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It's not Tomlin's fault

Postby Pommah » Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:12 am

I have felt for quite a while that the Steelers actually broke tradition when they brought on Mike Tomlin.

The tradition was, hire a young guy with a strong coaching background and let him run it.

I will argue, below, Tomlin's coaching background was nowhere near as strong as Noll's or Cowher's and they have not let him run it.

Noll played 7 years of NFL football for the greatest coach of all time, Paul Brown. He started coaching under Sid Gillman, a renowned innovator, and then served four years as defensive coordinator, 1 for Gillman and three for Don Shula, also one of the best NFL coaches ever (most NFL wins, multiple NFL championships for more than one team (Colts, Dolphins)). That was quite an apprenticeship.

When they hired Noll, HE FIRED EVERY EXISTING ASSISTANT COACH AND PUT HIS OWN MEN IN CHARGE. There was not a single guy left over from Bill Austin's 1968 staff.

Cowher played 6 years in the NFL, including 3 years for Dick Vermeil, a man who won everywhere he went including a Super Bowl. He began coaching under Marty Schottenheimer, a man who has won everywhere he went, but not the big one, a trait it looked like Cowher was doomed to repeat. Cowher was defensive coordinator for 3 years before the Steelers hired him as HC. Not quite Noll's level of apprenticeship, but still solid.

When they hired Cowher, HE FIRED EVERY EXISTING ASSISTANT COACH AND PUT HIS OWN MEN IN CHARGE with the exception of Dick Hoak who remained as running backs coach. Some capable men got the boot, such as John Fox and Joe Greene.

Tomlin never played a down in the NFL. He started coaching in the college ranks, and not at any major program. Tony Dungy brought him to the NFL, but he only served one year under Dungy, who got fired for Jon Gruden, who took Tony's team to a Super Bowl win and into the ground after that. Tomlin got picked up by the Vikings to be Brad Childress's DC, a man who has only served as a HC for a mere five years. So that's one year as a #2 for a losing team for an inauspicious coach.

When they hired Tomlin, NEARLY EVERY SINGLE ASSISTANT COACH KEPT HIS JOB. Whisenhunt got a HC job at Arizona, who he promptly took to the Super Bowl. Grimm, thoroughly embarrassed by the Stillers' botched handling of the HC transition (remember that? A sign of things to come), went to work for Whisenhunt. Everybody else kept their job, save Mark Whipple, the only man fired by Tomlin, and the guy who developed Roethlisberger since he was a rookie (maybe seeding Roethlisberger's resentment of the way coaches he liked get treated).

So the only thing Tomlin had in common with Noll and Cowher was that he was hired young; he had nowhere near the level of NFL experience or pedigree. He'd only had one year of experience of actually running something.

Then, much more importantly, he chose not to (or was not allowed to, more likely) put his own men in charge.

Since his 2nd year, the team ownership has been different, diluted away from Dan Rooney. Look at all the botched coaching issues, from the time Tomlin was named to the public disrespecting of Bruce Arians (okay the man was a buffoon at times but you don't air your dissatisfaction in public) to the keeping of a 73 year old DC who got beat by Tim Tebow. Those are not the signs of a HC who has complete confidence of the owners, and can keep them in their place (yes, the owners, whose tendency is to needlessly meddle).

I think Tomlin is a good coach, or could be again. The man has been to two superbowls and won one. If he went on the market those billionaire owners would be tripping over their dicks to hire him. And the man is smart enough to put his own guys in place this time.

But the Steelers elevated him prematurely. He won because there was a system in place, a strong culture, and most importantly, good players with leadership skills. Tomlin had no choice but to become a sof-tee players' coach. How could he be a bad-ass around people he didn't control? And the newer players are nowhere near the caliber of the ones he inherited, and it's hard to say whose fault that is.

The ownership group planted this seed, and will reap what they sowed. Maybe Tomlin can morph and become "the man" from within, but I doubt it, that's rare. They need new players. They need a new coaching staff, including a new HC who is a bad-ass and not players' coach. Let Tomlin go, my bet is he will be successful elsewhere. Then bring in a new guy, maybe young but still with a solid apprenticeship, and this time, let him be his own boss.

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Re: It's not Tomlin's fault

Postby isfry » Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:21 pm

All valid points, Pommah. I think the two main knocks you make on Tomlin (lack of resume and not starting with his own staff) are probably closely intertwined. That is to say, he couldn't hire his "own guys" cuz he had no "guys." He had not been in the game long enough to develop an idea of who agreed with him and gelled with his system (does he have one?)

I also agree that he really had no choice but to be a player's coach. He had no resume as a coach, and NO experience as a player. It's sort of like the opposite of the idea I posted last year that Hines should be our WR coach. He could come in and whip some asses into shape because he has credibility in the form of numerous records, two rings and a SB MVP to his credit, plus his overall Hard Hat rep as a player. Tomlin had none of that cred, and I agree that he would have an uphill battle to change it from within now.

Unfortunately, as I just posted on the Ben trade rumors thread, Ian Rappaport just reported at halftime in the Colts' game that Steelers' inside sources tell him "Tomlin's job is safe." Sweeeeeeeet...

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Re: It's not Tomlin's fault

Postby Pommah » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:39 am

Tomlin's job is safe

We're not trading Ben

We're going to the playoffs!!!


Tomlin was elevated before his time, plain and simple. I've seen it over and over again in the business world. Almost always leads to failure when the surrounding support staff fades away.

