Tomlin Facing a Plethora of Issues and It’s Just Week One

Mike TomlinLove him or hate him, Pittsburgh Steelers’ Head Coach Mike Tomlin will give credit to the players when the team wins and will take the blame when the team loses. After the week one 16-9 opening day loss to Tennessee, Tomlin finds himself facing more issues and questions than perhaps any other head coach in the NFL.

Coaches, whether they win or lose, will always have questions to face especially about injuries, game situations and personnel. This week will be a tidal wave for Tomlin. Here is just a sample of the problems Tomlin faces this week.

1. Who plays center next week? And for the rest of the season for that matter? The Steelers will more than likely place Maurkice Pouncey on IR and will start tinkering with the practice squad. Do they go with newly acquired Cody Wallace or go back out and get John Malecki who knows the offense?

2. How do you feel about cutting Jonathan Dwyer now? Tomlin is a good solider and won’t sell out any of his superiors but we know the coaches were not in favor of cutting Dwyer. Now on the heels of Isaac Redman’s pathetic performance and the injury to LaRod Stephens-Howling, the dismissal of Dwyer looks down-right ridiculous. And how does Felix Jones not even touch the ball? Wasn’t he supposed to be the man to replace Dwyer?

3. How do you keep Ben Roethlisberger alive let alone healthy? – Roethlisberger was sacked five times against the Titans, was hit several other times and was under pressure all day. The loss of Pouncey hurt, but I don’t know how much it would have really mattered. Many fans are screaming for Max Starks to return but he isn’t the answer. Starks was cut by the Chargers after having a brutal preseason where he gave up three sacks in just one game.

4. Who replaces Larry Foote? Talk about going from one extreme to the other…. Foote is lost for the season with a ruptured bicep that will require surgery. Kion Wilson replaced him and rookie Vince Williams was inactive. I have to believe Terence Garvin is activated from the practice squad as well. The difference in leadership and knowledge between Foote and his replacement will be striking.

5. How do you address Todd Haley? It becomes more and more clear that something just isn’t right with this offense regardless of what anyone says. This offense was less than two minutes away from being shutout by one of the worst defenses of 2012. Players must execute, we know and understand this but the Redman fumble on the Steelers opening possession was due in part to not having the right personnel on the field and that falls on Haley.

Those are just five questions that could be aimed at Tomlin. Here are a few more…

How soon is Heath coming back? Only one target and one catch for Steelers’ tight ends.

Why the timeout with 2:02 left? Saving it would have at least forced Tennessee to run a play after the unsuccessful onside kick attempt.

Are you concerned with Emmanuel Sanders’ sudden case of butterfingers?

Where are the screen passes that the team ran so many of during the preseason?

You get the point don’t you? Tomlin won’t sleep well this week and I probably won’t either. Too many issues to deal with for just one week.

Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.


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21 comments on “Tomlin Facing a Plethora of Issues and It’s Just Week One

  1. my letter to the steelers, Wake up it’s time to fix your mistake, You have hire an IDIOTIC for OUR o/c but refuse to believe It’s true. Whether you want to believe it or not. And he has TORN OUR TEAM DOWN DOWN IN SHORT ORDER. We as loyal fans believe your arrogance in just not seeing the obvious is doing nothing but tarnishing the whole TEAM . PLEASE DO WHAT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO AND RELEASE THIS MAN, And begin the process of bringing OUR team back to the position in which it should stand in the NFL.

  2. Amen Bob and Steeldad. Haley is the problem as he was last year and needs to go now! If Tomlin is the coach everyone lauds him to be then he can call the plays the rest of the year or hire someone who can. Under Haley out offense is truley offensive. Tomlin is as much to blame because he won’t overrule him, and Tomlin is responsible for who is on the field. Where was Felix Jones carrying the ball outside? Why were all our runs inside when we were gaining a fantastic 0.8 yrds, a carry? Where was Wheaton or Moye? That is Tomlin’s fault! I am tired of Monday morning cliches from Coach T. Put up or shut up. At least under Arians, you would have seen a barrage of mid to deep passes to get Tennessee out of the 8 man box.
    Can someone go get Cower? We have lost our nasty edge.

