Tag:Mike Tomlin
Posted on: June 8, 2011 12:49 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 2:13 pm
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Tomlin: Mendenhall 'shouldn't have said it'

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You’ll recall that Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall caused a minor stir last month when he penned a few updates on Twitter about Osama Bin Laden and 9/11 that later were deemed somewhat controversial.

Mendenhall's mess
Mendenhall claimed that he just wanted to make his followers think, but he took some serious heat afterward, costing him endorsement dollars and probably some patriotic Pittsburgh fans.

Now, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has weighed in on the matter, telling KDKA in Pittsburgh that perhaps Mendenhall should have watched his mouth (or, more specifically, his typing fingers).

“He shouldn’t have said it,” Tomlin said. “Yes, it is a freedom of speech issue. Yes, he is a young man, and he has a right to his opinion. But sometimes these young men got to understand the positions that they hold and the influence that they have and to be highly sensitive to that.”

I’ve got a feeling Mendenhall now understands exactly what Tomlin is talking about.

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Posted on: April 10, 2011 9:13 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2011 9:16 pm
 

Hot Routes 4.10.11: Um, I'll pass on Cam Newton



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • Seems like everything is OK with Alabama WR Julio Jones’ foot after a re-check in Indianapolis. He still put on one of the most impressive performances at the NFL combine, considering he was performing on a fractured foot.
  • Apparently, Cam Newton is the type of player that teams hope other teams draft. Some squads don’t want Newton falling into their lap. Also within this report, Da’Quan Bowers had a productive meeting with the Bills, and Buffalo’s doctors cleared him.
  • Sounds like, just like many other teams, the Cowboys players are going to hold unsupervised offseason workouts assuming the lockout continues. However, there’s some sort of pact between the players that they’re not going to publicize the workouts. Oooh, mysterious!
  • A judge in Ohio has set former Ohio State QB Art Schlichter’s bond at $1 million.

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Posted on: March 20, 2011 2:59 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2011 3:32 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: Pittsburgh Steelers

Posted by Andy Benoit

 

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups. Also, check out our checkup podcast:





If you’d told the Steelers at some point during last fall that Ben Roethlisberger would get the ball with 2:07 remaining down six in Super Bowl XLV, they probably would have taken it. That final drive was about the only thing that did not go Roethlisberger’s way in 2010 (suspension aside, of course).

The Steelers, despite a depleted offensive line, got within arms’ reach of a Lombardi Trophy thanks to the emergence of young playmakers Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown.

And, of course, thanks to their perennially staunch defense. Troy Polamalu took home Defensive Player of the Year honors (no matter what the humble safety says, the award was well-deserved) while the star-studded linebacking corps welcomed a new sensation: inside ‘backer Lawrence Timmons.



NFL Offseason

Don’t be shocked if Emmanuel Sanders supplants Hines Ward in the starting lineup sooner than later. This is more about Sanders than Ward. The second-year wideout is already Ben Roethlisberger’s go-to target in spread formations (granted, in part because Roethlisberger prefers to work the slot from four-and five-wide sets). Sanders has the quickness and tempo change to beat man coverage, and he showed marked improvements in understanding the offense as his rookie season wore on.

These days, Ward, 35, runs like he’s playing in sand. But he can still produce. His 59 catches for 755 yards last season were a drop below the back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons he had coming into the year, but his famous (notorious?) blocking remains sharp.



1. Offensive Tackle 1
After watching him lumber through last season, it seems like RT Flozell Adams is nearing that age where Tuesday afternoons and Saturday nights start feeling the same and relatives start dropping subtle hints about the dangers of driving after dark. No way the Steelers pay Adams the $5 million he’s due in 2011. The Steelers can go for the best OT available overall given that LT Max Starks is coming back from injury and could move over to the more-fitting right side.

2. Right Guard
Ramon Foster is not the answer. A simple review of last year’s front line personnel changes reveals that coaches will do just about anything to keep the undrafted utility man out of the starting lineup. Backup G/C Doug Legursky has better mobility than people think, but it’s not enough to make up for his lack of phone booth power.

3. Defensive End
Aaron Smith turns 35 in April and has missed all but 11 games over the past two years. Ziggy Hood was supposed to be primed to start by now, but the ’09 first-round pick does not have the power to be a true anchor outside. Hood must develop the type of agility that’s made Brett Keisel a force; it’s a tossup whether he will. Keisel will be 33 in September but shows no sign of decline. However, the Steelers like to draft players two years out, so finding at least one understudy still makes sense.



