for a horse-collar tackle in Week 1, and again in late October for using a cell phone on the sidelines during a game.

                                                                                                                                                                                          (Getty Images)
This is only the third time NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has suspended a player since replacing Paul Tagliabue in 2006. Albert Haynesworth was suspended five games after stomping on the head of center Andre Gurode. Ndamukong Suh was suspended two games last month for stepping on the arm of a Packers player.

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Posted on: December 12, 2011 4:31 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 9:25 am
 

Harrison doesn't think he should be suspended

Will Harrison's hit on McCoy lead to a suspension? (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Linebacker James Harrison, who was fined $100,000 for illegal hits a year ago, is again in the league's crosshairs after leveling Colt McCoy with a helmet-to-helmet hit during Thursday night's Browns-Steelers game. The play left McCoy with a concussion, and the NFL could consider suspending Harrison even though it was his first roughing-the-passer penalty of this season.

On Monday, Harrison said he shouldn't be suspended or fined.

"I don't think it's suspension-worthy," he said after practice, according to the CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Chuck Finder. "I don't think it's worthy of anything, but that's just my own personal thoughts."

On Monday evening, ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted that the sense in Pittsburgh and around the league is that Harrison will be suspended. The ruling is expected Tuesday morning.


Charley Casserly beaks down James Harrison's hard hit on Colt McCoy on Thursday night, which may lead to a possible suspension.

The NFL considered the hit illegal because even though McCoy had tucked the ball to run, and taken five steps before deciding at the last second to throw the ball, he's still considered a quarterback and afforded the rules that protect them. At no time during the play in question was McCoy, in the league's eyes (and according to the rules), considered a runner.

"They didn't even call helmet-to-helmet; they called roughing the passer," Harrison said. "He took off running with it and, at the last second, he like chuck-and-ducked. He tucked the ball and made like he was about to run. So I was going to tackle him."

CBS Sports' Charley Casserly said Sunday that ignorance of the rules wasn't an excuse.

"The league office told [Harrison]: next infraction, escalating discipline, including a possible suspension," Casserly said on The NFL Today. "Head coach Mike Tomlin went to the league office this year to do what I call 'a review of the rules.' From the league's point of view, there's no excuse for any Steeler not knowing the rules."

And then there's this, from Sports Illustrated's Peter King:

“A league source tells me there will be one major mitigating factor in deciding whether to suspend or fine Harrison and that is this: Colt McCoy took five full strides with the ball as a runner, leading Harrison to believe that he could hit him as if he were a running back. I believe he should be only fined and not suspended.”

So would Harrison change anything on the play that left McCoy with a concussion?

"Knowing I got a penalty, yeah I would have did it differently," he said.

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Posted on: December 11, 2011 12:42 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Report: James Harrison could face suspension

Will Harrison's hit on McCoy lead to a suspension? (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The big storyline from Thursday's Browns-Steelers game was that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned after suffering a high-ankle sprain and led Pittsburgh to their 10th victory of the season. A subplot that has since taken center stage: James Harrison's fourth quarter helmet-to-helmet hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. CBS Sports NFL insider Charley Casserly said Sunday that "I would not be surprised at all if the league suspended [Harrison] for one game, the cost being $73,500 for one game check."

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the NFL is considering suspending Harrison for "one or two games" for the infraction.

Here are Casserly's full remarks on the Harrison situation from Sunday's The NFL Today.

"Let's take a look at the facts: last year he was fined four times with the largest fine being $75,000 which was reduced to $50,000," Casserly told James Brown. "This hit [against McCoy Thursday] is worse than the $75,000 (hit).

"The second thing is, the league office told [Harrison]: next infraction, escalating discipline, including a possible suspension. Head coach Mike Tomlin went to the league office this year to do what I call 'a review of the rules.' From the league's point of view, there's no excuse for any Steeler not knowing the rules.

"In my opinion," Casserly continued, "I would not be surprised at all if the league suspended him for one game, the cost being $73,500 for one game check. And, in my opinion, if I was doing this, I would absolutely suspend him. Either he doesn't know the rules, or doesn't understand the rules. A stronger message than a fine has to be sent in this situation."


Charley Casserly beaks down James Harrison's hard hit on Colt McCoy on Thursday night, which may lead to a possible suspension.

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Posted on: December 8, 2011 10:56 am
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Posted on: December 8, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 10:58 am
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Potential head coaches

Zimmer (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

It’s getting to be about that time. Christmas? Yes, of course. Hannukah? Naturally. Festivus? It depends on your syndicated TV viewing habits. The carousel of coaches who are fired and hired, changing the courses of several franchises for the foreseeable future? Abso-freakin-lutely.

Personally, I hate to see any coach drawing the pink slip, but as Bum Phillips once said, “There’s two kinds of coaches, them that's fired and them that's gonna be fired." Jack Del Rio knows of what Phillips speaks -- he’s already been asked to vacate the Jaguars premises. And there will be plenty more firings to come.

As colleague Will Brinson pointed out in this week’s Sorting the Sunday Pile, at least seven coaches (Steve Spagnuolo, Andy Reid, Jim Caldwell, Raheem Morris, Tony Sparano, Todd Haley and Norv Turner) are on the hot seat, and that means there’s a strong possibility a whole mess of new coaches will be needed. Like last year, when I presented my list of potential coaches*, many of the candidates are career assistants who have never had a chance at a head coaching slot. Some you’ve seen in this role before. All, though, deserve a chance --- or another chance -- to run a team of their own. And who knows, maybe they’d be the one to turn around a franchise in need of a jump-start.