    • I also agree with bob and Mike Koval – we have a major mess and he’s calls himself our OC.
      My questions is how in hell did the Titans score 2 touchdowns at Hienz field in the home opener???
      Even when our offense isn’t scoring our defense does their job! The defense has always been the POWER of the Steelers. I’m glad to see Troy back to his old form but that’s not enough.
      I’m a Steeler fan till I die…but I know they’re alot better than what I saw yesterday!
      C’mon guy’s let’s get it, that game’s over…Now go vindicate yourself and go kick some Ben-Gal butt!

  3. Well, it’s time Tomlin steps up, and makes some hard decisions, with all the injuries, we need to play some new players, not sit ’em on sidelines, and that’s guess who, HALEY, he’s no genius that’s for sure, you can sit on the couch and know what’s coming, so the defense sure can. He’s terrible and making us look like fools.
    He needs to be fired sooner than later, and get some new faces to fill in on offensive line, and play some rookies.
    If not, we’re done already.

  4. just settle down folks and watch the greatest football franchise in history go down the drain. nothing will happen to tomlin. his job is secure and outside of western pa., we all know why. my first training camp was in the early fifties and i’ve never seen such ineptitude as we have in tomlin and this rooney. i’m starting to get used to tomlins’ jackass timeouts and overall field calls. this rooney is nothing more than a back stabbing gay shyster.

  5. It all starts with Tomlin, sure did good with Cowhers players, who mostly are gone now, and now you see what kind of head coach you got, and its one who can speak like a silver tongued smoothie but nothing else, hes ineffective and incompetent, all the problems last year he said he would resolve, but alas none ever were, you seeing it yet? and Haley throwing a screen on 3rd and long. wtf? still no oline, too many injuries, the Rooneys got to stop buying these cast off coaches and players, and somewhere Colbert is to blame as well, I see a 6-10 season or worse.

  6. I would have to agree with everyone else who said Haley is a horrible OC, and Tomlin is not much better as a head coach, but I think they are only part of a bigger problem on offense. I don’t think our front office guys did enough to put weapons around Big Ben. He should be in the best years of his career, and he doesn’t really have anyone around him to help out, and it all starts with the offensive line. I heard a lot of people talk about how the line was going to be a strength this year with the new zone blocking scheme and all of these athletic lineman. What people seemed to forget is that our “bookends” are still Gilbert and Adams, who don’t look like they could start for any other team in the league. I am from Michigan and it makes me very sad to see Detroit’s offensive line has become a stronger unit than Pittsburgh. I was disappointed when I heard Starks was gone, but seeing how bad he did with San Diego this preseason I don’t think he was the answer either. With Pouncey’s injury though I think we will miss Doug Legursky more than anyone thought we might. Beachum looked like he can play the position but we then don’t have him for when one of our tackles gets hurt. Being from Michigan I don’t get to see as much preseason action as I would like, but where was Markus Wheaton? He is supposedly the guy that can come in and stretch the field, but he sure can’t do that from the sideline. A lot is going to have to change before next Monday night. I guess the one positive from this weekend is that we are still tied for first (or last depending how you look at it) in the AFC North. If we don’t find a way to improve a lot before next week, we won’t be able to say that anymore.

    • Thanks to everyone for commenting. This is a very frustrating day for many of us as our expectations are always high. The performance yesterday has to go down as the worst of the Tomlin Era and worst since probably the down years of the 80’s.

      I’m on record many times over as saying I wanted Arians gone but if I knew Haley were the replacement I’d have re-thought that opinion. There are so many problems with the offense right now that I don’t even know where to begin.

      I expect a better performance Monday night, but what that means is anyone’s guess.

  7. What experience did Coach Tomlin have before he was hired as the head coach.. The performance from the coaching staff has been on a steady decline. I think it maybe time to call Coach Cowher and see if he is willing to come back. Tomlin won with Cowher’s team not his team. This season it will be very fortunate to be 8-8 with what was displayed on the field. Time to call a duck a duck. Mr. Rooney

    • There is a very narrow window in the NFL between winning and losing. The coaching staff and what is developed in the week before the game is indicative of what you see in the game . Noll and Cowher had the ability to teach ,instruct and adjust a game plan according to what the opponent success and weakness were Tomlin doesn’t . You had one of the best offensive line coaches leave and in the first game you lose a pro bowl center. Look at the body of work and the direction the team is headed.

