17 years, zero shedding seasons: Mike Tomlin’s teaching genius takes flight | Pittsburgh Steelers

MIke Tomlin, in his seventeenth season as coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, discovered a seat behind a desk and audio system final week and stated he was “actually excited” that his workforce had overwhelmed the Tennessee Titans. Then, as traditional, Tomlin all of a sudden started sweating over the main points.

“Clearly it might have been so much cleaner, to start with, from a penalty perspective,” Tomlin stated. “A part of being a tricky workforce to beat, primary, will not be kicking your ass, and we have sort of been doing that. We have got to personal that. And so we’ll do it. We’ll evaluate it. We’ll be taught from it, we’ll take a look at it. We’ll convey extra officers into our apply atmosphere in Making an attempt to be cleaner, as a result of that is been disastrous, actually, in lots of circumstances for our efforts.

A lot rejoicing. The Steelers had simply rallied to beat the Giants for his or her third win in 4 video games. Pittsburgh leads 5-3, only a sport and a half behind Baltimore, the AFC North chief, and has the identical document as rivals Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Not-so-great quarterback Kenny Pickett was overcoming a rib harm. Tomlin determined to maneuver his offensive coordinator, Matt Canada, to the sidelines from a sales space on the press field stage.

Moreover, regardless of 10 penalties for 80 yards towards Tennessee, Pittsburgh stays one of many lesser-known groups within the NFL.

However that is Tomlin, the straight-talking, no-BS taskmaster who for years has been top-of-the-line coaches within the NFL. He has it He never had a losing record as Steelers coach. Steelers, mid-range roster, It was expected to hang around 0.500, however they’re in a brutal division, so a .500 document might imply final place. Nevertheless, Pittsburgh is 5-3 – 2-0 towards groups of their division – and He will be in the playoffs If the season ended at this time.

“They’re actually not good at something, apart from successful the sport,” Dan Graziano, an NFL insider, stated. he said on ESPN. “It is ridiculous.”

Tomlin can be excited if somebody introduced this up, however this may very well be his finest season but. He discovered methods to win regardless of having Pickett within the center. Sophomore participant from Pitt He has the fourth-lowest passer rating Of 27 NFL quarterbacks with 200 cross makes an attempt. Solely the Jets’ Zach Wilson, the Patriots’ Mac Jones and Carolina’s Bryce Younger are poorer.

Regardless of a brief week of preparation, operating backs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, who mixed for simply 488 dashing yards within the Steelers’ first seven video games, mixed for 157 yards dashing towards the Giants. Invoice Cowher, the beloved former Steelers coach, stated Sunday that Pittsburgh benefited from Canada calling performs from the sidelines.

“It appeared like he was extra in tune and speaking along with his workforce.” Queer said.

After the sport, Tomlin was unconcerned about Canada’s repositioning, saying, “We’re taking steps to get higher.”

There are caveats: Pittsburgh is scheduled to play later this month at Cleveland and Cincinnati, and the Bengals and Ravens have loomed massive during the last three weeks, however Tomlin has constructed a aggressive workforce. as soon as once more. What a visit this has been.

Tomlin was 35 years outdated, with one yr of expertise as an NFL defensive coordinator, when the Steelers employed him in 2007. Tomlin’s predecessors, Chuck Noll and Cowher, each Corridor of Famers, mixed to teach the Steelers for 38 seasons, with Tremendous 5. Pot titles between them.

Tomlin led the Steelers to the Vince Lombardi Trophy in simply his second season, falling to the Inexperienced Bay Packers within the Tremendous Bowl two years later. However Tomlin additionally secured the companies of six-time Professional Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who typically refused to lose. The glory days have been considered over when Huge Ben introduced its resignation in January 2022 after 18 seasons.

The Steelers misplaced six of their first eight video games the next season, most lately a 35-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles through which the Steelers barely made a fuss. Nevertheless, Pittsburgh had a bye week. Tomlin and his employees started working. The Steelers have gained seven of 9, together with their final 4 video games. They only missed the playoffs, however the turnaround has been superb.

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Pittsburgh is 2-1 for the reason that bye week this yr — and the 20-10 loss stunk to Jacksonville as Pickett left the sport with a rib harm late within the first half. However Beckett returned every week later. He was a first-round choose in 2022, however he is no Roethlisberger. As a result of the Steelers’ operating sport was so sturdy, Pickett solely threw for 160 yards towards Tennessee.

“All people’s harping on the negatives,” Pickett stated after the sport towards the Titans. “You possibly can’t fall for that.”

Tomlin is not a pessimist, however he talks so much about methods his workforce can enhance. Later in his post-match press convention, he introduced up the phrase “catastrophic” once more to explain the penalties. When somebody identified that Pittsburgh had scored a landing on its opening drive — its first of 2023 — Tomlin stated: “I am not prepared to color with a broad brush.”

There is a cause no present NFL coach, apart from New England’s Invoice Belichick, has been answerable for the identical workforce longer than Tomlin. Tomlin continues to adapt, continues to resolve issues. It is hardly a drudge: it may be actually humorous and quotable. However he continues to do his job effectively.

Roethlisberger let the Steelers have it on his podcast after the loss to Jacksonville by saying they should not have known as the quarterback offside on the play the place Pickett was injured. That decision was on Canada, but in addition on Tomlin.

“You are telling me you possibly can’t run again on that foot,” Roethlisberger stated. “This push play hits 1,000 now. Put Huge Nag (Harris) behind you and simply push. This play can be talked about for a minimum of every week. Your quarterback is damage, and that is not a detrimental, it is greater than the detrimental.”

Pickett carried the ball as soon as towards Tennessee. He took the ultimate shot of the sport and took a knee to seal the win for Pittsburgh. On third-and-1 late within the sport, Pickett handed off to Warren, who gained 13 yards across the left finish. The Steelers scored the successful landing.

Tomlin has made amends. That wasn’t even optimistic. It was past optimistic.

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