A run at a record seventh Lombardi Trophy is clearly not out of the question, though the Steelers won just 17 games combined in the seasons following their last two Super Bowl appearances. The defense is aging but not aged. The offense should only be better.

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Posted on: February 1, 2011 8:37 am
 

Steelers honor Flozell Adams

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

FORT WORTH, Texas – When Steelers right offensive tackle Flozell Adams arrived at the airport Monday morning to depart from Pittsburgh to travel to the Super Bowl, he looked at his fellow offensive linemen, and he was shocked by what he saw.

They were all wearing Michigan State No. 76 jerseys – the same that Adams wore - and the idea was to honor Adams and to show him exactly what he means to the team.

“I don’t know where they got them from, but it was quite surprising,” said Adams, who wore that jersey himself during Monday’s media availability. “It was special for them to bring back the throwbacks and they’re all still walking around here with them on. I’m grateful for it. They probably were planning this for at least a couple of weeks, and I had no idea.”

Backup guard Trai Essex was the one to give Adams his jersey, and Adams was appreciative. Much of the questions aimed at him Monday were about Adams and his Dallas homecoming. He spent a more than a decade in a Cowboys uniform, but the fact he’s playing in a Super Bowl with the Steelers in Jerry Jones’ backyard doesn’t feel a bit strange.

“I lived here for 12 years and it feels like you’re at home,” he said.

But now he feels the same way about Pittsburgh, because of the way his teammates (as seen by the Michigan State jersey tribute) and the way his fans welcomed him after starting Pittsburgh right tackle Willie Colon suffered a season-ending injury. And now that he’s had a season to adjust, he also feels the same way about playing right tackle after spending his career playing on the left side for the Cowboys. He feels at home.

The same he’ll feel Sunday when he plays once again in Dallas.

And man, would his teammates and coaches like to win the Super Bowl for him.

“Flozell is a joy to be around,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “It might sound funny, but he doesn’t always have a great disposition, but we enjoy that about him too. The thing that is probably most impressive about Flozell is that his intentions have been so pure since the day that he joined our football team. Here is a guy who’s made some money in this league, who has garnered some personal accolades in this league, a five or six-time Pro Bowler, what have you. This guy just wants to win. He’s brought that mentality and that approach since day one.
 
“He is a veteran player. He doesn’t ask out of anything. He works extremely hard. He has a ‘can-do’ attitude. All of those things endear him to his teammates, and there is a lot to respect there. He’s a big reason why we are here, those guys felt that it was necessary to honor him, and I’m just glad that they did.”



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Posted on: January 31, 2011 3:15 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2011 8:39 pm
 

Tomlin optimistic on Pouncey despite appearances

Posted by Will Brinson

DALLAS -- The Steelers made their way into town (technically, Fort Worth, but you get the point) on Monday, and one of the highlights of Mike Tomlin's initial press conferences with the media was the state of rookie center Maurkice Pouncey.

Pouncey, as we all know, is unlikely to play. However, Tomlin, despite the fact that Pouncey was transported on a golf cart while holding crutches (see: right), remained optimistic about the possibility that his rookie center could play.

"We’re just trying to everything in our power to give him the best opportunity to participate," Tomlin said in his press conference on Monday. "I don’t know what his chances are at this point, to be quite honest with you. He is not on a running clock in my mind until Wednesday, when you start getting along in your normal preparation.

The Steelers coach also indicated that the team would be "aggressive" in trying to get the rookie center ready to roll for the Super Bowl, which just so happens to be in less than seven days.

He wouldn't, however, confirm the rumors of a broken bone in Pouncey's ankle, admitting only that there was a sprain.

"Of course he has a high-ankle sprain," Tomlin said. "We’ve been very aggressive in terms of treating it, even putting him in a hard cast and so forth."

Actually, the issue appears to be that the Steelers will be even more depleted at offensive line than possibly thought when they take the field on Sunday against the Packers. And the biggest issue in Tomlin's search for a second championship in three years, is that Doug Legursky will be the center in charge of keeping B.J. Raji and the rest of Green Bay's front seven at bay.

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Posted on: January 27, 2011 10:10 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 10:16 pm
 

Pouncey has a new injury

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It just keeps getting worse and worse for Steelers rookie C Maurkice Pouncey.

Pouncey Originally, we thought a high ankle sprain suffered in last week’s AFC championship game likely would keep Pouncey from playing in next week’s Super Bowl, but now, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports he also a broken bone in his left ankle.

From the story:

Both Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and Pouncey himself described the injury to the rookie Pro Bowler as a high ankle sprain, sustained on the opening drive of their 24-19 victory against the New York Jets in the AFC Championship game.