  8. And what experience did chuck Knoll have and Cowher have. So if we use your logic Cowher won with Knolls team. We all know what the problem with Tomlin is and It has nothing to do with his coaching some people where just waiting for a reason.

  9. Start at the top! the drafts have been horrible. I really don,t think Colbert has a good eye for talent. The # ones and twos ie; Worilds, Gilbert, Heyward, Hoods along with Adams, who by the way failed the drug test at the combine for cannibus, and so on have put the team at a disadvantage. The wide outs are average at best, the running backs below average. they have a lot of draft picks from the 3rd round on that make up the better players on the team. You can’t miss with the ones and twos as much as Colbert does and field a team to compete for a championship. The Polamalus and Rothlesbergers along with the Timmons and Millers were no brainers but revisiting the last five or so drafts and see what the Steelers selections were and the mistakes or reaches they made and I think it speaks for itself. A college senior with the combine, his chance to play in the NFL, days away, tests positive for weed and Colbert selects him IN THE SECOND ROUND! In fact the jury is still out on Decastro and Jones although they seem to be excellent selections but one thing needs to be addressed and that is Decastro needs to have an eye exam to see if he is color blind as he cut the wrong player! The Titans wore white and blue, not black and gold.

  10. I think everybody has pretty good options for the Rooney family? I think several of you agree about Todd Haley and I couldn’t agree more! Just look at the statistics in Ks, no offenssive points in which to speak of. Az didn’t fare much better then Ks. Now I do have to give props to Tomlin cause he came from A winning record in Mn. I don’t agree with him but just think he could be molded? I wished I had all the answers to our problems but I don’t. I do have one observation for Mr. Haley ( YOU ARE A LOSER)…. period! Get the HELL off of my Team!! and out of Pa. I would tell you to move here to Nevada but you would be bad luck here too. born A STEELER! will die A STEELER! along with my whole family.

  11. I agree with you Bob. I don’t understand how we hire the Head coach of one of the least consistent teams in the NFL and expect him to come here and create a great offense. It seems to me that we should be looking at young coaches or successful coaches. Haley’s offense is awful and week after week we hear how the players didn’t perform. They don’t perform because they are working a broken offense. Cut Haley and let our offense float back to the top where it belongs.

    • I think Ron is definitely on to something in regards to the poor drafts. I did an article quite some time ago about Kevin Colbert’s drafting history both with Pittsburgh and when he was the head scout with Detroit. Now granted, he wasn’t the guy pulling the trigger on picks in Detroit, but quite often the head scout has the final word to the coach or GM. His offensive line picks have always been questionable and right now this is the case as well. But as Ron mentions, it isn’t just on the OL. Worilds, Heyward and Hood were also taken highly and have underachieved.

  12. Tomlin has shown that he no longer has the desire to be a competitor. He accepts responsibility for losing and his pathetic coaching staff. How long will the team keep losing under Tomlin now that the defense has become as bad as the offense?

  13. Is this a race as to how fast we run away from a coach (Tomlin) that we applauded for several years? It’s frustrating to see our fans act so negative to a coach that most teams covet. Are there problems in Pittsburgh? Obviously the answer is yes. However, I’m not ready to throw the towel in just yet. We have Heath coming back soon. Hopefully Mr. Bell is as good as advertised. I agree with some of the comments from above. Coach Haley needs to go. Plain and simple. Unfortunately, the Rooney’s are not known for making these types of changes during the season. He’s taken a productive offense and turned it into a mediocre one at best. We have one of the best quarterbacks in the league and he’s now being rendered useless. We need to spread the field so that not only our running game can produce, but our passing game as well. Defenses are crowding the LOS and shutting everything down. Throwing a screen is not going to help either. Finally, Haley’s system was put into place to keep Ben upright. 5 sacks is not keeping him upright. The defense played well, especially being on the field for over 34 minutes! We gave up 1 touchdown. Outside of Suisham, our special teams are appauling. You can’t take field position away from a struggling offense. The best thing that could happen would be for Ben to take over the play calling. If things don’t change, we’ll be in for a long season and an early draft pick.

  14. Art Rooney brought In Haley not Mike Tomlin! Mike wanted to keep Bruce! The head coach assembles his coaching staff not the ownership, Jerry Jones being the perfect example! Little Art will destroy it all!!

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