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View Full Version : Is Mike Tomlin Working More Closely With Bruce Arians?



JAR
01-14-2009, 03:31 PM
A Hypothesis To Consider

Tiny by steeler.lifer on Jan 13, 2009 10:40 PM EST

Of all the things about pro sports teams that we as fans are unaware, the working relationship between coaches is perhaps the least known. This is especially true in football, where staffs are so big, and on which defensive and offensive coordinators are in a way head coaches running their own mini-staffs of positional coaches.

I did not see the season-ending game against Cleveland, a meaningless game but one which featured an aggressive commitment to the running game and a rare sighting of the I formation. What I saw Sunday against San Diego was an offense run with precision and aggressiveness the likes of which has been rare in the Bruce Arians' era. It wasn't just the strong commitment to the running game that everyone has remarked on. What we also saw was a quarterback who made quick reads of the defensive alignment and snapped the ball well ahead of the play clock expiring. San Diego's defensive front seemed unprepared for this; their DL was on their heels and rarely were blitzing LBs and DBs able to time their rush with the play clock winding down.

What we have seen over the past two years has been an Arians' offense that has lacked identity and meandered through games with all the urgency of a bloated whale paddling through an oil slick. Tomlin came into the job with a defensive background and clearly gave Arians a lot of rope in his promotion to OC. For most of the subsequent two seasons we have seen the offense deteriorate, operating best when faced with the urgency dictated by score and time remaining, often using no huddle. In last year's playoff game, we saw an offense that only looked good when circumstances were desperate, but that when it got the lead became turgid, passive and unimaginative.

All of a sudden, this offense has an identity again, but it's an identity that reflects Tomlin's aggressive approach to the game and supports, I think for the first time, his early statements after being hired that an offense must (to paraphrase) "attack all parts of the football field". Two examples from Sunday: 1) Steelers leading 21-10, early fourth quarter. Since allowing SD's opening-drive TD, the Steelers D has given up something like 44 net yards (including penalties) and four first downs in eight Chargers' possessions. It's simple, right? Run the ball, get a first down or two, let the defense put the finishing touches on the victory. No. Second and six, Ben throws a bomb to Washington in the end zone. A marginal PI call, first down at the one and TD, 28-10; 2) 28-17 after a quick SD drive, but still the lead is comfy. So you still run the ball, right? No. Ben goes deep to Washington again, almost a great catch. Instead of running the ball, Ben throws twice more to get the first down, including a third-down laser to Ward that could have been picked if he had delayed a second in his delivery or tried to baby it in there. There is nothing in Arians' history over the last two years to suggest he makes those kinds of calls in those two situations. Those are Tomlin plays, if not specifically than as part of the approach he wants his entire team to take.

This is only supposition on my part, but I think in the last few weeks Tomlin has taken a more active part in the game planning and preparation of the Steelers offense. We have seen since Day 1 this season how Tomlin changed the approach to covering punts and kickoffs. It's much easier for a head coach to have an effect on special teams than on any other area, starting by finding the kind of players required for it.. We've also seen the Tomlin influence in tighter secondary play this season. Maybe it's finally showing up on offense. We see it in the aggressive play calling of running play after running play, attacking the defensive front seven. We now see it in the alertness and urgency off the snap. We see it in the willingness to go deep, to attack all parts of the field and use the best offensive asset the Steelers have: Ben's ability to make plays.

It didn't surprise me a bit that the Steelers won (I picked them to win by 17 points, 23-6). But it was literally a shock to see such an unrelentingly aggressive approach on offense, after nearly two years of seeing an Arians' offense mostly wallow around in a miasma of incoherent game planning and execution.

Baltimore is a different story. But I just don't see this Steelers team being denied, the way they are now attacking the game with Tomlinesque aggressiveness and commitment on both sides of the line of scrimmage.



http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/20 ... reining-in (http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2009/1/13/720004/is-mike-tomlin-reining-in)

MeetJoeGreene
01-14-2009, 03:47 PM
Could very well be.

Let's hope he continies to do this for the next 2 games.

mshifko
01-14-2009, 06:24 PM
very good point...i thought about this too...it seems as if our philosophy has sort of changed...we are using the fullback more and we utilizing our short passing game

flippy
01-15-2009, 07:44 AM
Arians was a part of putting together some good post season game plans in the past.

Perhaps Arians is just clutch and can bring his game plan up a notch?

Ozey74
01-15-2009, 12:17 PM
What ever the reason, I'm just glad this is occuring!!

:tt2

steelz09
01-15-2009, 01:09 PM
If this is the case then Arians job is in jeopardy. Normally, when the HC has to step-in for the OC's job .. there OC isn't doing to well in HC's eyes

fezziwig
01-16-2009, 10:33 AM
I was watching Savran on Sports last night when a caller phoned in and asked Stan if he sees tomlin letting go of Arians.

Stan said he doesn't think so. Stan commented, how do you let go of a guy that has helped the team get at least at this moment as far as the afc title game ?

I don't agree with Savran because, the Steelers made it this far despite Arians.

Back to the original question, I think Tomlin is directing Arians of late. Just the things Tomlin has said these past few weeks such as, he is working with Arians and he wants this offense to put up more points.

Every year you hear the sports world talk about what assistant coach may end up being a new headcoach. has anyone ever thrown Arians name into the mix ?