Mike Tomlin is off to a great start for a 2nd year coach, there is no doubt about it, but should we be anointing him the next Chuck Noll? Will he be able to sustain these types of results? I think you have to look at what he's done with the players he's inherited, the players he's drafted and the coaching staff he selected.
Let's start with his first draft (2007; this was Colbert's draft, of course) where he currently has 5 players making contributions out of 8 drafted. Timmons, if ever permitted to start will be a dominant force. He meets the ball carrier with force! Watch him tackle....he drives thru the carrier and if he's not making the tackle, he's right there. He adds speed to a position the team has not had in recent memory? You might need to go back to "1" year of Kendall Bell or the Chad Scott years!! Please coach....keep him in!!
Woodley is the starting OLB and adds almost as much pressure as does Mr. Harrison on the opposite side. I say Mr. Harrison with all due respect to the best OLB in the game right now!! Woodley will go down as the all time steelers sack king barring any injuries and if resigned to contract #2! Yes, you heard it right here! He's had a tremendous start to his career and longevity in the black and gold uniform will annoint him the king when he's done!
Spaeth has shown signs of being a good TE, but lack of playing time shows his rust when Miller gets all the reps.
Sepulveda is going to be a great punter and a welcome addition when he returns next year. His ability to pin the opponents inside the 20 is superior!
Big play Gay is getting better with time! He's a day 2 pick too!! WOW!
Baker (practice Squad), McBean (gone), and Stephenson (gone)
2008 Draft is still too soon to judge because most of them are relegated to the bench, practice squad, etc... I will say that since our punt return and kickoff return game is so god damned awful, why isn't Dennis Dixon being used? Put this guys athletic abilities to work!! He was a QB, so you know he has ball control skills!
Let me direct my attention to coaching now. We criticize LeBeau extensively on this site, but at the end of the day he's produced some very good defenses. For all his faults, I will say that I do not know what alternative is better, so I agree that his retention was a good move. The players love him and chemistry is enormous in football.
OK....Arians...Dear god, please answer my prayers for his firing in the off season!! I think Ben having the year he did last year unfortunately saved his ass for another year. I believe Arians is the difference between this being a very good team and a great team. There are weapons that are simply not utilized properly. His inability to set up future plays by running different ones from the same formations, his lack of flow. The offensive play calling is choppy. No screens, insistence to run off left guard on shortage yardage, lack of play action, refusal to include the TE's in the passing game, abandonment of the run game.....do I need to move on?!
At the end of the day, Tomlin will be judged by Wins and Losses, but we in Steeler Nation will follow this team whomever is at the helm. Can Tomlin sustain his success?? His draft picks thus far seem to be pretty good. He took the best available players in last years draft, but ignored the #1 need until the 4th round which bothers me. With Faneca leaving and Hartings retired 2 yrs ago, we are far worse off than previously positioned on the O-line. He has the ability to impact this and I applaud him for admitting his mistake at center and cutting Gayan loose. No where on this line is there strength and the offense is suffering because of the inconsistencies here.
As an executive myself, Tomlin must be held accountable for the decisions of his direct reports. If I have a poor performer, it's my job to improve him or move him! Tomlin's background is Defense and we have a strong Defensive Coordinator, so I see a overage of talent on Defense. We are weak on offense and the Coach himself is a novice on Offense. He MUST cut him loose and find the best Offensive Coordinator available. No more of this internal promotion. Admit you do not have the requisite talent pool inhouse and bring one in. I see no resemblance of Tomlin reeling in Arians and so I give him low marks as being a good executive. He's able to get the most out of his veterans and the team, but if he doesn't fire Arians, this off season, I will target Tomlin for the offensive mistakes next year.
The last thing is some of the undisciplined flags that have been thrown against this team this year which would never have happened under Cowher. Personal fouls, holdings, etc...far too many and it will cost us a game sooner or later. This is the product of a young coach who is out there chest bumping his players?!?! Compose yourself man! You're the boss....grow up and know your role. You can't be a man of the people forever. You're the boss!
Now all that said, I think there is a tremendous foundation for him to improve upon and this off season will determine if he can take this team to the next level and sustain this success. I give him a "B" thus far and will give him all the support I can muster! If Arians stays, watch out because this will get ugly fast!
Now let's go kick some Titan a$$!!
-Still Curtain !!