As he usually does, Pittsburgh Steelers’ Head Coach Mike Tomlin took to the microphone on Tuesday to update the media on the latest news about the Steelers. Mired in a four-game losing streak and with Ben Roethlisberger and William Gay both suggesting there are issues, Tomlin didn’t do much in my view to put a halt to them.
There were two separate pieces to the press conference I found concerning. The first was his mention of “popcorn.” He used the reference to describe the different discipline and accountability issues that “pop up” each week. In his mind, Tomlin had to believe he was calming the waters that were stirred up by Roethlisberger prior to and after the game. It would appear Tomlin is OK with these “popcorn” references rather than persistent, full blown problems.
OK, fine… But there is still a problem!!!
Whether you have the same guys or different guys having discipline issues it doesn’t matter. Whether you have a few moments here and there or a ton of moments packed into a tight little space, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that there is most certainly a problem with players being held to the very standard that Tomlin preaches.
As a coach at any level, your job is to set the tone and create the culture you want your team to have. If there are “popcorn” disciplinary problems then there are problems, period. That comes back to Tomlin.
The other piece that is making things worse in my mind is that Tomlin said he addressed the final play of the game with Antonio Brown. If you recall, Brown took a short pass from Roethlisberger while the entire Dallas defense was set up deep to prevent a potential hail mary. Brown made a few moves and then came back to his left where he eventually just ran out of bounds.
If you want a definition for the lack of urgency mentioned this week by Roethlisberger and others then that play is it. How do you just run out of bounds? You’re near the 25 yard line, turn and fire that sucker to someone! Anyone! It’s your last chance at winning for god’s sake! So what if it hits the ground and Dallas recovers. At least you would have tried right?!?
It didn’t make any sense to me when I saw it from in the stadium and it makes less sense to me now. If you have 53 guys who aren’t willing to do everything it takes to win then this is what you get. You get a 4-5 record and people pointing fingers.
Mike Tomlin needs to give himself one of those “unleash hell” speeches because his team isn’t responding to whatever he’s saying now. If he can’t get this thing turned around pronto then he’ll be eating all the popcorn he can while he watches other teams in the playoffs.
Photo courtesy ABC News