But, after further examination, it was determined Pouncey also has a broken bone in his ankle. His left foot and ankle were encased in a hard cast that replaced a walking boot. Pouncey has been using crutches to get around but has not been available to the media this week at the team's training facility.

Sources told the Post-Gazette that while there is a broken bone, damage to the ligaments in his ankle remains the major stumbling block for him.


Pouncey remains doubtful to play.

And speaking of the Steelers offense, we present to you Hines Ward.



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Posted on: January 24, 2011 12:27 am
Edited on: January 24, 2011 3:00 pm
 

10 Super Bowl stories you'll get sick of hearing

Posted by Andy Benoit

Because the Super Bowl is outlandishly over-covered, offering readers 10 Super Bowl stories worth their attention seems redundant if not fruitless. With two weeks until, as your local furniture store calls it, The Big Game!!!, every possible Packers-Steelers storyline is about to be utterly exhausted. And then retold.

You can thank all the “casual fans” who suddenly get interested in the NFL this time of year for this. Somebody has to bring those people up to speed, which means somebody has to retell all the stories true football fans got sick of months ago. You best get used to it now.

Just so you can be on guard, here is an overview of the 10 Super Bowl storylines you’ll get sick of hearing between now and February 6 They’re ranked in order from overhyped to way overhyped, and they don’t even include the non-game related economic stories (you know the ones about how expensive the advertising spots cost, how magnificent the host venue, Cowboys Stadium, is, how bad the CBA talks are going or how many bags of chips are consumed by Americans on Super Bowl Sunday).


10. Wide receivers

The Packers and Steelers receiving units almost mirror one another. Both have a sage veteran (Donald Driver, Hines Ward). Both have a dynamic young big-play weapon (Greg Jennings, Mike Wallace). And both have dangerous but not entirely trD. Driver (US Presswire)usted backups (James Jones and Jordy Nelson; Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown). Here are the predictable cliff notes for the stories involving these guys:

Driver: tough childhood in Houston, first chance at a ring

Ward: borderline “dirty player” who is also proud of Korean heritage

Jennings: NOT a diva, but has still emerged as a No. 1

Wallace: averaging 93 yards per catch this season (or something like that)

Jones: talented but dropped balls; his quarterback trusts him

Nelson: talented but a few fumbles; his quarterback trusts him

Sanders: talented but untested; his quarterback trusts him

Brown: big catches late in games but still raw; his quarterback trusts him

9. Hometown Players

On every Super Bowl team, there are a few players who happen to be from the town in which the game is being played. Thus, you get the homecoming story. This story is only interesting to the dozens of their family and friends who will be in the stands watching on Sunday (because, you know, the player bought dozens of tickets for family and friends!), but that doesn’t stop hard-hitting journalists from writing about it. Or from focusing on how the odds were really stacked against the kid from (insert name of Texas town), as no one ever thought he’d be playing on football’s biggest stage.

So who will the hometown stars be this year? A quick search on PlayersFrom.com (a website that sorts all professional athletes by home state) reveals that the following Packer players were born in Texas: K Mason Crosby, TE Jermichael Finley, QB Matt Flynn, C Scott Wells, WR Donald Driver. The Steelers born in Texas are DE Ziggy Hood, P Daniel Sepulveda, OT Tony Hills, OT Jonathan Scott and NT Casey Hampton.

8. Overcoming adversity

Both teams will talk all week about how they have overcome a lot of adversity this season. Good for them. We can sort of believe the Packers when they trumpet adversity because they led the NFC in injuries (in terms of games missed by starters). But the Steelers? It will be tougher for them to play this card considering they’re littered with stars on defense and have the richest winning tradition in the NFL. But they’ll still find a way to play the adversity card (probably by making veiled references to Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension).


7. Tomlin
M. Tomlin (US Presswire)
You might not get sick of this story because it’s hard to get sick of this man, but you’re going to be hearing it plenty of times: Mike Tomlin is now the only coach in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl twice before the age of 40. He’s already the youngest head coach to hoist a Lombardi Trophy.

This probably won’t be that obnoxious of a storyline. After all, it will probably include plenty about the Steeler modus operandi (which is fascinating), plus Tomlin is about as real as they come. He knows how to give a quote that is just good enough. Which is to say he knows how to say just enough to keep reporters happy but not quite enough to galvanize his opponent.


6. The defensive coordinators

Dick LeBeau is the master behind Pittsburgh’s 3-4 scheme. Dom Capers is the master behind Green Bay’s 3-4. Both are innovative and perhaps deserving of the majority of credit for their team’s success. LeBeau’s recent Hall of Fame induction ruined the hard-hitting THIS MAN SHOULD BE IN CANTON! angle that most writers had for his story, so expect most of the attention to shift towards Capers and whether he deserves a shot at being a head coach for a non-expansion franchise.