*Only two from last year’s list made it this list (Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer), and with Leslie Frazier, Jim Harbaugh and John Fox in new jobs, I’ve also dropped candidates like Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron from consideration.

10. Bruce Arians: I had Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau on the list last year, though I figured that’s not going to happen at this point, but why shouldn’t teams take a look at Arians, Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator? He was the head coach at Temple in the 1980s -- his record is an unshiny 21-45 -- but the paradigm shift made by the team since he’s been offensive coordinator is impressive. The Steelers are no longer a smashmouth, pound-the-rock offense. No, with Ben Roethlisberger and a trio of talented young receivers, the Steelers have entered the 21st century with their offense. There was talk Arians was a contender for the Ole Miss job, and it sounds like these people also would be rooting for Arians to get a head coaching job.

9. Joe DeCamillis: Before you say, “Why in the hell would you hire a special teams coach to be your head coach?” remember that John Harbaugh followed a similar path -- he spent nine years as the Eagles special teams coach and didn’t spend one second as a coordinator -- and it seems to have worked out OK for the Ravens. Plus, as CBSSports.com Pete Prisco said in a recent chat, DeCamillis, the Cowboys special teams ace, is organized and passionate. And if Prisco says he’s OK, it must be true.

8. Rob Chudzinski: He hasn’t spent much time as an NFL offensive coordinator, but he’s performed his finest work this year. Sure, he has some talent on his hands (Cam Newton and Steve Smith, obviously), but the work he’s done with Newton this season has been impressive. It’s difficult to remember this now, but Newton was considered a raw specimen with only one year of major college football before the Panthers took him No. 1 in the draft. But with Chudzinski’s help, Newton oftentimes plays amazing football for a rookie. It’s doubtful anybody will take a chance on Chudzinski at this point, but he’s one to keep an eye on in the future.

7. Chuck Pagano: While the Ravens offense has been in a state of flux this season, there’s little question about the effectiveness of Baltimore’s defense, which is ranked third in the league in points allowed and yards. Pagano is only in his first season as a coordinator, taking over this season for Greg Mattison, but the Ravens have been more effective this year (they were 10th in the league in yards in 2010). Pagano might need more seasoning, but he’s a guy who could ride Baltimore’s wave, particularly if the Ravens go deep into the playoffs, into a possible new job.

6. Brian Billick: There are plenty of reasons not to hire Billick. Like he said recently, he’s not young and he’s not cheap. But if you’re not necessarily looking to hire somebody for the next three decades and you have some money to spend, why wouldn’t you take a look at Billick? Yes, he’s pompous (though very good while being interviewed, and I like him on the NFL Network), but he’s also confident in his abilities. As well he should be. In nine years in Baltimore, he went 80-64, and you might remember that he won a Super Bowl title. It would take a special owner to turn to Billick, but I think it could be a very good choice.

5. Wade Phillips: The job Phillips has done in Houston this year has convinced me that Phillips deserves another chance at a head coaching job. Obviously, things didn’t end well in Dallas -- do they ever with Jerry Jones, though? -- but did you know he has a better winning percentage (.573) than Jeff Fisher (.542) and Brian Billick (.556)? And that in his nine full seasons as a head coach, he only had one losing record? There’s no doubt that Phillips knows what he’s doing as a defensive coordinator, and we know Phillips can win as a head coach as well. He’s deserving of another chance.
Ryan
4. Rob Ryan: This is what I wrote last year: “We need – I mean, we NEED – another Ryan brother as a head coach in the NFL. Aside from being the most entertaining coach out there today – publically, at least – Rex Ryan has done a wonderful job turning the Jets into Super Bowl contenders. Now, Rob Ryan, the Browns (now Cowboys) defensive coordinator, needs to get his chance. With the marked improvement in Cleveland, does Ryan deserve the shot? Probably not at this point. But how awesome would it be if somebody gave him a job?” Indeed Josh from 2010, it would be pretty awesome.

3. Russ Grimm: He was finally elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year as a player. Now he deserves his own team to run. He was nearly selected to follow Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh -- and some believe he was offered the job before the Steelers rescinded the offer and gave it to Mike Tomlin -- and for now, Grimm is an assistant head coach to Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona. You’d think Grimm would get his chance eventually, but he has to wonder how much longer he’ll have to wait.

2. Jeff Fisher: If you were going to hire a former head coach and you had an infinite amount of money to woo even the most resistant of people, you might go with Bill Cowher as the first choice. But my second choice probably would be Fisher. For 17 seasons with the Oilers/Titans, he recorded a 142-120 record, and he came ever so close to a Super Bowl victory. Aside from Cowher, I’m not sure there’s another former head coach out there that would command as much instant respect as Fisher.

1. Mike Zimmer: After a one-year slip-up, when the team was ranked 24th in the NFL in points allowed, the Bengals, once again, are one of the top units in the league. This, even after losing top cornerback Johnathan Joseph to the Texans and after failing to re-sign starting linebacker Dhani Jones. Zimmer has received effective play from youngsters Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, and though there are no legit stars on defense, somehow Zimmer keeps making the case why somebody (anybody?!?) should give him a job. It’s time for Zimmer to have his shot.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com