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Re: It's not Tomlin's fault

Postby isfry » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:32 pm

You think Ben will say, as he raises the Lombardi this year, "Who's laughing now, Coach?" hahaha

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Re: It's not Tomlin's fault

Postby Crucible-steel-kid » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:37 pm

Pommah wrote:I have felt for quite a while that the Steelers actually broke tradition when they brought on Mike Tomlin.

The tradition was, hire a young guy with a strong coaching background and let him run it.

I will argue, below, Tomlin's coaching background was nowhere near as strong as Noll's or Cowher's and they have not let him run it.

Noll played 7 years of NFL football for the greatest coach of all time, Paul Brown. He started coaching under Sid Gillman, a renowned innovator, and then served four years as defensive coordinator, 1 for Gillman and three for Don Shula, also one of the best NFL coaches ever (most NFL wins, multiple NFL championships for more than one team (Colts, Dolphins)). That was quite an apprenticeship.

When they hired Noll, HE FIRED EVERY EXISTING ASSISTANT COACH AND PUT HIS OWN MEN IN CHARGE. There was not a single guy left over from Bill Austin's 1968 staff.

Cowher played 6 years in the NFL, including 3 years for Dick Vermeil, a man who won everywhere he went including a Super Bowl. He began coaching under Marty Schottenheimer, a man who has won everywhere he went, but not the big one, a trait it looked like Cowher was doomed to repeat. Cowher was defensive coordinator for 3 years before the Steelers hired him as HC. Not quite Noll's level of apprenticeship, but still solid.

When they hired Cowher, HE FIRED EVERY EXISTING ASSISTANT COACH AND PUT HIS OWN MEN IN CHARGE with the exception of Dick Hoak who remained as running backs coach. Some capable men got the boot, such as John Fox and Joe Greene.

Tomlin never played a down in the NFL. He started coaching in the college ranks, and not at any major program. Tony Dungy brought him to the NFL, but he only served one year under Dungy, who got fired for Jon Gruden, who took Tony's team to a Super Bowl win and into the ground after that. Tomlin got picked up by the Vikings to be Brad Childress's DC, a man who has only served as a HC for a mere five years. So that's one year as a #2 for a losing team for an inauspicious coach.

When they hired Tomlin, NEARLY EVERY SINGLE ASSISTANT COACH KEPT HIS JOB. Whisenhunt got a HC job at Arizona, who he promptly took to the Super Bowl. Grimm, thoroughly embarrassed by the Stillers' botched handling of the HC transition (remember that? A sign of things to come), went to work for Whisenhunt. Everybody else kept their job, save Mark Whipple, the only man fired by Tomlin, and the guy who developed Roethlisberger since he was a rookie (maybe seeding Roethlisberger's resentment of the way coaches he liked get treated).

So the only thing Tomlin had in common with Noll and Cowher was that he was hired young; he had nowhere near the level of NFL experience or pedigree. He'd only had one year of experience of actually running something.

Then, much more importantly, he chose not to (or was not allowed to, more likely) put his own men in charge.

Since his 2nd year, the team ownership has been different, diluted away from Dan Rooney. Look at all the botched coaching issues, from the time Tomlin was named to the public disrespecting of Bruce Arians (okay the man was a buffoon at times but you don't air your dissatisfaction in public) to the keeping of a 73 year old DC who got beat by Tim Tebow. Those are not the signs of a HC who has complete confidence of the owners, and can keep them in their place (yes, the owners, whose tendency is to needlessly meddle).

I think Tomlin is a good coach, or could be again. The man has been to two superbowls and won one. If he went on the market those billionaire owners would be tripping over their dicks to hire him. And the man is smart enough to put his own guys in place this time.

But the Steelers elevated him prematurely. He won because there was a system in place, a strong culture, and most importantly, good players with leadership skills. Tomlin had no choice but to become a sof-tee players' coach. How could he be a bad-ass around people he didn't control? And the newer players are nowhere near the caliber of the ones he inherited, and it's hard to say whose fault that is.

The ownership group planted this seed, and will reap what they sowed. Maybe Tomlin can morph and become "the man" from within, but I doubt it, that's rare. They need new players. They need a new coaching staff, including a new HC who is a bad-ass and not players' coach. Let Tomlin go, my bet is he will be successful elsewhere. Then bring in a new guy, maybe young but still with a solid apprenticeship, and this time, let him be his own boss.


You make many good points in your post, and they are in line with the ones I made in my earlier rant.
LINK:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5506

Forget blame - fault - pointing fingers. Tomlin has got to go as well as the ownership being turned over to owners that actually care about the sport and what is going on in reality. Rooneys' have made their money and tend to forget that the main revenue stream to their bank accounts is this team - that forgetfulness is reflected in the absolute shit shod product that has been fielded the last 2 or 3 seasons beginning with the loss to Green Bay in the Superbowl. We don't have to be in the playoffs every year, but to have the type of play that resembles a high school team is totally pathetic to watch.

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Re: It's not Tomlin's fault

Postby LenSherwood » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:20 pm

Great post Pommah--well argued points. I have mixed feelings about Tomlin, but can't deny he did the job in his first years--not easy to go to and win a Super Bowl, but I thought that his time was going to run out as I do NOT think he can evaluate NFL level talent. I believe Cowher could. I think Cowher made a lot of personnel decisions. It is NOT just Colbert who probably has lost it, but a head coach has to have a great deal of input into player acquisitions via the draft or free agency... Who the fuk is making the decisions about the systems they want to run? So I think that the talent drop off can be laid at Tomlin's door. I said this years ago and it is coming true--what happens when Cowher's players are gone? We see the results now.

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