There will be plenty of crossover angles here, too, given that Capers coordinated Pittsburgh's D before LeBeau, and both men are pioneers of many 3-4 zone blitz packages.

A dark horse sub storyline here: Kevin Greene, the Packers’ excellent linebackers coach, who was a long-time Steeler.


5. Hair

You just know some idiot is going to do an entertainment feature comparing Troy Polamalu to Clay Matthews.


4. James Starks

Every Super Bowl needs an unlikely breakout star. The Steelers will unofficially nominate sixth-round rookie wideout Antonio Brown for this role, but expect the media to flock to Green Bay’s sixth-round rookie running back James Starks. The Eddie George-like upright runner from Buffalo has rushed for 263 yards since being inserted into the starting lineup for the postseason. Starks is clearly the team’s most explosive runner, but he does not offer star traits. That doeJ. Harrison (US Presswire)sn’t mean the media can’t tell you he’s a burgeoning young star, though.


3. Illegal hits (James Harrison)

Non-football media outlets have been sitting on their stories about how dangerous the sport is for several months, waiting to release them Super Bowl week. Last year, TIME magazine got this ball rolling with its cover piece titled “The Problem with Football: How to Make It Safer”. With Harrison, the poster child for illegal hits, going up against Aaron Rodgers, who suffered two concussions during the regular season, expect another slew of important but boring as hell articles about brain trauma.



2. Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers’ meteoric rise this postseason has been even louder than Drew Brees’ last season. Thank the Brett Favre drama for setting the backdrop for the first-round pick’s career. From day one we’ve admired Rodgers’ class and poise. Since finally taking the field three years ago, we’ve also added arm strength, accuracy and athleticism to his list of admirable traits. Factor in the female celebrities this guy has been linked to (Gossip Girl’s Jessica Szohr, Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott, ESPN’s Erin Andrews) and, oh yeah, his insanely impressive performance in five consecutive “must win” games for the Packers (which includes Sunday’s game at Chicago, where Rodgers was much better than his numbers suggest) and we have a first-class superstar on our hands.


1. Ben Roethlisberger

B. Roethlisberger (US Presswire)
As great as a quarterback’s coming out party is, it doesn’t compare to another quarterback’s redemption story. Why? Because a redemption story gives everyone a chance to rehash the drama. The only thing more interesting than Rodgers dating celebrities is Roethlisberger getting accused of mistreating college girls. Sorry, but sexual assault allegations are just too salacious for the media (and public) to ignore.

You know the background here: Nevada and Georgia, no charges filed, six game suspension reduced to four. The Super Bowl week storylines will center around whether Roethlisberger is a changed man and how jovial and humble he has become. The popular caveat will be something along the lines of “only time will tell if these changes stick”. At some point, someone will point out that Big Ben recently got engaged to Pennsylvania native Ashley Harlan. And if that isn’t proof that this one-time frat boy is settling down, what is?


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Posted on: January 19, 2011 3:05 pm
 

Tomlin not happy that trick play was reported

M. Tomlin wasn't pleased a potential trick play was released before Pittsburgh faced Baltimore (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

When ESPN.com’s Bob Holtzman wrote last week about a potential trick play the Steelers possibly would use vs. the Ravens, I wondered about the fall-out.

Holtzman reported that if the Ravens got into a certain defense, Pittsburgh had a trick play it had never run before ready to go and that it involved WR Antwaan Randle El (but would not include him throwing the ball).

Today, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin let Holtzman know he wasn’t happy about the report.

As USA Today recaps, Holtzman asked Tomlin a question today about how much time it takes to prepare for Rex Ryan’s defense.

Responded Tomlin: "It depends on whether or not you give him my plays, you know," Tomlin said.

And he wasn’t joking.

Football coaches, generally speaking, are some of the most paranoid members of our society, and they take great pains to make sure nothing regarding game-planning is leaked. Reporters, generally speaking, adhere to the rules of not writing about potential plays – trick or otherwise – they see while watching practice. It’s understood that much of what you see at practice is not for public consumption.

It’s also why some teams keep practices off-limit to non-local reporters. Holtzman is a very good, very experienced reporter, so he must have known he would face condemnation when he reported on the trick play.

My question: was the scoop worth it? Especially since the Steelers ran no such play in their win vs. Baltimore.

If you follow this link, you can see the video of Tomlin today and judge for yourself. Holtzman's question occurs about the 1:35 mark.

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